EABL recap – 1 March

With week 18 now in the books, that means just a single week remains in the 2022/23 EABL regular season.

Myerscough have now sealed the North conference after their win over Manchester and Charnwood’s loss to SGS, but the South conference is still far from decided.

We take a look at all four of yesterday’s games and what they mean for the upcoming playoff picture, with a more detailed explainer of what could happen in the South over the coming days.

The Manchester Magic Academy 57-88 Myerscough College

Myerscough won their first North conference title since 2019/20 following an 88-57 victory over Manchester.

The win plus results elsewhere means the North West side now can’t be caught at the top of the standings, locking themselves in as #1 seeds for the post-season.

Euan Birch top scored for ‘Sco with 17 points, with Ben Brown (13pts) leading the way for Manchester.

Magic can still make the playoffs, finishing the season with a 9-5 record, but that will depend on the outstanding games of fellow post-season hopefuls Derby and SGS.

Myerscough now know their opening playoff opponents, they’ll host South #4 seeds The Canterbury Academy.

SGS College 82-76 Charnwood College Riders

SGS continued their push for a post-season spot by beating title-chasing Charnwood 82-76.

A game-high 27 points from Louie Tucker was enough to get the hosts over the line and end the Riders’ charge for top spot, with Lane Campbell (18pts) the top scorer for Charnwood.

With two games still to go against Sheffield and Derby, the Midlands’ programme look the most likely candidate for second spot, though at present they’re tied with Manchester on 27 points.

There is however still a scenario where second, third, fourth and fifth could all finish on 27 points, leading to quite the tie-breaker to work out!

Copleston High School 60-91 Itchen College

Itchen kept their chances of winning the South conference alive after a commanding 91-60 victory over Copleston.

John Fairbairn (17pts), Flynn Wake and Zak Missouri (16pts) all did their bit for the South coast programme, with Vuyo Bango (17pts) top scoring for the hosts.

We’ll cover what that means for Itchen’s title hopes below!

Barking Abbey 77-58 Oaklands College

Barking also did their bit to make sure the South remained a three-horse race as they beat Oaklands 77-58.

Reigning Player of the Week Nedas Cholevinskas led all scorers with 19 for BA, with Michael Amako adding 13 more.

Lewis Thurlbourne (13pts) couldn’t prevent Oaklands from falling to their tenth loss of the year, ending their campaign with a 2-10 record.

South Conference title race

It’s a complex picture in the South with two games to go, so here’s what each of the three hopefuls need if they’re to win the regular season title.

Remaining games:

Barking Abbey vs John Madejski Academy (08/03/2023)
Itchen College vs Barking Abbey (TBC)

CoLA’s hopes of claiming the title rest on Barking going winless the rest of the way. Any tie that involves BA isn’t good for the Londoners, since BA hold the direct tie-breaker with CoLA and the upper hand in any three-way tie.

Therefor a win for Barking over JMA probably spells curtains for the current leaders, or a loss against JMA and a win against Itchen.

For BA and Itchen, the path is a little harder to navigate.

Barking can win their remaining two games, that’d give them the title. A loss to JMA and a win over Itchen would also work.

Itchen strangely need Barking to beat JMA. The South coast sides’ only route to the title is in a three-way tie as they don’t own the direct head-to-head with CoLA. So a Barking win over JMA then an sizable Itchen win over Barking is what Itchen need.

For clarity, ties between three or more teams are settled by first looking at the head-to-head record between the teams involved. In this case (assuming BA beat JMA and Itchen beat Barking), CoLA, Barking and Itchen would all have a record of 2-2 against each other.

The next tiebreaker is points difference in games between the tied sides. To swing this one in Itchen’s favour, they’ll need to win by 28 points or more. Anything less and BA will take the title.

Still following along? Here’s where we’re at:

  • CoLA are out of the running as soon as Barking pick up one more win, either against JMA or Itchen.
  • Barking can lose a game and still claim the title, either against JMA, or against Itchen (assuming it’s by less than 28 points). Winning both their remaining games will give them the title outright.
  • Itchen need Barking to beat JMA, and will be out of the running if they don’t. Assuming BA beat the Rockets, Itchen then need to beat Barking by 28 or more.

One thing is for certain, it’s going to be an exciting week ahead!

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