Itchen College vs Barking Abbey School

Itchen College narrowly lost out 81-85 to Barking Abbey School at home on Wednesday afternoon, a win which sees the reigning national champions continue their unbeaten run, now 4-0 in the Southern Conference.

The visitors would jump out of the blocks to a 0-8 lead, after quick scores from Ade Adebayo and Jonathon Brown, before Itchen were able to settle down going on a 7-0 run of their own. Barking would take a single point advantage into the first quarter break.

Itchen took the lead for large parts of the second period as Matt Hughes and Peter Turay were able to convert inside the paint. A late flurry of three-pointers from Itchen’s Kieran Allan saw the home side up 40-36 in the final minute, but a late Barking run would tie the game 40-40 going into the half.

Barking came out the aggressors in the third, holding Itchen to 13 points by switching up their defence and increasing pressure which would force a number of turnovers and easy scores for the visitors. Barking went into the final quarter full of confidence, now leading by 13.

The hosts showed resilience in the final stanza, where they were able to chip away at the lead. Peter Turay would score 11 of his 21 points in the period, giving Itchen a number of crucial scores. With four minutes remaining and Barking leading by eight, Jeremy Sochan would cut the lead to six, followed by a Rhys Sundimalt free-throw and triple which trimmed the deficit to just two points, with Itchen down 78-80.

Ade Adebayo would sink two free throws, before Jeremy Sochan rebounded his own miss for a crucial put-back; making the score 82-80 going into the final minute. Two miscues at the foul line from Jonathan Brown would result in Jeremy Sochan being fouled on the rebound where he would go to the line to tie the game. Sochan split his free throws to see Itchen remain down by one, 81-82, as the hosts were be forced to foul and put Robin Bedford at the line. Bedford also went one-for-two at the stripe as Barking held an 81-83 lead. Itchen would rebound Bedford’s miss, before Matt Hughes had a look at a triple which would not connect. Itchen had to foul for the final time, as Chris Feeney went to the line to ice the game to give Barking a 81-85 win.

Itchen Coach Matt Guymon said, “I’m proud of how our guys who battled against a talented and well-coached Barking team. Although we got into a double-digit hole in the third, we showed a lot of toughness to get ourselves back into the game with a chance to take the lead down the stretch. We need to learn from this and get back to work as we have some very important games coming up.”

The Barking win was paced by Nathaniel Powell’s 16 points, as Ade Adebayo and Jonathan Brown had 12 apiece. Itchen were led by 22 points from Jeremy Sochan, while Peter Turay added 21 and Matt Hughes chipped in 11.

Itchen will host the undefeated Alec Reed Academy next week, while Barking Abbey welcome BHASVIC.

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