Review - March's Dynamik National Schools Finals

Under 17 Girls Final – City of London Academy 52 v 73 Charnwood College Riders

Charnwood College Riders claimed the Dynamik Under 17 Girls title after a 73-52 win over rivals City of London Academy.

The ever-impressive Holly Winterburn claimed MVP honours after a 33-point performance, helping her team to an unassailable position as the game progressed.

CoLA got off to a slow start that saw them trailing 12-0 to begin the game, forcing Coach Gibbons into a time out. From there the Southern side did begin to click and gradually crept back into the game as the first half progressed. Closing the deficit to just 5 late in the 2nd quarter, Charnwood would eventually head to the break with a 35-27 lead after a Winterburn buzzer beater.

The gap between the two sides remained relatively constant for most of the quarter as both teams traded baskets, with CoLa trying to tie things up and the Riders looking to put the game out of sight. In the game’s final period, the London side’s defensive effort results in stops and multiple opportunities to get back into the contest, but they just couldn’t score themselves. Timely baskets never came and the difference stayed around the 10-point mark. That was until Winterburn scored 5 quick fire points with a little over 2:30 remaining to make the game 64-50, all but sealing the win.

CoLa are a very good team, so it a really good win,” said Charnwood Head Coach Krumesh Patel. “I think they were missing a couple of players, but they are always competitive and kept grinding away. We stuck with our game plan, we kept rotating and we shared the ball. The team really rallied around Holly as well, and she found the right times to both score and pass.”

“We came here not really knowing what to expect but we played fast and moved the ball well. I tried to pick my moments, and find team mates when they were open, it went really well,” said Winterburn.

U17 Boys Final – Myerscough College 85 v 81 Charnwood College Riders

A tremendous spectacle for the neutral, the Dynamik U17 Boys Final provided something for everyone before Myerscough eventually triumphed over Charnwood 85-81.

Australia-bound Callan Low was the MVP for Myerscough with 23 points and the talented youngster will soon be jetting out to the Gold Coast with the Scotland squad for next month’s Commonwealth Games.

The competitiveness of the contest was on constant display and both teams spent the majority of the game within touching distance. Early baskets were traded to provide a 16-16 score line midway through the opening period and the 1st quarter ended at 23-23. That parity continued into the 2nd period until Myerscough began to move ahead, pulling out to a slender 5-point lead at 46-41. The North East side finished the half on fire from range, giving Myerscough their first double digit lead of the game at 51-41, but a 3 pointer on the buzzer from the Riders sent both sides to the changing rooms at 51-44.

The start of the 2nd half was delayed by some lengthy repair work to one of the baskets, but once the action got underway it was Myerscough who looked the brighter of the two sides. An 8-2 run once again pushed the Academy’s lead into double digits, but that spurred Charnwood to fashion a streak of their own. A 10-3 tear to end the 3rd left the game delicately poised once more at 65-60 Myerscough.

With Hosana Kitenge looking dominant throughout, he really began to get the Riders ticking in the 4th behind the vocal support of the U17 girls who had now finished their own game on court 2. But with Charnwood closing in, Myerscough’s Mate Okros stepped up with some timely scores to keep the North West side in front. Once Okros began to falter, the Riders made no such mistake and with 4 minutes to go, the game was tied up at 75-75. From there, MVP Low stepped to the fore. He would be responsible for 5 of Myerscough final 10 points down the stretch to seal the win and keep the Riders at bay.

“This is a great feeling; the guys really deserve it,” said Myerscough Head Coach Mike Bernard. “We’ve worked hard all year, day in day out and that’s been really good. You can’t fault Charnwood and they have some great pieces including a really talented big inside in Kitenge. We knew we’d be in a dog fight but we just had to push through it.”

“We got the lead and they went on a run to make us sweat but we managed to pick it up and get the win,” said MVP Low. “It’s an honour to get MVP but our team as a whole played so well today.”

