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2023/24 National League Weekly Roundup - Week 19

The weekly roundup is back for February week 3. Check out the the scores and coaches' thoughts from week 19 of the National league season.

Week 19 saw 14 games underway across the North in the Junior & Senior National League.

Let's see how it all went down as we roundup week 19 of the 2023/24 National League season.

Saturday 18th February 2024

Team Sunderland vs COLBA

NBL Division 3 Men

Result: 61-77 (W)

Player of the game: Luke Garner

Coach James Quinn: "After a strong showing against Sunderland led to a win in the reverse of this fixture, we were eager and ready to return to form as we travelled to the North East on Saturday evening. We knew from the jump that we would get in control of this one if we could maximise our output in transition and keep their big interior presence of the glass early. We certainly got out on the break, however came up short in the rebounding area in the first half, while trading baskets with the home team to go into half-time down by 2. We spoke at half-time about the adjustments we would make and came out firing first, breaking down the defence with some clinical ball movement and creation from lead guards Luke Garner & Adam Dickens. Dan Bevan led the charge on the glass, accompanied by Akil Simpson and Morgan Bamford, who combined to triple our rebounding output in the second half. Jack Hill led all scorers and Marcello Maffezzoli was direct and decisive at key junctures. Academy player Angus Hickey saw increased minutes and there was a strong debut for Sean Engbison who stepped up for his first game above the Junior level. This outstanding team performance meant we took the double over Team Sunderland for the season and came home raring to got for another week of prep on the floor."

Mersey Mavericks vs COLBC U18 Women

U18 Women North Conference

Result: 30-67 (W)

Players of the game: Sophie Conroy

Coach Katie Lamond: "Another weekend, another prominent performance by the U18 squad. A group who are becoming increasingly competent and efficient with every game.

A close match up in the first quarter. Not for a lack of effort on our part. Mersey came out with good pace and shooting efficiency. Scoring multiple contested points from outside the 3 point line, keeping the game in close competition. Mersey also made the most of the gaps in our transition defence, managing to draw fouls and convert points in moments of delay in terms of our transition defence. From the second quarter onwards the girls demonstrated not only their offensive excellence, but their defensive work rate and reliability. Brilliant individual defence prevented easy shots and drives, forced Mersey to move the ball around much more than they would've hoped, matched with exceptional recovery and help defence meant that the U18s kept Mersey from scoring above 7 points in any of the remaining quarters. Following this, the U18s women demonstrated their incredible ability to drive with intent, along with a showing off high level finishing skills and capabilities. As the game progressed, so did the teams composure. Passing improved significantly, along with our offensive patience. The team finding easy finishing opportunities from offensive actions and better ball movement. Superb team performance for the team - as always. A group who continue to impress every time they get on court. Another performance for the girls to be proud of."

COLBA II vs Doncaster Eagles

U18 Men North I Conference

Result: 66-71 (L)

Players of the game: Rudee Curtis

Coach Jake Shuttlewood: "Another weekend that saw a double header for the U16s Boys Gold team in the U18s Conference. After beating Doncaster away much earlier in the season, we knew it wouldn’t be the same team we faced. A close game throughout the first quarter with back to back baskets as Team Gold battled against the Eagles tough 1-3-1 zone with big inside anchors that stopped our efforts around the basket. The second quarter was better as we got to play freely in our usual sets that allowed Rudee Curtis to make strong moves, Nako Mokete to hit shots off screens and even some ‘and-one’ plays from Callum Conroy. Unfortunately, the second half was not the same. Doncaster started to hit ahead in transition which deflated our momentum and ultimately closed the gap in the third quarter. Team Gold battled throughout the fourth but some lapses on defence, a few rushed offences and missed shots from good chances gave Doncaster the lead. A game to remember for us as we all learnt some valuable lessons.”

COLBC U18 Men vs Spen Valley Vipers

U18 Men North I Conference

Result: 83-48 (W)

Player of the game: Gordon Chan

Coach Alex Scott: "It was good day against Spen Valley as we saw lots of rotations. This led to strong performances across the board. The boys did well to use this game as an opportunity to work on our offensive sets that had looked slightly clunky in previous weeks. Daniel Onobrakpeya dominated the scoring with 23 points as he was dominant inside through out finishing very efficiently and blacking shots in the other side as he was constant positive on defence. Rayane Chaoukar was a great presence on both sides of the boards which led to him collecting a double double with 14 points. Sam Barraclough and Dan Connor did well to share the ball and get Everyone going which was part of the reason that everyone got on the scoresheet. Finally Gordon Chan was constant positive defensively which led to him getting plenty of transition points."

COLBC U16 Boys Gold vs Manchester Giants

U16 Boys North Premier

Result: 38-93 (L)

Player of the game: David Ionita

Coach Sam Messam: "Tough morning at Allerton High School as the visiting Giants imposed their hubristic style of play from the opening tip. The home side CoL opened the scoring and defended well, but very quickly the giants demonstrated their physical advantage as they pushed and shoved in a bid to take the lead. The CoL stood their ground as best as they could with some individual and collective highlights, but the Mancunians proved to be the victors as they pushed the lead out beyond the reach of the home team."

