Sevenoaks Suns, Southwark Pride, Worthing Thunder and the London Borough of Haringey will have two representatives apiece in Sunday’s Jnr NBL Play-Off Finals at the National Basketball Performance Centre having come through their respective semi showdowns on Saturday.
Southwark Pride’s U18 men (below) shall face their Allerton High School/Leeds Force Academy counterparts after a 62-59 victory over Derby Trailblazers, whereas their U18 women beat Myerscough College Spinners 74-48 and will meet their Sevenoaks Suns equivalents next.
All pictures by Mansoor Ahmed (@IAmAhmedphotos).
Allerton High School/Leeds Force Academy knocked out Manchester Magic 66-60 in the ‘Final Fours’, while Sevenoaks Suns accounted for Oaklands Wolves 84-46.
“It’s a great achievement and I’ve got to give mad respect to the guys – they were excellent today (Saturday),” commented Allerton High School/Leeds Force Academy’s assistant coach Chris Savage.
“They put in a really tough performance and it’s going to require another one tomorrow (Sunday), but these guys are hungry – and ready - for it.
“Southwark Pride are a very athletic and physically aggressive team, so we’ve just got to come out with the same mindset of tough defence and smart offence.
“We’ll run our system and our plays and, hopefully, we can get the W tomorrow (Sunday).”
Like Allerton High School/Leeds Force Academy (above), Sevenoaks Suns will also encounter Southwark Pride in the female finale with the former looking to avenge an overtime defeat in last year’s clash.
“We’ve been looking forward to a rematch and we’re happy to have a chance in the final,” said Sevenoaks Suns U18 women’s head coach Len Busch.
“There are a lot of good players on both teams and they know each other quite well, so it should be a great game. We’re really looking forward to it.”
On their semi-final showing against Oaklands Wolves, Busch added: “We were pretty good defensively. We had a lot of energy and made it very difficult for them (Oaklands Wolves).
“They seemed to struggle to score so I was happy about that and we had a couple of players shoot quite well, which was very helpful.”
The other Sevenoaks Suns side to feature in a Play-Off Final tomorrow will be their U14 girls, who overcame Sheffield Hatters 60-55 and will now challenge the Manchester Mystics. The Mystics got the better of Richmond Knights 51-37.
Worthing Thunder’s U14 and U16 boys are also finalists in their age groups after respective successes over City of Birmingham (99-72) and Newham Youngbloods (62-52).
The U14s are up against London Lewisham Thunder (75-61 vs Manchester Magic) and the U16s shall line up opposite Haringey Hawks (below), who downed London Greenhouse Pioneers 77-69.
“It feels great to be in the final, but we made that game harder than it should have been,” stated Haringey Hawks U16 boys’ head coach Franck Batimba.
“We started off slowly. They were a lot hungrier than us at the start and their full court press got them so many turnovers.
“But, we stayed composed and had built up a nice lead by the fourth quarter, when we started to get comfortable and take stupid shots. We made that game hard, but they are a good team.
“Getting to the final doesn’t mean you’ve won. If you finish second, you’re the best loser and we haven’t come this far to lose. We have to win. We’ve worked too hard not to.”
The other representatives from the north London borough are GCA Haringey Angels, who shall contest the U16 girls’ play-off final with Ipswich.
The Angels prevailed 53-36 against Sheffield Hatters, while Ipswich (above) toppled West Herts Warriors 72-65 in a far tighter tussle overall.
“We’re pleasantly surprised to have reached the final as it wasn’t necessarily in our plans for this season to even get to the Final Fours,” said Ipswich U16 girls’ head coach Amy Linton.
“To have done that and then get into the final is beyond what we expected of ourselves.
“But, they’re a great bunch and they’ve just worked so very hard for it. I’m super proud of them and I know how happy they are to have done it. It’s just absolutely brilliant.”
Court One: U16 Girls’ Semi-Final One: West Herts Warriors 65-72 Ipswich Basketball Club. U16 Boys’ Semi-Final One: London Greenhouse Pioneers 69-77 Haringey Hawks. U18 Women’s Semi-Final One: Oaklands Wolves 46-84 Sevenoaks Suns. U18 Men’s Semi-Final One: Manchester Magic 60-66 Leeds Force/Allerton High School Academy.
Court Two: U16 Girls’ Semi-Final Two: GCA Haringey Angels 53-36 Sheffield Hatters. U16 Boys’ Semi-Final Two: Newham Youngbloods 52-62 Worthing Thunder. U18 Women’s Semi-Final Two: Southwark Pride 74-48 Myerscough College Spinners. U18 Men’s Semi-Final Two: Southwark Pride 62-59 Derby Trailblazers.
Court Three: U14 Boys’ Semi-Final One: City of Birmingham 72-99 Worthing Thunder. U14 Girls’ Semi-Final One: Richmond Knights 37-51 Manchester Mystics. U14 Boys’ Semi-Final Two: London Lewisham Thunder 75-61 Manchester Magic. U14 Girls’ Semi-Final Two: Sheffield Hatters 55-60 Sevenoaks Suns.
Court One: 10am – U16 Girls’ Play-Off Final: GCA Haringey Angels vs Ipswich Basketball Club. 12:15pm – U16 Boys’ Play-Off Final: Haringey Hawks vs Worthing Thunder. 2:30pm – U18 Women’s Play-Off Final: Sevenoaks Suns vs Southwark Pride. 4:45pm – U18 Men’s Play-Off Final: Leeds Force/Allerton High School Academy vs Southwark Pride.
Court Two: 10am – U16 Girls’ Third/Fourth Place Play-Off: West Herts Warriors vs Sheffield Hatters. 12:15pm – U16 Boys’ Third/Fourth Place Play-Off: London Greenhouse Pioneers vs Newham Youngbloods. 2:30pm – U18 Women’s Third/Fourth Place Play-Off: Oaklands Wolves vs Myerscough College Spinners. 4:45pm – U18 Men’s Third/Fourth Place Play-Off: Manchester Magic vs Derby Trailblazers.
Court Three: 10am – U14 Boys’ Third/Fourth Place Play-Off: City of Birmingham vs Manchester Magic. 12:15pm – U14 Girls’ Third/Fourth Place Play-Off: Richmond Knights vs Sheffield Hatters. 2:30pm – U14 Boys’ Play-Off Final: Worthing Thunder vs London Lewisham Thunder. 4:45pm – U14 Girls’ Play-Off Final: Manchester Mystics vs Sevenoaks Suns.