With the regular season drawing to an end in the Academy Leagues, the playoffs are set to get underway this week as the top 8 teams from each league go head-to-head in the quarter finals on March 13. Lets take a look at the quarter final match-ups from the EABL, WEABL and ABL to see who’s got what it takes to make it all the way!
Game 1: Charnwood College v Canterbury High School
Standing tall at the top of the EABL Northern Conference is the Charnwood College Riders, as they went undefeated throughout their regular season campaign with a 14-0 record. The first round of the playoffs will see them face the fourth place team from the Southern Conference, Canterbury High School, who finished their regular season with a 12-6 record and will travel north on Wednesday in this exciting match-up.
Charnwood will be relying on regular EABL standouts Niall Harris and Hosana Kitenge to lead their side to victory. Canterbury will hope to contain Harris’s hot hand, as he currently stands as the fourth leading scorer in the EABL (18.7ppg) with the second best three point percentage (50%). His teammate Hosana Kitenge will also be a lot to handle, the big man is averaging even bigger numbers with a double-double of 16.8 points per game and just over 11 rebounds. Despite the threat, Canterbury have wining momentum coming into this game with a recent win over BHASVIC last week, and will look to rely on regular standout Milo Gordan's (17.1ppg and 8.9rpg), to give them the spark against the Riders.
Game 2: Barking Abbey School vs James Watt College
Barking Abbey finish their regular season at the top of the EABL Southern Conference with an impressive 17-1 record. The London-based academy are coming off a strong 99-56 win over SEEVIC College last week, and will be entering their math-up against James Watt College with a lot of confidence. James Watt will make the journey south coming off a 81-76 loss to Derby College Trailblazers last week that saw them fall to fourth place in Northern Conference standings.
James Watt will no doubt be relying on two-time Player of the Week, Wakeem Richardson to lead them past coach James Vear’s Barking Abbey side. The 17-year-old is a force to be reckoned with as he currently stands as the third leading scorer in the league with just over 19 points per game, whilst holding the title as the second leading rebounder with nearly 13 boards per contest. On the defensive end, the Birmingham side will look to contain the play of regular EABL stand-out Ade Adebayo, an exciting 6’3 guard who averages 14.4 points per game and features amongst the top ten in the league in assists.
Game 3: Myerscough College vs John Madejski Academy
Myerscough will host John Madejski Academy in their quarter final match-up on Wednesday. The Preston-based academy advance into the playoffs with an impressive 12-2 record which placed them in the second position in the EABL standings. Coach Neal Hopkins’ side are coming off a recent 79-52 win over Manchester Magic Academy and will be confident facing JMA on their home floor. The number three team in the Southern Conference, JMA head into the match-up with a 13-5 record and coming off recent win against CoLA.
The Reading-based side no doubt be looking for regular stand-out Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo to give them the spark against Myerscough. The talented guard is averaging just over 12 points and is one of the top ten rebounders in the league with just over 10 boards per game. On the defensive end, Head Coach Alan Keane will be hoping to contain Myerscough’s big three in Mate Okros, Callan Low and Amari Williams. Okros (16.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg) and Low (15.8ppg) will prove difficult to contain from behind the 3-point line, as they are the first and third best three point shooters in the league with Okros averaging 58.8% and Low averaging 47.7% from beyond the arc.
Game 4: Itchen College vs Derby College Trailblazers
With the second place in the EABL Southern Conference under their belt, Itchen College (14-3) will be confident heading into their quarter final match-up at home to the Derby College Trailblazers on Wednesday. Coach Matt Guymon’s side are coming off a recent 81-71 victory over John Madejski Academy and have shown some impressive victories as of late, including an incredible overtime thriller against Copleston High School in Week 19. The Derby Trailblazers finished their regular season in the Northern Conference with a 9-5 record and the third place spot in the standings. Like Itchen, they are also coming off a recent win and will make the long journey south with some wining momentum on their side.
Itchen will be relying on their star player and EABL Player of the Week winner, Jeremy Sochan to give them the edge in this one. The talented wing player is the one of the top scorers and rebounders in the EABL (24.1ppg, 11.7rpg) and is capable of dominating the game from anywhere on the floor. Whilst hoping to contain Sochan, Derby will be relying on their star players Blake Bowman (16.1ppg) and Luke Ptak (15.1ppg) to help lead their side to a victory in this exciting quarter final match-up.
