The North School 77 – 88 HTS Storm

The North School Lions suffered a disappointing 88-77 loss in a pulsating counter with Holy Trinity School on Wednesday 5th February 2020, which marked the end of the ABL regular season.

Conal Parnell was an unstoppable force for the Lions in the first quarter, racking up 12 points as he attacked the rim at will, but Holy Trinity responded with a balanced scoring effort that saw 4 different player making early contributions. The presence of Parnell gave time and space to the Lions’ shooters and 3-point makes from Captain, Harvey Kemp-Green and Roshan Thakali gave the home team a 21-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was a real roller coaster of momentum shifts. Holy Trinity immediately wiped out the deficit thanks to a 10-2 run spearheaded by aggressive play from Matt Aziamale and Josh Otor, but the Lions responded with a 16-6 run fuelled by the dynamic guard pairing of Roshan Thakali and Diogo Araujo-Simoes. With the Lions up 9 and time ticking down in the half, Brandon Laryea made a tough contested 3-point basket to bring Holy Trinity within 6 going into the half-time break (39-33).

The third quarter was all Holy Trinity as they punished the Lions for mental errors on the defensive end. Abdou Gaye was a force to be reckoned with on the inside, with 10 points in the quarter for the visitors as they embarked on a relentless 33-7 run. Kemp-Green hit a 3-point shot on the buzzer to give the Lions a boost heading into the fourth but they found themselves trailing 66-49.

The fourth quarter saw the Lions fight with everything they had but Holy Trinity withstood the pressure with fine play in transition. The outstanding Kemp-Green and Thakali shot their way to 21 points for the Lions, as they won the quarter 28-22, but it was not enough to change the result as Holy Trinity prevailed 88-77. The result means that Holy Trinity will go into the ABL playoffs as the overall number 1 seed, whilst the Lions will finish as one of four conference ‘#2 seeds’ and await confirmation of their final playoff seeding.

Thakali led the Lions with an outstanding stat line of 22 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 steals, whilst Parnell and Kemp-Green were also key contributors for the home team with 17 points apiece. Laryea led all scorers with 27 points for Holy Trinity and he was backed up by strong performances from Aziamale (18 points) and Gaye (14 points).

Lions Point Guard, Thakali commented ‘We had the mind-set to beat the No.1 seed and protect our undefeated home court record but we fell short in our execution in the third quarter. I have to give credit to our crowd-they gave us great support and energy from beginning to end which really helped us to compete throughout the game. Even though it is a tough loss, each player gave their maximum effort and we fought until the very end. Playoffs are a completely different stage to be in because it’s do or die. I cannot wait’.

Lions Head Coach, Andrew Sunderland commented ‘We are bitterly disappointed to drop this one. I thought we controlled the game through the first two quarters but we did not match their intensity coming out of the half time break and that really hurt us. We can’t afford to have lapses in concentration when we are playing opponents of this calibre but we will learn quickly from our mistakes and we will be ready for the playoffs’.