Archbishop Beck Sports College v Queen Ethelburga’s School

This much anticipated match-up between the top seeded Archbishop Beck, and second seeded Queen Ethelburga took place in Liverpool. Archbishop Beck won the earlier encounter in York by 7 points, without their 6’8 Centre Dante Sofia who went down in the third minute of play with an ankle injury. QE had to win this fixture by more than 7 points in order to finish 1st and have home court advantage in the play-offs. Unfortunately for them they went down big in the first half and couldn’t come back, losing 92-78.

With an undefeated league run on the line, Archbishop Beck turned it on in the opening quarter, jumping out to a dominant 31-16 lead. Largely due to the emergence of James Ward who caught fire, knocking down 5 three pointers and finishing with 17 personal. Elijah Walsh QE’s star player was seeing a lot of defensive attention from Beck and he was kept relatively quiet during the opening period with just 5 points. The second half saw Becks point guard Luke Dalton, step up and make some tough drives to the basket against the much bigger QE defenders, and he scored the first 6 points of the quarter. James Ward continued his dominating first half performance for Beck, dropping a further 9 points on his way to an astonishing 26 personal half time point total.

Once again, Beck focussed on containing Elijah Walsh and did so effectively holding him to only 4 points in the quarter. Coming off a serious nose surgery which required him to wear a mask, Dante Sofia also had a quiet first half where he failed to get on the score sheet. Half-time score Beck 56, QE 34. QE came out in the second half and refused to lie down and took advantage of Becks foul trouble on key players and the teams overall lack of intensity. Phil Deveneys class started to prevail in the 3rd with him fighting through serious foul trouble and managing to drop 13 points in the quarter with some nifty mid-range jump shots. Dante Sofia started to step up also with 6 points in the quarter. Lau for QE stepped up with some nice drives and good shooting and scored 6 quick points supported well by the other starters giving QE 21 points to match Beck for the 3rd quarter.

Going into the 4th saw the game 77-55 in Becks favour, but QE had no intention of making this a blow-out for the hosts. Beck went scoreless for almost four minutes to start the final quarter. QE continued to fight and share the ball, and get scoring from Alexander with 9, and Skelton with 8 to do most of the damage for QE. Elijah Walsh was held to only a single point in the final quarter. They outscored Beck 23-15 in the fourth, with Ward hitting a late three and Howard and Deveney scoring four points to seal victory for the home side.

Top Scorers for Archbishop Beck were James Ward (29), Phil Deveney (29),  Luke Dalton (14), Sofia and Howard (8). Top scorers for QE: Tommy Skelton (22), E.Walsh (14), J. Alexander (13), and B.Lau (10).

Beck finished 10-0 in ABL Northern Conference and will now host ABL 2018 Runners-up Stoke on Trent College at Archbishop Beck on March 13th. QE will travel to undefeated Aston Manor.