Myerscough used a well-balanced team effort to win the National Shield, beating Team Solent Kestrels II 75-55.
4 separate players made it into double digits on the score board, and the whole roster played a part at both ends of the court. Eventual MVP Konrad Kantorski paced the offence with a team high 17 points to go with 6 assists, whilst Edoardo Del Cadia claimed 10 boards, and Rayon Brown had 4 steals and 8 assists.
Myerscough pulled away as the game progress, pushing their lead up to 20 as the 4th quarter began. A spirited fightback from the Kestrels closed that gap down the stretch, but it was too little, too late and the North West side took the win. Solent’s top scorer was Daniel Bryan with 16.
Solent needed a time out early after Mate Okros got Myerscough off to a great start, helping to establish a 6-0 lead. The break in play clearly worked as the Kestrels came out brighter after the restart leading to a pair of lay-ups for Bryan to close the gap. The contest evened up from there until Del Cadia began to show his skill set. Work down low and a presence on the glass was complimented by a 3-pointer from the top of the arc as the Italian helped Myerscough into a 17-12 lead after 1.
The start of the 2nd quarter brought with it a disjoined passage of play from both sides as the miscues mounted but it was Myerscough who regained their rhythm first. That led to an increase in their lead as the advantage flirted with double digits. From there, Kantorski began to heat up. He had 7 quick points, plus an assist as Myerscough went up 31-19 and he ended the quarter in fine fashion with a basket on the buzzer for a 35-24 half time score.
The North West side began to turn the screw in the 3rd quarter and some more slick play allowed their lead to grow after a 10-2 run. With multiple players contributing for Myerscough, the difference between the sides was edging close to 20 regardless of what Solent tried to do. A deep 3 from David Walsh late in the quarter provided more than enough breathing room as the score reached 51-33 with 10 minutes to go.
Late flurries from Karl Teesdale and Daniel Bryan allowed the Kestrels to reduce their deficit in the 4th quarter but the South coast side never looked like they would be able to get back into the game. A 12-3 run certainly helped the Solent cause, but Myerscough did a professional job of slowing the game down in the latter stages, using each possession well and going to the line when possible.
“A great result after a tough run in this competition, I feel we earned this title,” said Myerscough’s Head Coach Neal Hopkins. “The focus for the game was the defensive end, to hold a team like Solent who are free scoring, averaging 80 points a game this season to 55 points total and 33 through the first 3 quarters, that gave us a massive chance to win.”
MVP Konrad Kantorski said, “We’ve really worked hard across the season to accomplish this, so it feels really good to get a win with these guys. A great team effort, we had numerous guys working in the paint and really fighting inside, so a team effort for sure.”
Team Solent Kestrels II’s Head Coach Sylvain Donneaud, “We weren’t quite composed enough to put up some good shots, and we woke up a little too late. 70 points was our target on offence, but 55 was too low. Of course, it happens, we just wanted to perform a little bit better.”