The North School 77 – 76 John Roan

The North School Lions produced a sensational performance to pick up heart-stopping 77-76 victory against London-based giants, The John Roan School on Friday 29th November.

The first quarter saw the Lions race out of the blocks with Captain, Harvey Kemp-Green connecting on 4 3-point baskets to shoot the home team into an early 23-16 lead.

The Lions continued their hot start in the second quarter as they extended their lead to 15 thanks to the crafty play of dynamic back-court duo Conal Parnell and Roshan Thakali. John Roan cut the lead in half with a 7-0 run spearheaded by James Aboaba; however the Lions responded through star Forward, Luis Beaumont who posted 10 straight points that gave his team a 42-34 lead going into half time.

An electrifying third quarter saw both teams trading baskets at breakneck speed. The Lions were paced by 13 points from Parnell and Beaumont, whilst John Roan were led by 14 points from the inside-out combination of Samuel Olotu and Tobi Ojo. Oakley Rigby and Kemp-Green hit huge 3-point baskets to keep momentum with the Lions and they led 61-56 after 3.

The fourth quarter saw John Roan embark on a 14-4 scoring surge that gave them their first lead of the game at 74-67. The Lions dug deep defensively to force critical late-game steals and Thakali and Kemp-Green combined for 8 points that kept the Lions within 1.

Fittingly, it was Beaumont who hit the go-ahead basket that gave the Lions a 77-76 lead and a vital offensive rebound from Diogo Araujo-Simoes gave them possession of the ball with 2.6 seconds to go.

Parnell put the ball in the safe hands of Rigby to close-out the game and as the final buzzer sounded; the bench stormed the court to celebrate a sublime victory which puts the Lions joint second in the ABL Southern Conference.

Beaumont shot a staggering 80% from the field to lead all scorers with 24 points and the Lions also had huge performances from Captain, Kemp-Green (23 points) and Parnell (19 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists).

Thakali was an influential play-maker for the Lions with 10 assists and 9 rebounds. Aboaba led John Roan with 21 points and he had big support from Olotu who posted a strong double-double of 19 points and 14 rebounds.

Lions Captain, Harvey Kemp-Green commented: “It was another great performance from the team to make it 2 out of 2 wins this week. We had to fight through fatigue both mentally and physically to bag a win against a team of their strength and size.

“We had solid offensive and defensive systems in place and we executed the game plan to perfection. Huge credit to the rest of the guys and the coaching staff-we’re only looking forwards right now as we keep pushing for the playoffs.”

Lions Head Coach, Andrew Sunderland added: “To me, this is our biggest victory of the year. The mental resolve of this team is incredible-they were running on empty after a gruelling game on Wednesday and yet they found a way to will themselves to victory.

“John Roan present the sternest of tests-they are talented, athletic and Coach Van-Beest has them playing at an incredible tempo but our no-quit attitude prevailed. I thought Harvey was phenomenal for us tonight-it wasn’t just his shooting but his fearless leadership.

“It was also a breakout game for Luis-he showed that he can dominate both ends of the floor against the most imposing of opponents.”

It will be a quick turnaround to the rematch as the 2 teams face off once again in the ABL Southern Conference on Wednesday 4th December at The John Roan School.