Archbishop Beck College vs Stoke On Trent College

The #1 seed from the Northern Conference, Archbishop Beck faced Central #2 Stoke on Trent at Archbishop Beck College in Liverpool on Wednesday afternoon. With a crowd of around 200 pupils it was a very exciting affair that went right down to the wire, with Stoke holding on to a 78-71 Victory.

The first quarter saw Stoke playing their 2-1-2 and 2-3 zone for the majority of the time. Beck moved the ball well despite playing slightly apprehensively, but they soon settled down and poured in 24 points with a very balanced offensive output led by Phil Deveney with 6, and Ward and Dalton with 5. Stoke came out shooting extremely well, with Mike Jara connecting on two threes and Bayley Gaunt also connecting from the outside. Jara finished with 9 points in the quarter and Stoke led 25-24 after one.

The second quarter saw a very even match up with both teams playing solid defence and holding each other to 17 points each. For Stoke, Jara was held to only two points while the rest of the team chipped in to keep the scoring level. Beck also had a balanced attack in the second with Deveney leading the way with 5. Half-time score, 42-41 Stoke.

In the second half, Archbishop Beck started slowly committing several early turnovers. Stoke on the other hand, set up some nice plays to get open looks against Becks 2-3 zone, with Jara converting on 3 threes, giving him 11 points for the quarter. Stoke outscored Beck 25-13 in the 3rd with good offence and some tough zone defence were they kept Deveney quiet with only 4 points, and forced Becks’ less confident shooters to take open looks from 3. Beck also struggled with foul trouble with Dante Sofia and Arron Howard on 4 fouls each. Going into the final quarter Stoke led 67-54.

The last quarter was a great battle. The home crowd was extremely loud and behind the home team who managed to fight back and cut the lead to 4 with only 2 minutes left to play after a huge 3 from Deveney and some clutch jump shots by Jacob Graham. Two starters, Howard and Ward both had fouled out with 7 and 5 mins to go respectively. To add to the drama, Deveney came down hard twisting his ankle after a defensive rebound and was in agony on the floor screaming. With his teammates thinking his chances were over without their star player, Deveney found the desire to play on one leg for the last 90 seconds.

Beck held Stoke to only 11 points in the 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 which could have cut the lead to a single point. Stoke scored 3 of their last five points from the line and held on to win this exciting game 78-71. Stoke on Trent College will move on to the semi-finals next week where they will play Haringey Sixth Form College.

Top scorers Beck: Deveney 22, Graham 15, Ward 11, Sofia & Dalton 8. Stoke: Jara 24, Gaunt 15 & Tew 12