EABL Week 20 Round Up

Week 20 signalled the end of the EABL regular season and congratulations go to both Charnwood College and Barking Abbey as the winners of the North and South Conferences respectively! There was still plenty of room for excitement as playoff seedings were secured, so let’s take a look at how the season wrapped.

Southern Conference

One of the few outstanding matters to be settled on in the Southern Conference revolved around the battle for the #2 seed behind Barking. Itchen were in the box seats as the side in 2nd place coming into the week and did what they needed to do on Wednesday, defeating Oaklands College 87-59. An even game after the 1st, Matt Hughes and Peter Turay turned it on for the visitors and helped their side to a 48-27 lead by the half. Hughes would eventually score a game high 22, with Turay adding 14 more. Itchen’s young star Jeremy Sochan enjoyed an impress 10 offensive boards in the contest and despite an improved effort from the Wolves in the 2nd half they couldn’t find a way back.

Keeping pace with Itchen were John Madejski Academy as they travelled south to City of London Academy, claiming an 80-68 win to set up a final game show down with Itchen for that 2nd spot. By taking care of business on their end, JMA were just a single win off Itchen and held a 6-point advantage in the head-to-head thanks to their 84-78 win between the sides back in September.

The tiebreaker would prove irrelevant however 24 hours later as Itchen were too strong for the Berkshire programme, enjoying an 81-71 win to secure 2nd spot. Sochan was once again impressive as he finished with 26 points, whilst Matt Hughes continued his good form to add 17 more.

Canterbury’s quest to finish in the conference’s top three was dealt a killer blow after their recent 2-point loss to JMA, but the Kent side finished their regular-season with a momentum boosting 113-35 win over BHASVIC. Already assured of the #4 seed, 22 points for Milo Gordon and Will Raife were more than enough for the visitors as they enjoyed the best of a lopsided score.

After losing just once in the regular season, it was no surprise that leaders Barking Abbey finished their campaign with another victory. Their unfortunate opponents were SEEVIC on this occasion, who were outmatched during the 99-56 contest. Leading 26-13 after the opening frame, the hosts never looked back from there and padded their lead thanks to 26 points from Chris Feeney.

A 2-point OT loss against Itchen to end February left Copleston on the outside of the playoffs wondering what might have been, but they are least enjoyed a winning end to the season after knocking off Alec Reed Academy 97-91. The visitors started out red-hot from deep, hitting five triples on the way to a 29-19 1st quarter lead and carried an advantage through to the half. From there, Copleston guard Jacob Morgan took over, hitting four shots from beyond the arc as he scored 18 points in the 3rd quarter alone. Morgan finished with 31-points and helped his side hang on for a narrow win.

There is just 1 game now remaining in the EABL as the bottom two sides, BHASVIC and SEEVIC meet next week. With no impact on the playoff picture, BHASVIC will be hoping home court advantage can help them to a first win of the season, which SEEVIC’s only win of the year came against this same opponent.

Northern Conference

With the conference’s top 2 spots both confirmed ahead of Week 20, all eyes in the North were on the match up between James Watt College and Derby Trailblazers Academy. The Midlands side were facing an uphill task to snatch the #3 seed from Derby, trailing the head-to-head tiebreaker by 19 points entering play, but Derby made all that irrelevant with an 81-76 road win. An even and sometimes nervy affair during the game’s first three quarters, Derby found their rhythm when it mattered most. Taking the final frame 28-19 provided an adequate cushion in what was otherwise a close game, Tyler Mutesamango hit four triples down the stretch to secure the W. Mutesamango finished with a team high 20 points, with former EABL Player of the Week Wakeem Richardson top scoring for the hosts with 24.

#2 seed Myerscough pulled out the stops to beat Manchester 79-52, establishing a modest three game winning streak in the process. With the playoffs looming, that run will no doubt provide the North-West side with plenty of confidence as they look to make a deep run to post-season success.

Finally, Newcastle Eagles Academy enjoyed a 97-76 home win against Sheffield College to finish their campaign on the up. Intense defence was the order of the day as the hosts won their first game in three attempts at the newly opened Eagles Community Arena. Their offensive performance was fitting of such an elite facility, with Jeremy Lievin and Tosan Evboumwan both helping themselves to 22 points. JJ Wright top scored for Sheffield with 20.

Playoffs

With the regular season now concluded, the EABL’s “Elite 8’s” can now begin, with the top four sides from the South matching up with the top four in the North.

We’ll have a complete preview of the post season next week, but the schedule for the playoff openers is as follows:

(#1 South) Barking Abbey School v James Watt College (#4 North)
(#2 South) Itchen College v Derby Trailblazers Academy (#3 North)
(#1 North) Charnwood College v Canterbury High School (#4 South)
(#2 North) Myerscough College v John Madejski Academy (#3 South)

You must be logged in to post a comment Login