The cream of the crop from London’s Jr. NBA competition brought their A-game to the University of East London SportsDock for the Year 8 London Jr. NBA Finals today. After an enthralling Day 1 involving the Year 7 competition, the action on the court was again full of intense battles, highlight reel plays and plenty of smiles.
In this morning’s boys’ Eastern Final between the Milwaukee Bucks from St Bonaventure’s and the Atlanta Hawks from Wimbledon College it was a shoot-out, with both teams playing an offensive brand of basketball. The Bucs used their length and speed while also rebounding well and came out with the win 57-13.
Two talented, evenly matched teams locked horns in the boys’ Western Final between the San Antonio Spurs from Kingsdale and the Los Angeles Lakers from Lampton School. The Spurs played unselfish, team basketball finding the open player throughout the game for easy baskets and in the end prevailed 35-28, punching their ticket to the title game in the afternoon.
The girls’ Eastern Final was full of end-to-end action between the Atlanta Hawks from Harris Academy South Norwood and the Miami Heat from Bishop Thomas Grant. The Hawks were locked-in defensively forcing steals and turnovers and pulled away from the Heat with a 39-18 victory.
J R N B A. 🏆— Basketball England (@bballengland) April 26, 2019
Packed house again at the UEL SportsDock. Action is underway and the fans are already on the edge of their seats with end-to-end exciting play!#TogetherWeAreBasketbALL pic.twitter.com/l5wJvc6Xqz
It was a nail-biting Western Final between the Los Angeles Clippers from Aylesbury High School and the Utah Jazz from Cardinal Pole. After a dramatic comeback from the Jazz the game was sent to overtime to decide the winner. In the extra frame the Clippers took their play to another level and clinched their spot in the title game with a 17-15 victory.
At midday a shooting competition split up the day’s games as the players showed off their smooth shooting strokes. Nancy Pereira of the Atlanta Hawks from Harris Academy South Norwood was on fire, hitting everything to win the girls’ competition. In the boys’ event Domas Vazgys, captain of the Milwaukee Bucks from St Bonaventure’s, took the title as he showed off a terrific jump shot.
After lunch in the 3rd/4th place game of the boys’ competition the Atlanta Hawks from Wimbledon College won a back-and-forth game against the Los Angeles Lakers from Lampton School. Wimbledon relied on some impressive perimeter shooting to pace them to victory.
The best of the best met in the boys’ Final between the defending champions the Milwaukee Bucks from St Bonaventure’s and the San Antonio Spurs from Kingsdale. Both teams came out hungry for the title, but the Bucks just had too much talent in the end. Their fast-paced attack led them to a 45-23 victory and crowned them the London Boys Year 8 Champions.
The third place match on the girls’ side saw the Utah Jazz from Cardinal Pole play terrific team basketball. They showed excellent chemistry throughout the day and ran away with a 29-16 win over the Miami Heat from Bishop Thomas Grant.
The girls’ championship match was a classic as the Atlanta Hawks from Harris Academy South Norwood and Los Angeles Clippers from Aylesbury High School met to compete for the title. It was exciting end-to-end action as both squads brought lots of energy to the court. The Hawks stifling defence and sharpshooting pushed them past the Clippers with a 23-17 win earning them the trophy and capping off a terrific Jr. NBA season for the team.
J R. N B A. 🏆— Basketball England (@bballengland) April 26, 2019
Hot off the press, the NBA sticker book provided by @OfficialPanini is proving very popular with @jrnba players in between the action on the court here at @UELSportsDock!
View Gallery HERE 📷 https://t.co/XFBBwK7YRt #TogetherWeAreBasketbALL pic.twitter.com/oEFuD2uDCn
All the players got a nice treat as well during the day with a visit from Panini UK, who handed out free NBA stickers and sticker books to the teams, inspiring lots of excitement and some frequent sticker swapping!
With another successful Year 8 Jr. NBA season in London in the books, players and coaches expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to take part in the programme.
“It’s really fun for the students to be associated with an NBA team. They watch a lot of NBA and now they have their own jersey and their own team. It’s really empowering,” said Ros Mason, head coach of the Atlanta Hawks boys team from Wimbledon College.
“Basketball has given me more in common with some of my classmates. I’ll be playing again next year for sure,” added Justin Tan from the Milwaukee Bucks of St. Bonaventure’s.
A fun-filled day full of impressive basketball and beaming smiles capped a memorable Year 8 Jr. NBA competition in London this year that saw players improve their skills by leaps and bounds, all while developing plenty of new friendships. The competition may have come to a conclusion today, but plenty of players have said they are already looking forward to the start of next season.
Next, the Jr. NBA moves to Manchester on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week as some of the best teams in the North West will wrap up their season with some thrilling Finals. For a selection of images from today’s action in London, please use the button below.