Sure Shot National Cup finals 2024: Highlights, recaps, reaction & gallery

The Sure Shot National Cup Finals provided some elite action to light up Manchester's National Basketball Performance Centre.

Richmond Knights took the first title of the day, beating Milton Keynes Breakers 86-66 in the U16 Girls' Final.

That was followed by Manchester Magic retaining the U16 Boys' Cup as they saw off Bristol Academy Flyers 98-68, before CoLA Southwark Pride sealed the U18W Final 85-46 against Manchester Mystics. 

The day ended with an 80-68 victory for Islington Panthers over Derby Trailblazers, adding the U18M Cup to the U16B title they won in 2021/22.

A recap of all four games is below, including reactions and a gallery of images at the bottom of the page.

Sure Shot U16 Girls' National Cup Final

Richmond Knights 86-66 Milton Keynes Breakers

Richmond Knights claimed their first U16 Girls National Cup Final success with a comfortable 86-66 win over Milton Keynes Breakers.

The Knights avenged their 2019/20 finals defeat with a commanding performance, moving in front during the first quarter and never looking back.

Neve Rugette continued her impressive rise through the Jnr. NBL ranks with an MVP performance, closing on 24 points, 11 rebounds and six assists as she repeatedly made MK pay in the open court.

The young guard was the the catalyst for helping her side win the fast-break point battle 31-18 and her rounded skillset was a driving force for her team throughout.

Forward Chloe Vella had a sizable 19-point, 17-rebound double-double as she went to work down low,  and guard Precious Godwin came on strong in the second half to snuff out any potential MK comeback, scoring 18 of her 25 points after the main change.

Athena Thompson was a standout for the Breakers but her 32-point, 11-rebound, four assists effort on 14/33 shooting wouldn't be enough to keep her side in the game.

The age group GB standout struggled through some early foul trouble before finally fouling out in the fourth, she was the only MK player to make it to double digits on the scoreboard.

"It's our first ever National Cup victory, so it's a really great achievement for the club and the girls," said Richmond Knights head coach Chanel Mubeen.

"Our plan [for the game] was to go hard. The tempo for the game had to be [of] great intensity. We got the [points] gap and then in the third quarter the energy wasn't as much as I would have wanted but I called a time out, the girls responded and we got the victory from there.

"[Neve Rugette and Precious Godwin] are my co-captains. It's been great to see them develop as their coach since they were 9/10 year's old and to see them grow into the young women that they are, it's been amazing."


Sure Shot U16 Boys' National Cup Final

Manchester Magic 98-68 Bristol Academy Flyers

Manchester Magic retained the U16 Sure Shot National Cup with a 98-68 victory over Bristol Academy Flyers.

Magic secured their 12th success, easily the most in the competition's history, thanks to a 20-4 run across the first and second quarters that broke the game open.

Manchester would keep the Flyers at arm's length from there on, with their advantage largely staying in double digits before ballooning to 30 in the closing stages.

MVP honours went to Demi Babalola for a stunning 20-point, 24-rebound double-double that contained 10 offensive boards, plus five steals and two blocks. That effort allowed Manchester to pile up 23 second-chance points as the North West programme added more silverware to their already bursting trophy cabinet.

Magic's Nathan Brown dropped a team-high 21 points, with Tom Richardson (20pts) and Jack Walton (11pts) also making it into double digits.

Those efforts cancelled out a spirited 22 points from Bristol's Corey Hill, with Marcos Perez-Tosca adding 14 more.

"It's what we're doing at the younger age groups. We get these kids in very early and work with them a lot. The support we have around the Magic facility from the parents, all the volunteers us progress as a club," said Magic head coach Tom Paraskeva

"We thought [the Flyers] were going to play a bit more zone defence, but they played man, so we just do what we do, which is to focus on us. We prepared but in the end you have just got to work as hard as you can.

"Demi [Babalola] worked really hard and played for the team. It's about the team, couldn't be more proud of the guys. We had multiple 20-point scorers, multiple people on the boards and it's all the little things, Henry Philpotts was amazing just rebounding, Nathan [Brown] with his gap defence. A whole team performance."


Sure Shot U18 Women's National Cup Final

Manchester Mystics 46-85 CoLA Southwark Pride

CoLA Southwark Pride held Manchester to single-digit scoring in both the first and third quarters as they cruised to a 46-85 victory, claiming their fourth U18 Women's National Cup in the process.

CoLA had their way at both ends of the court, winning on the glass 61-37 thanks in part to an 18-point, 14-rebound double-double from MVP Felicia Jacobs.

The Pride forward was a menace in the paint, dominated the glass and shot with efficiency (5/8), and, along with fellow forwards Esther Kursite (8pts, 5reb) and Adaora Dioramma (4pts, 13reb), that pressure inside created further opportunities elsewhere.

Unlike a year ago when CoLA shot just 19% (7/36) from beyond the arc in their Final loss against Ipswich, Coach Gibbons' side were dialed in from long-range here and at one stage were shooting 53% (7/13) in the second quarter before finishing with a 39% clip (11/28).

A young Mystics team were led by Irene Oboavwodo (14pts) and Elisandra Costa (13pts) on an afternoon to forget for the four-time champs as their wait for a first U18W Cup since 2008/09 goes on.

"We knew that it wasn't going to be an easy game and that they were going to put up a fight," admitted Jacobs.

"They have a lot of strong players. We just had to work together as a team and push for as big a lead as we could.

"Coach Jackson helped with [refocusing the mindset] at halftime. He told us the game starts at 0-0 for the second half. We knew that Manchester were going to fight and not let us win easily."


Sure Shot U18 Men's National Cup Final

Derby Trailblazers 68-80 Islington Panthers

Islington Panthers ended the day with a commanding 80-68 win against Derby Trailblazers.

The Londoners rarely looked troubled throughout the U18s showpiece, leading by 12 after the first quarter before steadily building their advantage to help fend off a late Derby fightback.

Following on from their 2021/22 success at the U16 level, seven of that group returned here to claim U18 glory led by another MVP performance from captain Tyreese Poku-Mensah.

The talented guard was able to score at will throughout his full 40 minutes of action, closing with a game-high 34 points on an efficient 13/20 shooting performance.

Jaiden Dawes (19pts) helped his side get off to a fast start, hitting all five of his shots in the first quarter, including three triples, for 15 points in the frame.

Lemar Clarke (17pts) played well as team mate Devontae Da Costa (10pts, 15reb) added a double-double.

Derby were left wondering what might have been after failing to seize their first U18M Cup. They were led in scoring by Elias Norman (19pts), Zac Atkin (17pts) and Jack Lemon (14pts).

"It feels great. Knowing that we were the underdogs and we came out here to play and we achieved what we wanted to do," said Poku-Mensah.

"We're quite a small team so we had to box out and rebound, that helped us win today.

"On our mind we had someone who passed away, Jonah, so we wanted to play hard and for him, knowing he'd be here to support us today."  



For a selection of images from the day's games, check out the gallery below