Harris Academy Beckenham vs Charnwood College

Charnwood College booked their place in the Final Four of the Elite Academy Basketball League (EABL) with a 81-78 victory in overtime against defending champions Harris Academy Beckenham in London on Wednesday.

The game was as competitive as they come, both teams battling it out to keep their EABL season’s alive. Harris’s Hafeez Abdul hit a tough contested three to force overtime with 3 seconds remaining, but in OT Charnwood used aggressive penetration to get to the line and seal the victory.

Charnwood continued their team orientated scoring which was again very shared, with five players in double digits, led by Josh McSwiggan (18), Jamie Percival (17), Timothy Fava (13), Billy Fox (12) and Emanuel Burton (10). Thomas Yome made a great impact off the bench with 8.

Coach Jarram was pleased to pick up the second consecutive overtime victory of the EABL Playoffs.

“I’m so proud of these guys,” he said. “They kept their composure down the stretch, listened really well and executed tremendously. What they achieved is not a case of stringing together a couple great performances, it’s about what they have committed to doing and worked on all year, everyday.

“It isn’t easy to win on the road, after a long journey at this stage in the competition. Harris were great, we managed to make some plays down the stretch to put ourselves in a good position and in overtime got the job done. I’m most proud that they just never gave in, kept believing and kept battling the full 45 minutes.“

The first half was a low scoring affair, Charnwood struggled to find their rhythm early whilst Harris set the pace finishing the first quarter with a 19-13 lead.

It was the second quarter that Charnwood came alive, sparked by Jamie Percival who went on 8 point scoring spree, backed up by team mate Josh McSwiggan as both teams went into the locker room at the break with the score 31-29 to Harris.

In the second half, Harris took control early and that continued into the fourth. Midway through the fourth quarter Harris looked to be taking this one as they extending their lead out to 12 points, 62-50. But then Charnwood responded and the comeback was on. Some great defensive rebounding, led to Charnwood being able to get their transition game going and a quick 11-2 run for Charnwood had the defending champions on the ropes. Harris responded with a big three from Shaquille Salmon-Freeman, but Charnwood were not done. Scores tied with one minute remaining, Charnwood took the lead for the first time in the game behind a clutch three from Billy Fox. Harris had possession with 14 seconds remaining down three, 70-67.

Out of the timeout, up stepped Harris Academy’s Hafeez Abdul to hit the tough contested three and tie the game up 70-70 with 3 seconds remaining. Good defence from Harris didn’t allow Charnwood to get a last shot off and the teams were set for another 5 minutes of basketball, heading into overtime all level on 70.

In overtime, Harris struck first, but Charnwood managed to ice out the game with some aggressive penetration which led to them sealing the deal from the free throw line. Charnwood managed to get the upset victory and take down the defending champions, 78-81.

For Harris, the two top performers were Kavell Bigby-Williams and Shaquille Salmon-Freeman who both poured in 18 points each, backed up by Hafeez Abdul with 16 points.

Charnwood now continue to the Final Four in University of London to take on Barking Abbey in the Semi-Final of the U19s competition on Friday 9th May.

“We are excited to be in the final four and we’ll be looking to continue this run versus a top team like Barking Abbey. They are a very talented team and we will be looking to continue to do the things that helped get us there. I can’t tell you how proud I am of this group making it to this stage.”

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