EABL 2017-18 Playoff Preview

After a hectic final week of the regular season with multiple postponements due to snow, the final seedings are set as eight teams advance to the post-season.

Check out the preview of the match-ups below:

Barking Abbey (1) v Loreto College (4)

Barking Abbey head into the playoffs after having suffered their first loss in almost two years on Tuesday, but it could light a fire underneath them at exactly the right time.

The defending champions have the deepest squad in the EABL and will look to capitalise by focusing on Loreto’s three main threats in Michael Anumba (16.9ppg, 7.0rpb, 2.5apg, 1.5spg), Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo (13.7pgg, 8.1rpg) and Wesley Oba (11.8ppg, 9.7rpg).

“We’re looking forward to getting into the playoff stages of the EABL,” BA Head Coach Lloyd Gardner commented.

“Obviously, Loreto have a very talented roster. Any team from Manchester is always extrmeely well coached. We know some of their players from NBL Division 1 and they have some of the best players in the competition so we’re looking forward to the challenge of playing a great team and great programme.”

BA have no less than five players who average over double digits, including Ade Adebayo, and junior internationals Caleb Fuller and Micah Savery-Richards, whilst as a team they are amongst the leaders in almost every statistical category.

Myerscough (1) v CoLA (4)

Myerscough claimed the number 1 spot in the West on the final day of the regular season as they defeated Charnwood College to finish with an 11-1 record.

They will match up with the City of London Academy, who finished up 8-6 for the final playoff spot in the West.

Myerscough are the top offensively rated side in the EABL, and have the highest 3-point shooting percentage of all teams in the competition, meanwhile CoLA will look to set the tone at the other end of the floor as the second highest rated defensive team in the EABL.

Myerscough’s Edoardo Del Cadia will provide a handful inside for CoLA; he’s averaging 17.1ppg and 11.8 rpg as one of the big inside players in the competition this season. Meanwhile, the backcourt trio of Konrad Kantorski, Mate Okros and Callan Low will add balance on the perimeter for the North-West based side.

CoLA are led by Patrick Lanipekun, averaging 14.7ppg, along with big man Peter Turay’s 12.9ppg, whilst junior international Louis Norton-Cuffy takes the reigns at the point guard position.

“It was a big statement to win away at Charnwood and over the course of the season I think we deserve to be number 1 in the West,” Myerscough Head Coach Neal Hopins said.

“Home court advantage is a big deal for us and I know that the guys will be excited to match up against COLA, who we met at the same point last year.

“We have established a good rhythm over the last few months and hopefully we can carry this into the playoffs, We recognise the threat CoLA carry, they have been very competitive all year, Patrick Lanipekun and Peter Turay have had stand-out seasons and are players we will be prepared for. We have to stick to what got us to this point, controlling the tempo and flow of the game is key”.

CoLA Head Coach Sterling Muschett added:

“Going to play at Myerscough will be a challenge that the boys will embrace. We have to stay committed to our core principles for the full 40 minutes ensuring that our competitiveness and poise are at the optimum levels.

“Myerscough are deep, experienced, well coached and are surely favourites playing at home. In spurts this season we have shown that when we’re switched on and executing we can unsettle anybody, which is what we aim to do. We will execute our game plan and play with a next play mentality. We are looking forward to this one.

“Regardless of regular season records, the playoffs is a new season with everyone being 0 – 0.”

Canterbury (2) v Derby/Noel Baker (3)

Both Canterbury and Derby head into the post-season with their highest regular season finishes in recent years.

Canterbury finish up with a 9-4 record for the second seed in the East, having been led by Jonathan Brown who has been one of the surprise standouts this year, averaging 18.2ppg, 6.4rpg and 4.4apg and Tunde Oyerinde’s 15.6ppg and 6.8rpg.

“We are very proud to have finished in second in EABL East,” Canterbury Head Coach Jesse Sazant commented. “We’ve dealt with lots of adversity this season and I am really pleased with the way the guys have fought through it.

“The quarterfinal will be extremely tough. Derby are a very well coached team, with good depth. they play hard and Leighton has had a great season and will be a real handful for us. As we’ve stressed all season, focusing on and executing the game plan as well as getting the fundamental things right every time will be the keys for us. We are really looking forward to it.”

Canterbury will be focused on stopping Leighton Elliott-Sewell, who has done it all for Derby this season. The swing man is averaging 19.3ppg, 9.2rpgm 2.0apg, 2.5spg and a block for good measure.

Derby Head Coach Matt Shaw said:

“We are delighted to be in the post season again. To finish third is an improvement on the last two seasons so we have to be happy with that. It will be a real challenge away against Canterbury but something our guys are excited about.

“It looks like we will give up some considerable size to Canterbury, although that’s been a recurring theme for us all year- so its going to be important we rebound as a unit and try to limit their second shot opportunities.

“From looking at Canterbury on video and reviewing their stats, clearly Jonathan Brown is a player we will have to pay close attention to, he seems pretty important to what they do.”

Charnwood (2) v Itchen (3)

Itchen will be riding high heading into the post-season, coming off a huge OT win over Barking Abbey and four-game win streak, meanwhile Charnwood will be hoping to bounce back after losing the West Conference title on the final day of the regular season to Myerscough.

Last year’s runners up, Charnwood, will be hoping to go a step further this year, behind the play of Sesan Russell (18.3ppg, 6.3spg), forwards Morgan Carter and Hosana Kitenge and guards Niall Harris and Joe Bielak.

“All the boys and myself know what we need to do in order to advance in the playoffs,” Charnwood Coach Will Maynard commented. “We’re super excited for this run, there’s no more motivation needed, it’s win or go home.”

Meanwhile, Itchen – as always – have seen balanced team efforts all season long, led by 19.0ppg and 10.6prg from Matt Hughes, 16.5ppg, 5.5rpg, 3.5apg and 2.2spg from Aaron Berida, and 15.7ppg, 9.7rpg from big man Ashley Briggs.

“This is a huge achievement for our guys,” Itchen Head Coach Matt Guymon said.

“We left ourselves with a tough run in but the boys showed fantastic character to secure the 3rd spot.

“With a quick turnaround, we know that Charnwood will be a difficult match up. However, we have won 4 tough games in a row and hopefully we can continue that momentum in the Elite 8.”

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