Canterbury Academy 66 – 72 John Madejski Academy

JMA used a dominant third quarter to defeat Canterbury 72-66 in EABL action on Wednesday.

Trailing by six at the half, JMA went on a 17-0 run to open the third quarter and never relinquished the lead from that point on.

JMA Coach Alan Keane was pleased to come away with the win, saying: “Canterbury is always a very tough place to go and that was personified in the first half. I must give a lot of credit to the work the coaches and players have put in to develop the best shooting team we have faced in the EABL this season. Defensively we finally got going in the second half with better connection and coverages for a hard earned win.”

The first half had been a back and forth affair with multiple lead changes. JMA were led early on by Asher Ndah, who scored 13 points in the opening quarter, including three 3 pointers. This propelled them to a 20-15 lead at the end of the first.

Canterbury quickly levelled the scores as Chester Morrell matched Ndah’s feat with 13 points of his own in the second quarter. After the lead changed hands over and over, Will Raife connected on back-to-back three pointers to close the half and give Canterbury a 44-38 halftime lead.

Coming out of half time, Ross Stepney asserted himself, notching 12 of JMA’s points during the game deciding 17-0 run. Canterbury cut the lead to six but five straight points from David Chive helped propel JMA to a 61-49 lead entering the fourth.

Canterbury made multiple mini runs to close the gap gradually, but JMA continually answered. Two key threes from Michael Perez halted Canterbury’s momentum, with the final deficit of six being as close as they got.

Adam Davies summed up the highs and lows, saying: “Talk about a game of two halves. We were on such a high in the second quarter with everything dropping in, we went into the changing rooms at half time with so much confidence. Then we couldn’t hit a thing in the third, we were still getting the looks we wanted but someone put a lid on the basket. Once again we executed our defensive game plan perfectly and the guys never gave up which shows the great characters we have. The 4th spot is now out of our hands and we wait to see what happens in other games.”

JMA were led by Stepney with 18, Chive 15 and Ndah’s 13, all from the opening quarter. Morrell finished with 19 for Canterbury while Raife scored 17.

JMA are now 13-2, with one final game remaining against undefeated Barking Abbey. Canterbury fall to 9-7 and now need to wait for tomorrow’s game between Itchen and Barking Abbey to decide their playoff fate.

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