Barking Abbey Crowned 2014 EABL National Champions

Barking Abbey were crowned the 2014 EABL National Champions, beating SGS College 76-74 in the final in front of 500 people at UEL Sports Dock on Saturday evening.

It was a fitting end to the season as the two best teams in the league battled down to the wire, with Barking Abbey going on a furious come from behind rally over the final minutes of the game to take their inaugural under-19 championship.

SGS College had three attempts to win or send it to overtime on their last possession after successive offensive rebounds, but were unable to convert, as the Barking Abbey bench stormed the court in celebration on the final horn, before soaking their coaching staff with water.

It was two Daniel Ogunseye free throws with less than 30 seconds remaining that ended up being the game winners, but the talking point was MVP Josh Steel’s back to back three pointers with just over three minutes left that gave BA a two point lead after trailing by as many as seven in the final period.

“He hit some clutch shots,” said BA Head Coach Frank Holloway. “Those two threes he nailed, they were huge, it was intense. I’m glad he made them, he’s a hell of a player and he deserves to be the MVP.”

“It’s taken us three years since I’ve been playing in this league, and I’m just so happy to finally win it,” said Steel, who finished with 20 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. “…We’ve never won this league before so for us to win it as this group feels so special.

“SGS were very worthy opponents. I didn’t expect for them to be as tough as they were, they kept coming back and just wouldn’t go away.”

SGS were the only undefeated team in the EABL heading into the final and refused to go down without a fight, appearing to be in control for large parts of the game, which featured no less than 15 lead changes and 11 ties.

“We got a good look, to be honest,” said SGS Head Coach Andreas Kapoulas, referring to their last possession.

“At the end of the day, it was a great day of basketball, Barking played really well, I think both of us played really well and I think it was an exciting game, but in every game there was a loser and a winner and this time around it was Barking’s time.”

“The guys deserve it,” said BA Head Coach Frank Holloway. “They played their best game, they played their hardest, they didn’t give up. I couldn’t be happier with them right now. It’s just a testament to what we do at Barking, being the GB Institute, the amount of hours the guys put in, the individuals, the playing schedules, playing in the UK & the US, they’ve showed they’re champions and today they proved it.”

Dwayne Orija added 13 points and 7 rebounds for BA, Daniel Ogunseye had 12 points and 11 rebounds while coming up huge down the stretch and Joe Lockwood added 10.

It was SGS College’s dynamic duo of Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye and Tamas Okros who led from the front, with Lautier-Ogunleye finishing a rebound short of a triple double with 21 points, 9 rebounds and 10 assists, whilst Okros had 21.

Box score.

Image Credit: Abdul Kassim Photography

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