With the curtain having now come down on another exciting season in the Jr. NBA Basketball England League, it’s high time to recap all of the spills and thrills as 120 NBA/schools franchises battled it out for outright glory across London, Birmingham and Manchester.
The 2016/2017 competition was launched back in late October, when respective drafts took place in the national capital and Manchester to determine what schools would represent which NBA teams in the third edition of this tournament.
St Bonaventure’s and Holy Trinity were drawn to represent the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks among the London boys’ schools, with two academies – Evelyn Grace and Platanos – getting to wear the jerseys of the LA Lakers and the Phoenix Suns.
The London girls’ contest made a welcome return this season and – much like the boys – Evelyn Grace Academy’s girls would get to wear the LA Lakers’ colours too. Clapton Girls were drafted as the Memphis Grizzlies and the Charlotte Hornets and Philadelphia 76ers’ kit bags went to St Angela’s and Woodlands respectively.
The Hornets and 76ers were ultimately to be represented by Queensbridge and Bishop Vesey Grammar in Birmingham, where the much-prized picks of the LA Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs went to St Bede’s and George Salter Academy.
Meanwhile, Manchester Grammar and Philips High got two historically big franchises in the Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics, while Cheadle Hulme and Our Lady’s RC High adopted the Phoenix Suns and the Portland Trailblazers.
All of the 16 schools made it through their regional qualifying pools to contest the Eastern and Western Conference semis at the Jr NBA Finals Day at Leicester Arena last midweek.
Four of those finalists rose to the challenge of seeing off two opponents in succession to ultimately emerge as the eventual champions and that quality quartet all stemmed from the Eastern Conference.
Queensbridge (Charlotte Hornets) couldn’t be bettered from the Birmingham contingent as they beat Bishop Vesey Grammar (Philadelphia 76ers, 19-18) and then St Bede’s (LA Lakers, 16-15), whereas Philips High (Boston Celtics) mastered the Manchester contest by overcoming Manchester Grammar (Chicago Bulls, 36-23) and Cheadle Hulme High (Phoenix Suns, 33-30).
Bishop Vesey Grammar (Philadelphia 76ers) and Manchester Grammar (Chicago Bulls) then went on to register contrasting results in the third/fourth place play-off games, with the former losing to fellow semi-finalists George Salter Academy (San Antonio Spurs, 15-12) and the latter downing Our Lady’s RC High (Portland Trailblazers, 20-8).
Holy Trinity (New York Knicks) and Woodlands (Philadelphia 76ers) were crowned champions of the capital. Holy Trinity recorded wins against St Bonaventure’s (Chicago Bulls, 29-26) and Platanos Academy (Phoenix Suns, 49-29), while Woodlands were victorious over St Angela’s (Charlotte Hornets, 23-12) and Clapton Girls (Memphis Grizzlies, 38-8).
Both St Bonaventure’s (Chicago Bulls) and St Angela’s (Charlotte Hornets) recovered from the seismic setbacks of early elimination though to claim bronze medals in the third/fourth place play-off encounters thanks to decisive results against the two Evelyn Grace Academy/LA Lakers sides – 45-5 and 25-6 respectively.
Congratulations to all of our champions, finalists and participants in the 2016/2017 Jr. NBA Basketball England League.
Here’s the 2016/2017 Roll of Honour:
1). Queensbridge (Charlotte Hornets).
2). St Bede’s (LA Lakers).
3). George Salter Academy (San Antonio Spurs).
4). Bishop Vesey Grammar (Philadelphia 76ers).
1). Holy Trinity (New York Knicks).
2). Platanos Academy (Phoenix Suns).
3). St Bonaventure’s (Chicago Bulls).
4). Evelyn Grace Academy (LA Lakers).
1). Woodlands (Philadelphia 76ers).
2). Clapton Girls (Memphis Grizzlies).
3). St Angela’s (Charlotte Hornets).
4). Evelyn Grace Academy (LA Lakers).
1). Philips High (Boston Celtics).
2). Cheadle Hulme High (Phoenix Suns).
3). Manchester Grammar (Chicago Bulls).
4). Our Lady’s RC High (Portland Trailblazers).