John Madejski Academy vs Barking Abbey

Barking Abbey (11-0) were made to work hard to keep their unbeaten run in tact on Wednesday afternoon by JMA (7-5) but the East Conference league leaders took the 69-76 win behind Theo Hughes’ 25 points to make it 11 wins in a row.

JMA Head Coach Alan Keane was pleased with his team’s performance against Barking but felt there may have been a missed opportunity to upset the odds today. He said:

“It was a really competitive game against one of the top teams in the EABL and it gave us an opportunity to benchmark ourselves and see where we are in terms of competing against one of the best in the country.

“We were really pleased with our competitiveness and our ability to compete at that level and indeed have a chance down the stretch to win the game but a couple of mistakes in key moments really cost us and meant we could quite pull off the win we were eager for.

“As always we will review, reflect and be better but then the focus moves on to our next game against Itchen which is huge for both teams in terms of the race for the play-offs and we really can’t wait for that next challenge after half term.”

The game started heavily in Barking’s favour as they came out of the blocks the better team with a number of runs leading to a 25-8 advantage after the first nine minutes but JMA pegged their visitors back in the final minute with an 8-0 run to finish the quarter behind by nine points at 25-16 in favour of the away team.

The home team duly responded to their deficit and opened the second quarter with a 14-2 run of their own to lead for the first time in the game by 30 points to 27. Barking then responded after a time out by Head Coach Lloyd Gardner with a 15-3 run of their own to restore their nine point advantage at 42-33, but four free throws by the home team in the final two minutes of the half ensured a close game at the break with the score 42-37 in favour of the visitors.

JMA came out of the half time interval in blistering fashion as they knocked down four three pointers in consecutive possessions with a 12-2 run giving the hosts their biggest lead of the game at five, 49-44.

However, Barking are unbeaten for a reason and a huge 15-0 run took them from five down to ten up with two minutes to play in the quarter. JMA were not done though and once again finished the quarter strong with a 7-0 run of their own as they closed the arrears to just three points 56-59.

Both teams struggled to score in the opening exchanges of the final period and the game remained at three points heading into the final two and a half minutes with either team looking as though they could take the win.

A 6-0 run by the away team gave them a nice point advantage in the final minute of the game which turned out to be enough as Barking captured their eleventh win of the campaign, closing out the game as 69-76 winners.

Supporting Theo Hughes for Barking was Caleb Fuller with 15 points and Micah Savery-Richards and Andre Lavinier with 7-a-piece.

For JMA, Adrian Nosa Castillo once again led with 22 points personal with David Obediah scoring 14 and Asher Ndah 11.

JMA travel to Itchen College after the half term break on Wednesday 21st February whilst Barking Abbey host the City of London Academy the following day.

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