Southwark Pride did the double at the Jnr NBA Playoff Finals on Sunday with their U18 men and women emerging victorious at the National Basketball Performance Centre in Manchester.
All pictures by Mansoor Ahmed (@IAmAhmedphotos).
Southwark’s women produced a masterful defensive display to limit the Sevenoaks Suns’ scoring to beneath 30 points in a 52-27 win, whereas the men were reliant on two free-throws from the line to edge out Allerton High School/Leeds Force Academy 49-47 right at the death.
Mitchell (14), Segwai-Lodge (14) and Komagum (10) spearheaded Southwark men on offence and Abiola (11) and Edwards did likewise for the women, with the latter’s 16 points and seven rebounds deservedly earning her the MVP accolade.
Southwark’s men struggled to contain the scoring exploits of Allerton High/Leeds Force Academy’s J Pandza, who registered a game-high 20, although the women had somewhat fewer difficulties in keeping tabs on Sevenoaks Suns’ ever-dangerous duo Lozzi (Seven) and Nikitinaite (Six).
“Defence wins championships. It’s a clichéd statement and people say it all of the time,” said Southwark Pride U18 women’s head coach Jackson Gibbons.
“But, we really work on it and do our very best to try and take away what the other team does well.
“Most importantly though, it’s about culture. Our girls love – and work hard for – each other and this was their last time playing together.
“Our hashtag all year has been ‘the last ride’ and they wanted to go off into the sunset together.
“They’ve done a clean sweep and that’s a testament to them and they’re commitment to playing together. They are a great and very special team.”
Gibbons added: “We’ve got another group of players coming up from underneath this one and who knows whether or not they’ll be as good?
“But, we’re going to work as unified as this group are and then the results will come. This group of players though will be a hard act to follow.
“I’m happy for them. They’re all going on to better places and opportunities than I can provide, so it’s a fairy tale for me.”
Worthing Thunder produced a 27-point scoring blitz in the fourth and final quarter to prevail 80-68 over Haringey Hawks in the U16 Boys’ Playoff Final.
The Thunder held a slender, two-point advantage (53-51) at the end of the third stanza, having won the third by five (20-15), but lost the first by one (19-18) and third by two (17-15).
Haringey’s Kapsalos was in inspired form as he racked up a highly impressive 39 points, but the Hawks’ over-reliance on him offensively proved their undoing against a Worthing side that shared around the burden of responsibility in attack.
Indeed, four of their players – Hildreth (12), Luzinda (12), Kitenge (16) and Musahl (17) breached double-digit territory, with Kitenge’s 17 rebounds, six blocks and five assists and turnovers apiece seeing him take home the MVP award.
“It feels absolutely fantastic to have achieved our goal of winning a national championship,” said Worthing Thunder’s head coach Daniel Hildreth.
“We’ve obviously had some bumps in the road along the way, with a fair number of injuries, but these kids have worked hard all year and it was a total team effort.
“Whether they play 20 or 30 minutes, everybody knows what they’re going to do and they’re going to contribute at different times. It was a team win today and I’m just so pleased for – and proud of – them.”
Earlier, GCA Haringey Angels’ captain Da Silva (10) and the MVP Matovu (12) saw their side through to a 52-46 triumph over Ipswich Basketball Club in the U16 Girls’ Playoff Final.
They were ably supported by Cadogan (Nine), Guidolin-Duncan (Eight) and Samuels-Campbell (Eight).
Ipswich skipper Little scored a game-high 20 for her side, but the back-up on offence – from the likes of Pearson (Eight), Taylor Willis (Eight) and Bowman-Boyles (Six) – proved insufficient in the final reckoning.
Ipswich led 21-18 at the end of the first quarter, but they failed to register another double-digit tally until the four stanza (10) as solitary scores of seven and eight hampered their efforts either side of half-time.
Haringey meanwhile stayed relatively consistent scoring-wise for the first half an hour, with their accrued 45 points (18, 14 & 13) giving them a nine-point lead (45-36) and an advantageous position they ultimately wouldn’t relinquish.
“I’m really pleased with the way they played,” explained GCA Haringey Angels coach Phil Hayfield.
“They didn’t give up and scrapped hard on defence, like they’ve always done. We had a bad first quarter, but we then knocked them down and got the job done so I’m pleased.”
Meanwhile, Hildreth (34) and Gaye (21) ensured Worthing Thunder also came away with the U14 boys’ title after a 87-72 victory against London Lewisham Thunder, while Andrews (35) and Mushore (21) starred for the Sevenoaks Suns as they clasped the U14 girls’ crown following a 75-68 win over Manchester Mystics.
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: U16 Girls’ Playoff Final: GCA Haringey Angels 52-46 Ipswich Basketball Club. U16 Boys’ Playoff Final: Haringey Hawks 68-80 Worthing Thunder. U18 Women’s Playoff Final: Sevenoaks Suns 27-52 Southwark Pride. U18 Men’s Playoff Final: Leeds Force/Allerton High School Academy 47-49 Southwark Pride.
Court Two: U16 Girls’ Third/Fourth Place Playoff: West Herts Warriors 56-60 Sheffield Hatters. U16 Boys’ Third/Fourth Place Playoff: London Greenhouse Pioneers 62-65 Newham Youngbloods. U18 Women’s Third/Fourth Place Playoff: Oaklands Wolves 69-57 Myerscough College Spinners. U18 Men’s Third/Fourth Place Playoff: Manchester Magic 73-81 Derby Trailblazers.
Court Three: U14 Boys’ Third/Fourth Place Playoff: City of Birmingham 71-81 Manchester Magic. U14 Girls’ Third/Fourth Place Playoff: Richmond Knights 49-48 Sheffield Hatters. U14 Boys’ Playoff Final: Worthing Thunder 87-72 London Lewisham Thunder. U14 Girls’ Playoff Final: Manchester Mystics 68-75 Sevenoaks Suns.