ACADEMY LEAGUE FINALS DAY
Haringey Sixth Form College 107-90 St Charles College
Haringey took on St Charles in the ABL Final, emerging victorious 107-90 after a tight contest for three quarters.
The scoring was started by a strong drive from Haringey’s Franklin Agu, a sign of things to come. Haringey used high pick and rolls very effectively in the initial stages, jumping out to an early lead through great inside scoring. St. Charles quickly reacted by dominating the offensive glass, keeping the score close. The quarter ended following a strong and-one finish from Agu and a quick 3 pointer from St. Charles’ Taariq Powell to end the quarter 29 – 27.
The 2nd quarter started the same way the 1st ended, with a strong score and physical play from eventual MVP Agu. Stingy defence saw Haringey create a small lead but a couple of turnovers and a great reverse lay-up from St. Charles Josh Akinbiyi drew the scores back level once again. The rest of the half was a back and fourth affair, highlighted by a huge chase down block from St Charles’ Abiodoun Adedo, leaving both teams tied at 50 – 50 come the half time buzzer.
The second half kicked off with a huge dunk from Sheyi Agbaje, energising the St. Charles bench as the team looked to kick on. The game maintained it’s see-saw nature with both teams trading baskets to keep the score close. As Haringey began to turn the screw, their young shooter Owen Young continued to take aim from beyond the arc, hitting timely baskets on his way to 6/9 performance from beyond the arc. A buzzer beater from Adedo kept St. Charles within touching distance, trailing 75 – 73 going into the final quarter.
Despite how even the game was up to that point, the 4th quarter firmly belonged to Coach Batimba’s side and broke open an otherwise even Final. After tying the score up at 76 – 76, St. Charles had no answer as Haringey began to show their strength. As the influential Mohammed Mohammed fouled out for St Charles and provided Haringey with an opportunity to build their lead, the game slowly began to slip away from the South Conference winners. Defensive breakdowns saw the difference stretch to double digits with 4 minutes to go and from there Haringey won the quarter 32-17 to seal the ABL title.
Haringey Top Scorers: Owen Young with 26, Ndwedo Newbury with 24 and Franklin Agu with 23.
St Charles Top Scorers: Abiodoun Adedo with 33, Josh Akinbiyi and Taariq Powell with 12 and Mohammed Mohammed with 11
MVP: Franklin Agu with 23 points, 27 rebounds and 6 assists
City of London Academy 40-66 Charnwood College
The WEABL Final saw the MVPs of both the Northern and Southern Conference face off against each other as Charnwood came out victorious over City of London Academy by a score of 66-40.
The 1st quarter started with Charnwood playing great defence, moving out to a quick 7-0 lead. CoLA then converted one of two from the line to get themselves on the board but the Northern Conference winners continued to play lock down defence for the rest of quarter to lead 13-1 by the first change.
Coach Gibbons’ side started the 2nd quarter slowly as well, only able to score from the free throw line as Charnwood quickly started to assert their dominance with a few great scores from eventual MVP Megan Jones. As CoLA slipped further behind at 22-4, the London side finally went on a small run off the back of foul shooting and some good plays from Megan Haines, ending the half at 27-16.
The second half started with a steal from young star Holly Winterburn and a tough transition finish by Niamh Kelshaw. Coach Patel’s side never let up as a big 3 pointer from Kelshaw to beat the shot clock further stretched the difference. After another break up and assist from Winterburn was converted by Jones this time, Charnwood hit another triple to make it 37-18 and the game was becoming one sided.
The fourth quarter followed a similar pattern as Charnwood continued to dominate, stretching their lead north of the 30 point mark. A few late three pointers saw CoLA cut their deficit down a little but the final result was never in doubt.
CoLA Top Scorers: Jade Guidolin-Duncan and Ashana Hinds with 9, Megan Haines with 7 and Amelia Sandie with 5.
Charnwood Top Scorers: Megan Jones with 14, Niamh Kelshaw with 13 and Holy Wright with 9.
MVP: Megan Jones with 14 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 blocks.
Charnwood College 75-63 Barking Abbey School
The climax to an intense day of finals saw one of the competition’s greatest ever comebacks as Charnwood College denied Barking Abbey a third straight EABL title following a 75-63 win.
With three quarters in the books, Barking had established a healthy lead, up 63-44 with 10 minutes remaining. What followed left the crowd at Essex Arena stunned as Charnwood reeled off a 31-0 4th quarter, shutting out their hugely talented opponents in the frame for an unforgettable victory.
The first quarter was tightly contested with both teams trading baskets to keep the score close. But through a few strong post moves by Hosana Kitenge and a great and-one lay up, Charnwood would go into the break up 19–14.
The second quarter started with a strong run from Barking, taking the London side into lead following an impressive basket from Jonathan Brown in transition. Lloyd Gardener’s team continued their positive play as Barking built a slender advantage before Charnwood responded in kind to leave the score evenly balanced at 35–31 by the half.
Coach Lloyd Gardener clearly said all the right things during the break as Barking came out all guns blazing to quickly push the game in their favour behind some great play from Ade Adebayo. Barking continued to work hard and slick offence was coupled with intense defence, forcing multiple misses from Charnwood as the difference on the score board grew. To end the quarter, Tautvydas Mieliauskas and Chris Feeney hit back to back threes for BA to take the quarter 32-9 and an overall lead of 63-44. With that kind of momentum on their side, it made the 4th quarter even harder to believe.
The final frame started with a quick 5- 0 run for Charnwood that at the time looked to simply make the game a little more interesting. Barking then got into foul trouble with both Robin Bedford and Jonathan Brown fouling out mid way through the quarter. Charnwood’s momentum then began to tell as the Midland’s programme moved through the gears at both ends of the court to quickly diminish their arrears. With Charnwood’s Niall Harris showing why he was Northern Conference MVP with an impressive scoring display, he eventually helped to push his side out in front and seal a comeback that will be talked about for a long time to come.
Charnwood Top Scorers: Niall Harris with 17, Joe Bielak and Blaize Sagna with 16 and Hosana Kitenge with 13
Barking Abbey Top Scorers: Ade Adebayo with 13, Chris Feeney and Nathaniel Powell with 12 and Spyridon Kapsalos and Jonathan Brown with 8
MVP: Niall Harris with 17 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, and 3 steals