John Madejski Academy vs Itchen College

Itchen College survived a fourth quarter comeback from John Madejski Academy to pick up a big 84-81 away win in Reading on Thursday afternoon.

Itchen captain Adam Riabi led his team and all scorers in the game with 24 points personal as the visitors overcame a spirited fight from their hosts.

JMA Head Coach Pedro Garcia Rosado was disappointed to see his team lose in a hard fought battle but was encouraged by their fourth quarter fightback and paid credit to Itchen as they came away victorious.

The Spaniard said:

“This was a really difficult game for us because we were not able to match Itchen in parts of the game and that is something we need to look at and address quickly.

“However, we did eventually show some great fight in the fourth quarter only to fall just short against a quality opposition. Our decision making was not where it needed to be and Itchen came as prepared as ever to combat what we were doing and that is something we must look at and reflect on.

“Credit to them for winning the game but for us it’s key to learn from this and be encouraged by the positive things we showed and take this into our final three games.”

Itchen started the game in good fashion with a 12-3 run in the opening five minutes but JMA managed to finish the quarter a little stronger and closed the deficit to just five, 20-15. Itchen’s Adam Riabi scored 10 of his 24 points in the opening stanza which provided concern for the home team who looked to stem the flow heading into the second quarter.

The first six minutes was a tight affair as JMA trimmed Itchen’s lead to four, 28-24 with four minutes of the first half remaining. But it was the away side that went into the locker room with the momentum as a 10-4 run to finish the half gave them a 38-28 lead at the break.

The third quarter remained nip and tuck as both teams tried to seize some control for their team and it was Itchen who once again took that opportunity as they finished the third quarter ahead by 19 points and looking in control leading 66-47 heading into the final ten minutes of play.

But JMA were not yet done, and despite finding themselves behind a big deficit they fought to get themselves back in the game largely thanks to Ibu Jassey Demba and Levi Pither’s tenacious play.

The home team managed to get the game to within two in the final minute at 82-80 but Rael Williams, after hitting a huge three point shot before, was ice from the line and closed the game out 84-81 after a really hard fought battle between both teams.

And it was Rael Williams himself who helped Adam Riabi and his Itchen team as he scored 17 points for the visitors, with Roman Farion scoring 16 points, all in the second half.

For JMA, Ali Sbai led them with 17 points with Ibu Jassey Demba scoring 16 and Levi Pither 13 in the three point defeat.

John Madejski Academy (6-5) will be back in action after half term on Wednesday 22nd February when they travel to Oaklands College, while Itchen College (7-4) will wait until Wednesday 1st March when JMA travel to the south for the reverse fixture.

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