EABL recap – 22 February

After a somewhat abridged week last time out due to half term, with only a few games taking place, the EABL roared back into action yesterday with five more ties.

We take a look at all of them, and what the results mean as the race for the post-season hots up.

The Manchester Magic Academy 87-48 Newcastle Eagles Academy

Manchester sealed their ninth win of the season thanks to a comfortable 87-48 win over Newcastle.

Joe Buchanan shone for the hosts with 24 points, as Matt Goodwin (17pts) and Ben Brown (15pts) both played well in support.

Josh Osarenkhoe top scored with 13 points in Newcastle’s final game of the season, bringing a close to their 1-13 campaign.

Manchester kept alive their hopes of a playoff spot, though the three-way battle between Magic, Derby and SGS for the last two places remains a tight one.

Derby Trailblazers Academy 89-80 The Sheffield College

Derby also picked up a valuable victory after seeing off The Sheffield College 89-80.

In the narrow win, Joe Webster’s 26 points were a game-high for the hosts, with Chris Yapo adding 20 more.

Jermaine Wilson-Tra did his best to get Sheffield over the line, dropping a team-high 25 points, but it wouldn’t be enough to prevent the South Yorkshire programme’s ninth loss of the seasons.

Itchen College 96-52 Copleston High School

Itchen remained firmly in the South division title-race as they beat bottom side Copleston 96-52.

Tyler Fairbairn (18pts), Flynn Wake (14pts) and Lucas Scotland (11pts) all player their part in the comfortable win, with Josh Sowoolu (13pts) leading the way for Copleston.

The outstanding game between Itchen and Barking will understandably play a major role in determining where the regular season title ends up, though it’s still a complicated picture.

Current leaders CoLA will be hoping for an Itchen win in the Barking/Itchen contest, since the London side own the tie-breaker against the South coast programme.

That isn’t the case against Barking, who won away at CoLA by six and lost at home by only two, meaning they’d take a potential tiebreaker with CoLA.

If both Itchen and Barking drop points between now and the end of the season (since both teams have an extra game to play as well as playing each other) CoLA would win the South conference and lock up the #1 seed.

John Madejski Academy 64-70 City of London Academy – Southwark

CoLA took care of business as they closed their regular season with a 70-64 victory over JMA.

Max Coupe was once again a standout for the London programme, finishing with 20 points, as Ben Csernak (17pts) and Di-Jani Parkinson (16pts) both did well.

The Rockets needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive but defeat now eliminates them from the post season, a win in their final regular season game can only draw them level with fourth-place Canterbury, who own the head-to-head between the two.

CoLA ensured they’d at worst finish in a tie for the #1 seed, though as mentioned above, depending who they share it with will determine on if they’ll be able to retain top spot once the regular season is over.

Oaklands College 66-78 Barking Abbey

Barking ensured that the South conference will remain a three-horse race a little longer as they beat Oaklands College 78-66.

Spencer Matthews scored 19 points for the hosts but it wouldn’t be enough to counter a stunning 31 points from Barking’s Nedas Cholevinskas, who had more than enough in his locker to make sure BA came out on top.

Last season’s conference winners Oaklands finished their season with a 3-9 record and will no doubt be hoping for an upturn in 2023/24.

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