Myerscough College U17 girls and U19 men came away from Leicester Arena on Thursday having taken out a twin triumph at the Dynamik National Schools Championship Finals Day.
Myerscough’s U17 girls got the ball rolling with a 73-52 victory against their Barking Abbey counterparts before the U19 men took to the floor and just pipped Greig City Academy to the prize – and plaudits – by a six-point margin (70-64).
Shauna Harrison and Milly Knowles (below) scored 20 and 22 points respectively, with the latter’s tally enough to see her pick up the MVP award, although they were both eclipsed in the scoring stakes by Barking Abbey’s Theodora Armanu, who registered 31 - 15 of which came in the fourth and final quarter alone.
Henry Smart (below) received the MVP accolade following the U19 men’s final courtesy of his 18-point haul for Myerscough, while Greig City Academy’s George Davis, Jelani Lewis and Mathew Mastalerz all notched 13 points apiece.
Coaching duo Mike Bernard and Troy Culley helped to mastermind those respective successes for the Preston-based programme from the sidelines, although the latter was quick to humbly point out that much of the credit belonged to those who stepped out onto the court and not necessarily stood off of it.
“It has been a very good day and it’s a testament to the kids’ hard work,” Culley commented.
“They’re the ones putting the time in every single day. I can only put these kids in a position to go and play.
“They’re the ones on the floor who actually have to go and execute and they brought it home today.
“We just put them in a position to go and do that. I said to the kids in the huddle at the end that they really represented our programme well today and I’m very proud of them all.”
John Madejski Academy (JMA) Rockets claimed the U19 women’s crown with a dominant 115-34 win over Blackpool Sixth Form College. JMA’s Sofia Ainsa Lluch emerged from the final as the MVP with 27 points - nearly twice as many as Blackpool Sixth Form College’s C Mascione (14).
“We’ve got a small, but really committed, group of girls,” explained JMA Rockets head coach Matt Johnson.
“They’ve been working so very hard and, to get such a big win here in Leicester, it’s just a credit to the way that our girls have performed.
“We’ve got some especially talented girls and a lot of them are very young as well, so we’re looking forward to seeing how they perform in the future.”
Meanwhile, Loreto College clinched the U17 boys’ title with a slender 61-59 result against Charnwood College Riders thanks to a last-gasp breakaway and dunk by MVP Josh Pearce (below). Pearce’s late heroics saw him take his points total up to 16 - one less than Loreto’s topscorer Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo (17). Joe Bielak led the way for Charnwood College Riders with 22.
“It was a bit of a scrappy final and it came down really to the first team that didn’t do as many turnovers,” Loreto College head coach Peter Paraskeva stated.
“We only had eight players today. We were missing our best player and we still got the job done without him.
“I’m really happy with a couple of our guys filling in at point guard when they’ve never had to play in that particular position before. We did alright in the circumstances!”
Elsewhere, St Bonaventure’s RC High School won the Boys’ U14 Premier tournament with a 77-46 result over Raines Foundation School, but went on to lose the U16 Boys’ Premier Final 73-58 to Barking Abbey.
Nathaniel Boatey, of St Bonaventure’s, and Barking Abbey’s Arnas Petrauskas (below) took home the MVP honours with scores of 27 (including five three-pointers) and 23 respectively.
Raines Foundation’s Bernard Prez Badu-Boateng (17) and St Bonaventure’s U16s’ Alex Richmond-Ariyo (13) topscored for their respective sides in ultimately losing efforts.
The Dynamik National School Championship Finals wrapped up a thrilling three days of basketball in the East Midlands.
Basketball England’s Academy Leagues – the ABL, EABL and WEABL – had their Finals Day on Wednesday, when St Charles Catholic Sixth Form College (76-60 vs Gateshead College), Barking Abbey (82-65 vs Charnwood College Riders) and City of London Academy (CoLa) – Southwark (40-31 vs Charnwood College Riders) ultimately emerged as 2016/17 champions from the respective competitions.
Twenty four hours earlier, the Jr. NBA Finals Day saw pupils from four schools – The Holy Trinity (London Co-Ed), Philips High (Manchester), Queensbridge (Birmingham) and Woodlands (London Girls) – pick up NBA-style golden rings after representing their allotted franchises, the New York Knicks, the Boston Celtics, the Charlotte Hornets and the Philadelphia 76ers, with desire, determination and distinction.