Under 16 Boys Premier Final – St Bonaventure’s 80 v 77 Barking Abbey

St Bon’s and Barking Abbey provided a back and forth battle with a thrilling end in a great advert for the game. St Bonaventure’s eventually came out on top 80-77 to become Dynamik Under 16 Boys Premier Champions, but the result was in the balance right up to the final few seconds. St Bon’s Franklin Agu secured the MVP award after a 13-point performance, including 8 point in the game’s final 3:30.

The first half was dominated by runs by one team or the other and the opening to the game was no exception. Anyone unfamiliar with these two sides might have been expecting a one sided contest when St Bon’s raced out to an early 8-0 lead, but their opponents hit back with a 9-0 run of their own. By the end of a high scoring first, Bonaventure’s led 26-21.

Conceding the first 4 points of the 2nd quarter had Coach Broadmore calling for a BA time out and the break in play did the trick as Barking went on a 6-point run of their own. Naturally, St Bon’s countered with an 11-point streak. That once again forced Broadmore to huddle his troops and the time out had the desired effect again as BA ended the quarter on an 11-5 tear to trail 50-43 at half time.

Barking looked to be drifting in the 3rd quarter, but came good in the period’s final few minutes to close the gap to a manageable size before a buzzer beating corner triple from BA’s Juozapavicius left Bon’s up 67-59 with 10 minutes to play.

Abbey continued their momentum into the 4th quarter and with 3:30 remaining they managed to square up the contest at 72-72. Their opponents were beginning to look disjoined and struggled with fluidity, especially on the offensive end. But the answer to St Bon’s woes rested with MVP Agu, who time and again found a way to keep his side in front. With just seconds left, BA repeatedly sent their opposition to the line and Bonaventure’s just couldn’t put the game away. That left Barking with a couple of possessions to get something from the Final, once with 10 seconds to go and another with a full court heave on the buzzer. Neither found the basket and St Bonaventure’s held on for a thrilling win.

“We’ve already experienced this in year 9, so coming back again, especially again Barking Abbey, this was a really hard game,” said Agu. “This is a really good team to play with and we’ve been together for about 5 years. It’s been great to finish like this with them. I knew we were going to win from the start, even when it got tight.”

“Barking Abbey did a good job of making it hard for us to score in the 2nd half,” winning coach Steve Onireti added. “But we didn’t lose focus, we didn’t panic and we got the job done when it mattered. Franklin was special, he’s very difficult to cover and he understand the game so well. I’m really pleased with him today.”

Under 14 Boys Premier Final – Queens School 74 v 107 Christs School

A dominant performance from Richmond-based Christs School saw them crowned Dynamik Under 14 Boys Premier winners, beating Queens School 107-74.

Christs School’s Michael Belle took home MVP honours as he dropped 30 points, the majority of which came when driving to the basket. Solid defensive work in the paint only added to his case for the standout award.

A high energy start to the contest showed that both teams were firmly up for this one, but it was Christs School who had the better of the early going. Leads at 11-4 and 17-10 showed how well the London side could play on the offensive end, but their Hertfordshire counterparts battled back to trail by just 2 as the 1st quarter progressed. That was as close as the game would get from there on out though as Christs School went on a 6-0 run to end the period, leaving them up 28-20.

Christs School then proceeded to execute their offensive game plan to perfection throughout the 2nd quarter. Getting the ball to the rim on the drive early and often, few were more adept at slashing through the lane than Belle who seemed to find a source of points at will. That left Queens School with much to ponder as they went to the half time break down 55-37.

Unfortunately for Queens, the 2nd half provided no let-up in the offensive efforts of their opponents and their deficit passed 20 to begin the quarter and was north of 30 by the end of it. Still, Coach McIntosh’s side deserve a lot of credit for the way they battled throughout the game’s final 10 minutes, diving for loose balls and playing hard despite the score. In the end, Christs School had too much, particularly on offence, and were worthy winners.

“It’s unbelievable, outstanding commitment from the boys to ensure that our processes and organisation were second to none,” said victorious Head Coach Djamal Sedour. “This performance and the title is well deserved for the students, and for the support from Richmond Knights, Head of PE Tom Smith and the school’s Head Teacher.”