Game 1: City of London Academy v Oaklands College
Due to the difference in the number of teams in each WEABL conference, fans will see an all-southern quarter final between the number one City of London Academy and number five Oaklands College. CoLA finished their impressive regular season at the top of the Southern Conference with a strong 8-2 record, and will host Oaklands after coming off a recent narrow victory last week over Copleston High School. Oaklands College on the other hand, won just one game in the WEABL regular season (1-9) and are coming off a loss to Itchen College in Week 18.
The away side face a tough match-up against their Southern Conference rivals, as they have fallen to the hosts both times during the regular season with their most recent match-up resulting in a comfortable 48-29 victory for Coach Brian Nguru’s side. They will hope to contain WEABL Player of the Week winner and CoLA star player, Megan Haines who is having an impressive season so far averaging 15.6 points per game.
Game 2: Charnwood College v Barking Abbey School
Like their male counterparts, the Charnwood College Riders head into their quarter final match-up with an undefeated record at top of the Northern Conference (9-0). Coach Krumesh Patel will hope to continue their impressive season as they host the visiting fourth place team from the Southern Conference, Barking Abbey who finish their regular season campaign with a 5-4 record.
The visiting Barking side face a tough contest on Wednesday and will hope to contain WEABL standout Holly Winterburn, who averaged a huge double-double in the regular season with 26 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. Holy Wright and Rebecca Morrison have also had an impressive season thus far, and will be looking to support their teammate as their playoff journey begins. Barking Abbey coach Diana Naydenova Gorynova will turn to her star player and regular standout, Loren Christie who’s having an strong season scoring just over 16 points per game and grabbing 8 rebounds.
Game 3: Copleston High School v Myerscough College
Copleston High School will host Myerscough College on in Game 3 of the WEABL Quarter Finals. Coach Nick Drane’s side have had a strong regular season as they finished with a 7-2 record, placing them in second position in the standings after suffering a narrow loss to CoLA last week that sealed their fate and placed CoLA in the number one spot. However, the Suffolk-based side will look to get back on track in the first round of the playoffs against Myerscough, who enter the game with a 4-5 record in the third spot of the Northern Conference. Myerscough will be entering the game coming off a win after defeating Nottingham Academy Wildcats 60-38. However, they will need to shake the rust off as they last played on February 6.
The Preston-based academy will be turning to their star player and WEABL Player of Week winner, Kyra Smith to light the fire against Copleston. Smith is a tough match-up to handle and is averaging and impressive double-double of 11.1 points and 12 rebounds per game, whilst teammates Paula Puzule and Celina Eisenhardt can also contribute with big numbers. Copleston will no doubt count on four-time WEABL Player of the Week winner and regular stand-out Esther Little to lead the way for the home side. The 6’1 guard is averaging just under 20 points per game to go along with nearly 13 rebounds and is capable of dropping 30 at will. If that’s not enough, her teammates Cameron Taylor-Willis and Charlotte Readhead are also capable of getting some serious buckets.
Game 4: Manchester Mystics Academy v John Madejski Academy
The Manchester Mystics Academy will host John Madejski Academy in game 4 of the WEABL Quarter Finals. The Mystics are coming off a tough loss to league leaders Charnwood College Riders and concluded their regular season with a 4-5 record which saw them finish in second place in the Northern Conference. JMA will be looking to shake off the rust as they come into Wednesday’s game having last played exactly one-month prior with a win against Oaklands college.
Head Coach Blai Benlloch’s side finished with a strong 7-3 regular season record which saw them finish in third position in the Southern Conference standings. His side will no doubt turn to Anabel Latorre-Ciria to help lead her side to victory. The WEABL Player of the Week stand out is avenging a double-double of 13.1 points and 11.6 rebounds for the season and will look to continue her success as the playoffs get underway. The Mystics will look for regular stand-outs Chloe Andrew, Jade Mbam and Lina Asobirionwu to carry their side in the hope of a semi-final spot.
