Canterbury Academy 87 v 84 Itchen College

The Canterbury Academy Crusaders moved to 2-0 in the EABL with a hard fought 87-84 win over Itchen College on Wednesday.

A strong defensive third quarter, combined with another strong shooting display from Canterbury proved to be the difference in a tough battle.

Canterbury head coach Adam Davies was pleased with how they ground out the win, saying, “This is a huge result for us. We believe we are a playoff team and beating another contender like Itchen is massive. Full credit to Itchen who kept coming back at us every time we pulled away. The game felt like two different halves with both teams finding ways to score, and the second being a defensive grind. Once again I enjoyed the way we played and the toughness we showed.”

Canterbury continued where they left off, with their opening 3 scores of the game being 3 pointers. Robbie Graham and Will Raife hit 2 triples each in the opening quarter, combining for 17 points to give Canterbury a 26-21 lead.

The high scoring continued in the second, with Itchen’s trio of guards, Tyga Forrester, Steve Nwagwu and Hadrian Basilio all hitting double figures before halftime. However, Raife and Chester Morrell would answer with 2 3s apiece in the quarter as they on their way to 15 and 14 first half points respectively. This gave Canterbury a 53-46 lead at the half.

The third quarter saw both tams dig in defensively and disrupt each other’s offence. Itchen repeatedly would cut Canterbury’s lead to single figures, before Canterbury would again extend it to 10 plus. Raife would hit his 5th and 6th triple of the game, while Basilio and Forrester continued to lead the way for Itchen. The teams entered the fourth quarter with Itchen trailing 72-61.

Itchen continued to disrupt Canterbury’s offence, in the fourth and foul trouble started to mount for Crusaders. After key scores from Forrester, Tyrese Hudson scored a series of key baskets for Itchen. But Raife and Morrell were able to answer for Canterbury, giving them an 87-79 lead entering the final minute.

A frantic finish ensued, with Basilio hitting a 3, and then scoring again after a defensive stop for Itchen to cut the lead to 3 with 8 seconds remaining. Another turnover followed as Raife stepped out of bounds giving Itchen the ball with 4 seconds left. Itchen got a clean look but were unable to connect and complete the comeback, with Canterbury holding on for the 87-84 win.

Following on from his player of the week performance in Week 1, Raife again led Canterbury with 28 points. Morrell and Graham joined him in double figures with 19 and 11. Forrester and Basilio led Itchen with 26 and 22 points respectively, while Hudson (12), Nwgawu and Josh Sissons (11 each) all joined them in double figures.

Canterbury now moves to 2-0 and will travel to USP College next week. Itchen falls to 0-2 and have a week off before travelling to JMA on 16th October.

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