“I think our ball movement was great. We’ve been together a long time so we know our own strengths and weaknesses. In the 1st half we didn’t execute too well as we kept driving into the key with bodies in there, but we moved the defence around in the 2nd half to make that space and it paid off,” said Belle.

Under 19 Women’s Final – Charnwood College Riders 56 v 47 Aylesbury High School

A late flurry of points from Charnwood was enough to tip the scales of a tight Dynamik Under 19 Women’s Final and help secure a 56-47 win. Riders’s India Morrell was crowned the Final’s MVP as she scored a game high 18 points.

Baskets were somewhat hard to come by in the early going, leaving both sides tied at 11-11 after the first 10 minutes of play. The 2nd quarter provided a little more offensive action though as both teams grew into the game. An 8-2 run from Charnwood early in the period created the game’s first lead of note, but Aylesbury fought hard from there to match their opponents and stay in touch. The final basket of the 1st half belonged to the Buckinghamshire side as they scored on the buzzer to trail 26-24 at half time.

The Riders would begin the 3rd quarter in the same way they started the 2nd, going on another run to put themselves in front. This time it was a 12-3 streak that broke the game open, with Morrell a catalyst. Aylesbury managed to stem the tide but despite their efforts, the deficit held steady around the 10-point mark. The final minute of the 3rd provided Aylesbury with all the momentum and an 8-0 run, breathing life into the side and closing the Riders’ lead up to 39-35 with 1 quarter to go.

When Aylesbury scored the 1st basket of the game’s final quarter, everything was going their way and that continued as Charnwood scrapped just to stay in front. But stay in front they did, despite the pressure of the 4th quarter’s opening 5 minutes. Aylesbury threw everything into the tie in an attempt to grab the lead, but trailing by a single point at 44-43 was the closest they would come. Dropping away down the stretch allowed Charnwood to move out to a more comfortable lead and in the end the Riders would coast to the win in the final few minutes after a 12-2 run.

“It was really good today. This is a group that doesn’t play WEABL so it’s nice for them to win this,” Charnwood’s Head Coach Krumesh Patel said. “It means a lot for them to come through a situation like that, to survive that, it’s great. 4 of this group will be returning next year so hopefully they can really push on.”

“I’m really proud of all the girls today. We made it hard for ourselves I’d say but we pulled through in the end!” said MVP Morrell.

Under 19 Mens Conference Final – College of Richard Collyer 45 v 112 Greig City Academy

London’s Greig City showed their class as they strolled to the Dynamik Under 19 Mens Conference title with a 112-45 win to end the day’s play. Jordan Johnson scored 25 points and was a worthy recipient of the MVP award.

In the early going, GCA were already looking strong and started to build a lead. Whilst their offensive efforts brought points on nearly every possession, it was Greig City’s high pressure defence that made life tough for their opponents. With Richard Collyer struggling to get good looks, the score line soon got out of hand.

Taking the 2nd period 27-4 effectively sealed an end to the contest, stretching the GCA advantage north of the 30-point mark. The Sussex-based side still kept their heads up and played hard, despite their prospect of a title long since falling by the wayside in this one.

By the middle of the 4th quarter, Greig City’s offensive might helped push the difference past 50. That allowed Coach Bailey to rotate his bench and give all his players some valuable minutes. The game’s final buzzer provided an end to a game that had been decided much earlier in proceedings, but both teams deserved credit for the way they played despite the score line.

“I’m happy to win gold today after coming 2nd last year. It’s so good to finally win and lift a weight off our shoulders!” said MVP Johnson. “We train hard, we work hard, we push each other to be the best. It paid off today.”

“We were here last year and lost to Myerscough. We had a chance to redeem ourselves today and I’m delighted we could. I’m really pleased for the guys and for some of these players it’s their last year with me here at Greig City, this is a really good send off for them,” said Greig City Head Coach Andrew Bailey.