Game 1: Archbishop Beck College v Stoke On Trent College
Game 1 of the ABL Quarter Finals sees the Northern Conference champions, Archbishop Beck face the number two team from the Central Conference, Stoke On Trent College. Archbishop Beck cruised through the regular season as they finished undefeated with a record of 10-0. The Liverpool-based side won’t be looking to suffer their first defeat in the first round of the playoffs either. However a strong Stoke-on-Trent side will beg to differ as they enter the match up with an impressive 11-3 record. Despite this success, STOT will be looking to bounce back after suffering a close loss to County Upper School in their most recent game.
Archbishop Beck have several players capable of putting up big numbers on any given night, with Arron Howard, Dante Sofia and Luke Dalton all averaging impressive double figures. However, their star player and ABL Player of Week standout, Phil Deveney will look to be the driving force behind his sides playoff run and will no doubt be STOT’s main defensive assignment as Deveney is currently averaging 26.3 points per game to go along with 9 rebounds. STOT also have some fire power behind a couple of ABL standouts in Bayley Gaunt and ABL Player of the Week winner Michael Jara, who are both averaging impressive numbers. Jara averaged just over 28 points per game for the regular season as well as dishing out nearly 6 assists, whilst his teammate Gaunt knock down an impressive 23.5 points per game.
Game 2: Aston Manor Academy v Queen Ethelburga's College
Central Conference winners Aston Manor Academy face Queen Ethelburga's College from the Northern Conference in Game 2 of the Academy League quarter finals on Wednesday. Aston Manor enter the game undefeated with a 14-0 record and recently coming off a win at home against Gateway College. They will host Queen Ethelburga's, who make the journey south with an 8-2 record after finishing their regular season in second place. Coach Josh Metcalf’s side are coming off a recent loss to Northern Conference winners Archbishop Beck and will look to bounce back in the first round.
Head Coach Curtis Xavier and Aston Manor will no doubt look to Zack Powell and Conroy Hayden to lead the way for their side on Wednesday. The duo are averaging some impressive numbers so far in the ABL, with Powell dropping just under 24 points per game and Hayden averaging a big double-double with 19.8 points and 16.6 rebounds per game. Queen Ethelburga's will most likely turn to regular standouts Elijah Walsh (27.3ppg) and Joe Barrett (18.5ppg) to give them the edge in this exciting first round match-up.
Game 3: St.Charles College v The College of Haringey, Enfield & North East London
Southern Conference winners St.Charles College will host the number two team from the Eastern Conference, COHENEL on Wednesday in their ABL Quarter Final match-up. St.Charles enter the game with an impressive 15-3 regular season record despite coming off a tough loss to King Henry School in their most recent game. COHENEL on the other hand, are coming off a recent win against the John Roan School and will look to use the wining momentum as their playoff journey begins.
For St.Charles, Abiodon Adedo will look to continue his strong scoring efforts as he knocked down 19.2 points per game during the regular season whilst snatching 6.9 rebounds. His teammate Taariq Powell will also look to help carry the scoring load as his 18.6 points per game will be much needed. For COHENEL, Rupurt Burnett will look to continue his impressive regular season performance of 16.6 points per contest, whilst teammates A Konadu and Emmanuel Omosanya should be capable of putting up double figures on the night.
Game 4: Haringey Sixth Form College v Raines Foundation School
Eastern Conference winners Haringey Sixth Form College host Raines Foundation School who make the short trip to London in their ABL Quarter Final encounter. Haringey are coming off an incredible regular season as they went undefeated in the Eastern Conference with a 16-0 record. Coach Franck Batimba’s side will host the 15-3 Raines Foundation School, who finish their regular season campaign in the second place in the Southern Conference and will no doubt be confident after dismantling Sir Robert Woodard Academy 124-42 last week.
Raines’ defensive assignments will most likely focus on Haringey’s Alexander Distras (25.9ppg) and Franklin Agu (28.5ppg, 16.4rpg) who will no doubt look to continue their impressive ABL performances as they embark on their playoff journey. The powerful duo will be supported by teammates Ndwedo Newbury and Owen Young who are also both averaging solid double figures. Coach Perry Lawson will turn to star player and ABL Player of the Week standout Jason Prince to help give his side the spark on Wednesday. The talented guard is averaging 25.2 points per game to go along with 6.5 rebounds and nearly 4 assists. Teammates Shakeem Giwa (19.6ppg) and Simon Olanipekun (16.3ppg) will also be called upon to help give their side some momentum in their quarter final match-up on Wednesday.
For more information on this years Academy League playoff structure follow the link below: