Canterbury Academy 88 v 69 City of London Academy

The Canterbury Academy Crusaders opened the EABL season with a scrappy 88-69 win against City of London Academy.

A combination of 20 second half points from Will Raife and Canterbury connecting on 15 three pointers proved to be the difference, allowing Canterbury to pull away for the victory.

Canterbury Head Coach Adam Davies was pleased with how the season started saying: “With 10 practices under our belt and a couple of friendlies we were prepared but didn’t really know what to expect. We just wanted to set our identity and build on what we have put in place. Players are beginning to understand the style of play we need to adopt being undersized and the standards we have in defence. Looking forward to review the game and get 4 more practices under our belt before our next step on our journey next week.”

After a slow start form both teams, a couple of 3 pointer baskets from Stiliyan Shterev, sandwiched around a 3 from Raife allowed Crusaders to pull out to a 21-13 lead at the end of the first. The second quarter saw more of the same, with 4 more players connecting from range, including a pair from Robbie Graham, allowing Canterbury to stretch the lead to 40-30 at the half.

After Canterbury moved ahead further early in the third, CoLA started to get back in the game as Andre Parker began to impose himself inside while Tyreese Garrod and Kavell Hawes took aim from the perimeter. CoLA closed the gap to as few as 6 points but Raife and Graham kept scoring key baskets to maintain the lead, with the duo combining for 21 points in the quarter.

The fourth quarter saw Canterbury gradually stretch the lead as Raife continued to score freely, supported by Xander Vaughan and Chester Morrell. Both players hit a pair of triples in the quarter, propelling the hosts to the 19-point win.

Raife, who was the game’s leading scorer with 28 points, had this to say after the game: “The game started out tough, however when we got into the game and started to run in transition and get our shooters open by moving the ball well we started to gain a lead. Our bench gave us great energy on defence and offence and we look forward to next week at Oaklands.”

Joining Raife in double figures for Canterbury was Graham with 17 and Morrell and Vaughan with 13 each. Parker led CoLA with 20 points, while Garrod had 15 and Oscar Leigh-Hales closed on 13.

Garrod summed up the game saying, “Credit to Canterbury for the win today, they definitely deserved it, they played hard and shot the ball really well. We have had a good preseason as our team bonds but it’s going to take us some time to gel and we need to figure some things out defensively. However I liked our character today and was pleased with how we dealt with the disappointment.”

Canterbury will travel to Oaklands next week in week 2 action while CoLA have a week off before facing JMA in a fortnight.

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