Myerscough College vs Loreto College

Over time was the difference between the top two teams in the North as we were treated to an exceptional display of basketball by some of the best junior players in the North West.

In what was the final game of the regular season, Myerscough welcomed Loreto College for Wednesday’s EABL North Sea clash, but it was Loreto who came out on top, 77-71, after a overtime.

Myerscough, a programme only 8 months old had lost the previously league fixture between the two teams by 25 in what was their first ever competitive basketball game. Since then Myerscough had gone undefeated in the league and held the no.1 spot in the North with Loreto sitting in 2nd place.

Tensions were high during the build-up and it was clear that both sides were focused ahead of a crunch game. Montel Dennis opened the scoring for the home side, finishing from close range. Loreto took 3 minutes to find the bottom of the net after strong defence from Myerscough. A 6 point run from Myerscough sparked a time out from the visitors with the score at 8 – 2 after 5 minutes. Loreto settled into the game but continued to struggle from the field. As time wound down on a low scoring and nervy quarter Loreto forced a steal to finish the period at the free throw line, splitting the pair to give the visitors a 1 point lead after the first 11 – 12.

Into the second and with Andre Gayle and Trevor Samuel picking up early fouls, Myercough rotated early but began to find rhythm. Chris Bwana controlled the floor well for the home side and was able to attack the basket finishing well through contact. A 5 point burst from Loreto led by a Raheem Idriss lay-up saw them open up a 6 point lead after 8 minutes of the quarter, Myercough replied with a 6 point run of their own sparked by a Montel Dennis up and under move. Chris Bwana who had been a danger throughout finished out the half knocking down two from the line to leave the score at 30 – 28 to Myerscough.

Loreto started the third well as Joe Swindells knocked down back to back jumpers, Andre Gayle replied with a triple seeing Loreto hold a 1 point lead after 3minutes – both teams battled throughout the period with neither team able to punch out a lead, it was clear that the game was going to go the distance as the quarter wound down. Emmanuel Kabengele finished off the 3rd with an offensive rebound and put back to give Myerscough a 1 point lead heading into the 4th. 47 – 46

A 7 – 3 run gave Myerscough a slim 3 point lead to start the 4th, this was cancelled out by a Kingsley Nwagboso inspired 6 point run from Loreto. Time wound down and neither team could gain the edge, Nwagboso and Emmanuel Kabengele battled down low as both players looked to inspire their team to a regulation victory. With one minute left Myescough converted to hold a 1 point lead only for Pharroh Gordon who had been instrumental all game for the visitors to get to the ring, finish and draw the foul for a three point play, with the free throw converted and 45 seconds left Myerscough found themselves down 2. A well-executed play saw Trevor Samuel draw the scores level with 28 seconds remaining. Loreto pushed for a score but failed to get their shot off in time as the shot clock wound down – with 4 seconds left Myerscough saw their final play well defended and with the buzzer sounding overtime was needed. The score at the end of regulation 66 – 66

Predictably OT started nervously and it took two minutes for the first bucket, Loreto netting off a second effort put back. With both teams visibly tired it was obvious the game would be determined by a momentary lapse in concentration and as Kingsley Nwagboso kept plays alive for Loreto on his way to a 20 point 20 rebound game Myerscough failed to make their efforts on defence count, Emmanuel Kabengele gave hope to Myerscough with a strong finish under the ring, Kabengele also finished the game with a 20 and 20 double double. The score 70 – 68 to Loreto after 3 and half minutes. A Joe Swindells triple extended Loreto out to 73 – 68 lead with 1 minute to play, not to be counted out Andre Gayle replied with a three of his own, as time wound down and with Myerscough chasing Loreto sealed what had been a thrilling battle between two outstanding teams with back to back layups. The game finishing 77 – 71 to Loreto.

Emmanuel Kabengele with 20 points and 20 boards for the home side, Montel Dennis added 18 and 6, Andre Gayle went 4/6 from deep to collect 12 points and Chris Bwana hit 10.

Kingsley Nwagboso had 20 and 20 for Loreto, Joe Swindells with 21 as Pharroh Gordon dropped 17 points.

On the game Coach Neal Hopkins said:

“It was a great advert for the EABL and the talent we have here in the Northwest, hats off to Loreto for getting that win but more than anything I am totally proud of the work everyone here at Myerscough is putting in. The developments we have made from game one are truly fantastic, this time 8 months ago we hadn’t even bounced a ball.”

Loreto will now face Gateway College in the opening round of the post-season, whilst Myerscough will match up with Derby College/Noel Baker School.

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