EABL recap – 8 March, plus playoff preview

The EABL regular season is over, and not without a fair bit of excitement in the last few weeks!

Myerscough are North conference winners, and for all the permutations and calculators, Barking made the South conference an easy to settle affair by winning their final two games, crowning themselves regular season champs in the process.

Five games filled the past week, with a game on Monday, one on Tuesday and three yesterday to round out the season.

The outstanding game between SGS College and BMET couldn’t be played before yesterday’s regular season deadline, and has now been marked as void.

Monday – Derby College Trailblazers 89-72 Charnwood College Riders

Derby started the week with an important win over Charnwood, beating their local rivals 89-72.

Chris Yapo led all scorers for the hosts with 28 points, with Joe Webster chipping in 26 more.

Lane Campbell was the standout for Charnwood, he finished on 24 points.

The victory put the Trailblazers in with a shout of a top three finish, depending on results elsewhere, and left the Riders sweating on their potential for holding onto second spot.

Tuesday – Itchen College 66-77 Barking Abbey

In the big showdown for the title in the South, Barking Abbey took care of business as they handled Itchen 77-66.

In a tight encounter, Ignas Juskevicius led the way for BA on 17 points, with Nedas Cholevinskas (11pts) and Brennan Geoghegan (9pts) also doing their bit.

Josh Smith-White top scored for Itchen on 18 points, and the loss ended the South coast programmes’ ability to claim top spot, handing the title to Barking in the process.

Speaking about claiming the regular season title, Barking head coach James Vear said: “It’s a great achievement winning the South conference title, a lot of credit must go to our players who have done a really good job of being focused and winning some tough games against some very good teams. 

“We are excited to get the top seed in the South which gives us home court advantage going into the playoffs.”

Barking Abbey 71-67 John Madejski Academy

In what was a dead rubber yesterday, Barking still ended their season on high with a 71-67 W over JMA.

Rotating their roster allowed BA to showcase the talents of Ethan Conway (20pts), Melchi Egbeyemi (15pts) and Brennan Geoghegan (10pts), who all gave a good account of themselves.

Ashley Kitchen finished a solid campaign for JMA with a team-high 15 point outing, the Berkshire programme close the season with a 4-8 record.

Myerscough College 70-61 BMET

Likewise, Myerscough also head into the post season on a positive note after a 70-61 victory over BMET.

The win was ‘Sco’s twelfth of the season, closing on 36 points after quality outings from Euan Birch (16pts) and Peter Asante (15pts).

Miles Moore (27pts) was BMET’s standout, but he couldn’t stop the West Midlands side from slipping to 2-11 for the year.

The Sheffield College 66-77 Charnwood College Riders

The season came to a close with Charnwood finally securing the North’s #2 seed following a 77-66 success against Sheffield.

The South Yorkshire side ran the Riders close, with 20 points from Jermaine Wilson-Trae and 19 more from former Player of the Week Jason Holder.

Caiden Ross’ 23 points led the way for Charnwood, with Edward Oniya chipping in 16 more.

Playoff Preview

The playoff field is now complete, with the four Elite Eight ties set to get underway this coming Wednesday.

Last season’s beaten finalists Myerscough will try to use their #1 seed in the North to go one better this year. They’ll start their playoff journey against The Canterbury Academy, who have made the playoffs for the first time since 2019/20.

South champs Barking Abbey have a home tie with North #4 seeds Derby, with Barking looking to claim their first solo title since 2017/18 (BA were joint winners with Myerscough in the 2019/20 COVID-affected season).

The Manchester Magic Academy are on the road to South runners up City of London Academy – Southwark, with the winner getting to take a shot at either Myerscough or Canterbury.

Defending champs Charnwood still have the ability to repeat their success of a year ago, but first they’ll have to navigate a challenge from South #3 seeds Itchen College.

All four of the games will take place on Wednesday 15 March 2023, with the eventual EABL final taking place on Wednesday 29 March 2023 at Manchester’s National Basketball Performance Centre.

Tickets to attend the final are free, but still need to be purchased for capacity reasons.

To secure your ticket, please head to the Basketball England shop by clicking here.

Main image credit – Luke Simcock

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