The North School 70 v 52 Sir Robert Woodard Academy

The North School Lions made it 3 straight wins to open the ABL regular season after securing a dogged 70-52 home victory against the Sir Robert Woodard Academy Bears.

The game started with ABL’s Southern Conference rivals matching each other shot for shot. Josh Harrison fuelled the Bears with 9 points and Conal Parnell responded with 8 points of his own to give the Lions a slender 17-16 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the Lions threatened to break clear as captain Harvey Kemp-Green and star guard Roshan Thakali combined for 12 points for a 34-24 lead. The visitors responded with a cool 7-0 run to end the period, giving the Lions a 34-31 half-time lead.

Refocused and re-energised after the half time break, the Lions immediately stepped up their defensive pressure to earn 8 straight stops. Thakali and Kemp-Green were instrumental in raising the tempo of the game as scored freely in transition, spearheading a dominant quarter which the Lions won 27-5.

Holding a convincing 61-36 lead, rising star Diogo Araujo-Simoes (9 points) showed all of his creative brilliance in the fourth quarter as he relentlessly attacked inside and out to keep the Lions’ momentum going. The Bears battled until the end and 6 points from Callum McAvoy-Smith allowed them to take the quarter 16-9; although it was not enough to stop the Lions from capturing a hard fought 70-52 win.

Kemp-Green led all scorers with 21 points to go with 14 rebounds and 4 assists, whilst Parnell (15 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists) and Thakali (12 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists) were crucial to the Lions’ success. Francis lead the way for the Bears with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists.

Lions’ head coach Andrew Sunderland commented: “Sir Robert Woodard did an excellent job of varying their strategy and I was extremely happy with how hard we fought when we were struggling to find a rhythm.

“I thought Roshan and Harvey were sensational tonight; they brought a determined intensity on both ends of the floor and their leadership was superb.”

Lions’ point guard Roshan Thakali added: “Sir Robert Woodard Academy definitely surprised and confused us with their defence which affected our offensive flow. As the game progressed however, we managed to get back into our offence by realising our way of playing basketball.

“We played some tough defence to help secure win but we still have many areas to improve on as a team and we look forward to the challenge.”

The North Lions travel to Norwood School on Wednesday 16th October as they look to continue their excellent early season form, whilst Sir Robert Woodard Academy will travel to St. Thomas the Apostle College as they look to get back to winning ways.