PREVIEW: Semi-Finals get underway as the playoff journey continues!

The first round of the Academy League Playoffs saw some exciting basketball action, with teams competing hard for a chance to take their team to the Final. With the Quarter-Finals completed, the ABL Semi-Finals are set to get underway this week, as the top 4 teams will go head-to-head on Wednesday. Lets take a look at the teams that have made it this far and who they’re up against!

 

Game 1: Stoke On Trent College vs Haringey Sixth Form College

Stoke on Trent College advance into the ABL Semi-Finals to face Haringey Sixth Form College after a 78-71 victory last week over Archbishop Beck College. The game came down to the wire in what was an exciting contest in front of a packed crowd. Beck held Stoke to only 11 points in the 4th quarter and ran their press well, forcing Stoke into some costly errors. However it wasn’t enough, as Stoke managed to hold on in the remaining minute after a crucial Beck turnover. Stoke were led by Mike Jara’s 24 points and will no doubt look for him for more of the same.

Haringey enter the game off the back of a comfortable win against Raines Foundation School, defeating their London neighbours 82-69. The second half was a good battle with both teams competing hard but Haringey were the ones able to pull away in what was an entertaining game. NBL Under 18 National Cup Final MVP Franklin Agu led the way for coach Franck Batimba’s side with a huge double-double of 24 points and 17 rebounds, whilst Ndewedo Newbury added 21 points of his won. The duo will need to keep up the impressive play as Haringey’s playoff journey continues on Wednesday.

 

Game 2: Aston Manor Academy v St.Charles College

Aston Manor continued their march towards an ABL Final appearance with an 89-78 defeat of Queen Ethleburga’s College on Wednesday afternoon. Zack Powell was the star man with a stat stuffing performance of 26 points, 10 assist, 7 rebounds and 4 steals, whilst Omari Smith also added 20 points. Leading 45-32 at the half time buzzer, Aston Manor then showed their depth with a solid overall team performance to close out the game. The Birmingham-based academy are still undefeated for the season, and will look to continue that streak a little longer.

St.Charles secured their place in the Semi-Finals with a win over COHENEL last week. The third quarter was a closely contested game, with the score ending 19-18 in favour of St.Charles. Both teams went on runs that involved connecting from deep, with St.Charles making some heavily contested shots which gave them the momentum they needed to carry on for the victory. Regular stand-out Abiodun Adedo led St.Charles with 26 points whilst teammate Taariq Powell added 25 more. Both players will be key if they’re to help their side reach the ABL Final.