Aston Manor Academy 59 – 56 Stoke-on-Trent College

In the battle of the West Midlands, Aston Manor Academy came away with a close 59-56 win over Stoke on Trent College behind Diogo Mendes’ 19 points.

The game definitely lived up to its billing as both sides went at it in a tight first quarter to try and get an early lead. Ring and Mendes did all the all the scoring for Aston Manor in the first stanza but Stoke showed their depth with 5 different scorers and went into the second quarter with a  10-11 lead.

The second quarter belonged to Aston though as Akol Ring scored 9 of his 18 points to stretch the home sides lead to 43-17 at the half.

The third quarter again was very tight with both teams trading baskets but heading into the fourth and being 17 points down, Bailey Gaunt (20 points) started to find his range with three huge 3 pointers, plus some great on ball defence from Jacob Williams saw Stoke pull the lead down to just 3 points but a last second desperation heave by Joseph Peak was long and Akol Ring grabbed the rebound to see out the win.

“We’ve come to expect a tough competitive game against our West Midlands rivals Stoke on Trent College and today was no exception” said head coach Curtis Xavier. “ We couldn’t be more pleased with the commitment from our squad. Today was a great step forward.”

Aston Manor Academy’s Morris Aniakor was huge on defence with 14 boards and 4 points and Alex Tew had 8 points and 18 rebounds for the visitors. Sam Raji also chipped in with a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds for Stoke.

Next week Aston Manor take on Archbishop Beck at home and Stoke on Trent will look to bounce back against Queen Ethleburga’s.