The North School 75 – 74 King Henry School

The North School Lions fought their way to a dramatic 1-point victory over perennial powerhouse King Henry School, Erith on Wednesday 13th November to boost their ABL Southern Conference record to 5-1.

It was all King Henry in the opening stages as they raced out to a 13-4 lead behind the hot shooting of Sam Simpson and Riley Tremain. The Lions were able to respond through the inside-out combination of Luis Beaumont and Harvey Kemp-Green but it was the visitors who led 26-20 after one quarter.

The second quarter was a quick-fire shootout, with both teams connecting on multiple outside shots, however 9 points from star Guard, Conal Parnell allowed the Lions to close the gap to 2 points (43-41) at the half time break.

The third quarter saw the home team raise their defensive intensity to stop the King Henry onslaught and a 3-point basket from Parnell gave the Lions their first lead of the game at 51-49. The Lions held the visitors to just 13 third quarter points and the inside scoring of Beaumont put the Lions ahead 60-56 with one quarter to go.

The fourth quarter was a see-saw battle which saw 8 lead changes! With 23 seconds to go, Simpson hit 2 big free throws that put King Henry ahead 74-73 and so it was left to Lions closer, Roshan Thakali, to try to counter. With the ball at the top of the key and separation from his defender, Thakali seized his opportunity to hit the game winning shot that gave the Lions a famous 75-74 victory.

Lion’s Forward, Beaumont finished with a huge double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, whilst Captain Harvey Kemp-Green led the team in scoring with 22 points. Parnell (17 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals) and Thakali (9 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals) were also instrumental with big contributions across the stat sheet.

Sam Simpson led all scorers with 27 points for King Henry, who also had a monster double-double of 20 points and 18 rebounds from the excellent Matthew Stokes.

Beaumont commented: “Coming off of last week’s disappointing loss, we were hungry to prove ourselves today. Being down for the majority of the game gave us even more fuel and we were able to produce high energy defence when it mattered most to force stops. I knew the team needed me to play the boards aggressively today so I gave it everything I had. It was a brilliant team win’.

Head Coach Andrew Sunderland added: “Credit to King Henry, who are short-handed due to injuries at the moment. They did a tremendous job on the defensive end and their outside shooting put us under a lot of pressure. It felt like we were fighting an uphill battle for the whole game but I was really pleased with our response to the challenge. Luis was a real force for us inside today and Roshan, Conal and Harvey were the epitome of poise once again. It was the perfect response to a very disappointing loss last week and Roshan showed why we all have so much faith in him with his clutch game winner!”

The Lions face a tough road trip next week as they take on the undefeated Holy Trinity School, Crawley on Wednesday 20th November, whilst Holy Trinity will look to get back to winning ways as they travel to the Sir Robert Woodard Academy.