COLBC U14 Girls vs Barrow Thorns

U14 Girls North Conference

Result: 71-46 (W)

Player of the game: Natasha Kumaraswamy

Coach Phil Cleeve: "Highly anticipated game for the squad, they were looking for revenge having suffered 1 of their only 2 losses this season against Barrow Thorns. We started the game strong looking to beat the defence on transition and pressure the ball and force some tough passes.

The girls did a fantastic job pushing the ball, although offensive rebounds seems to be an on going issue we are much improved on taking care of the ball, and looking for the open shot.

Natasha Kumaraswamy has performed as well as every other game and made it look easy adding 15 points in her limited minutes."

COLBC U14 Boys Gold vs Manchester Magic

U14 Boys North Premier

Result: 29-118 (L)

Player of the game: Finlay May

Coach James Quinn: "We were very excited this week to welcome the Magic to LBU, knowing that this squad are arguably one of the best in the country at this age group. Our young group were more than ready for the challenge and settled into the game admirably, showing considerable improvement in the aspects we have been working hard on in practice over the last month. We broke the press, moved the ball and got open looks with far more consistency than our previous game, and I was very proud to see several players step up to the challenge both physically and mentally. Sonny Jordan and Omkar Phalnikar again showed a great IQ and discipline beyond their years, while Honey Akingbemla was a strong presence in his first outing of increased minutes, keeping one of the best young players in the country off the boards. George Florea and Martin Idrovo continue to impress, while Fraser Campbell and Tyrese Richards consistently refuse to back down from the tough assignments they are given each game. Of note is the growing leadership and example set by Finlay May who continues to rise to the challenge and should be proud of his efforts, as I am of the whole group."

COLBC U14 Boys Black vs LDM

U14 Boys North I Conference

Result: 31-92 (L)

Player of the game: Jakub Zurowski

Coach Alex Scott: "It was really hard fought game against LDM on Saturday that was very mixed bag. The boys started excellently playing lockdown defence and having some really nice moves offensively to get open baskets. However the second quarter LDM started to dominate the boards punishing us on the height mismatch. This meant that despite our excellent defence they kept the scoreboard going over. This was demoralising for the boys which led to our offensive output dropping. All of this culminated in us going into the half at a large deficit. The boys did well following this to keep their heads up after a disappointing 2nd quarter and keep improving their games. Some notable performances included Alex Newhouse who started show real aggression driving towards the basket and finishing over taller defenders. Kobe Wilkinson did well to break down his man on what felt like every play to collapse the defensive. Finally Jakub Zurowski showed great defensive instincts blocking shots and showed a significant rebounding presence as he crashed the boards far more aggressively than his debut last week."

Tees Valley Mohawks vs COLBC U14 Boys White

U14 Boys North I Conference

Result: 63-43 (L)

Player of the game: Noah Jones

Coach Olly Kerwin-Clegg: "Another early trip to the North East with a short handed squad provided a similar backdrop for a game against Tees Valley, however the outcome and approach to the game was very different which is a credit to the U14 squad as a whole

The first quarter was impressive on both sides of the ball as the U14 had some nice half-court ball movement allowing for space to drive and open jump shots which Pavan Doullay and Micah Brodie Capitalised on. Defensively a week in which rebounding was focused on in practice was clearly absorbed by all players as they made the effort to Limit Tees Valley to one shot possessions. Whilst Tees Valley would slowly pull away finding more consistent looks at the basket our defence was far more active and engaged. Micah Brodie leapt at the challenge of a tough defensive assignment and Noah Jones did an exceptional job of recognising his role as a help defender. Our ability to get stops also allowed us to push the ball regularly in transition which led to some easy finishes. Throughout all 4 quarters every player gave a very admirable effort and had an exceptional support for one another."

Sunday 18th February 2024

East Durham Lions vs COLBA I

U18 Men North I Conference

Result: 48-64 (W)

Player of the game: Josh Norton

Coach James Quinn: "We travelled light to East Durham as the Academy looked to move to a 16-0 record in Conference play this season. I was tremendously impressed with the togetherness and composure that the team showed, in what was a tough shooting day, as they worked hard for solutions to break down the zone we faced and get open looks in key areas. Marcello Maffezzoli was clinical and controlled throughout, pushing the lead out in the first and maintaining the level throughout. Supported by strong defensive efforts from Angus Hickey and with Ethan Utley seeing an increase of minutes at the lead guard spot, Ethan ran some of the best offensive sets of the game at key moments to carry the team over the line. Josh Norton continued in strong form since the turn of the year, showing development in his mid-rang game to bring home a 24 PT, 18 REB, 4 BLK player of the game performance."

Encon Derbyshire Arrows vs COLBC U16 Girls Gold

U16 Girls North Conference

Result: 62-63 (W)

Player of the game: Natasha Kuramaswamy

Coach Katie Lamond: "Potentially the most important game of the season for the U16s Gold team. Derbyshire Arrows the only team to have remained unbeaten in the league, along with being the only team to have defeated gold in a previous match-up. Today's game was truly a make or break situation. Odds against us today! Low numbers, important players missing and officiating calls more in the favour of arrows, the U16s were up against it from the very beginning. Despite that, it was a brilliant match up from start to finish. Both groups coming out extremely strong, high intensity and physicality. Arrows speed and attacking intent very difficult to handle , along with physically stong on offensive boards, making it uncomfortable for us on the defensive end, putting us in foul trouble early on in the game. However, our offensive efficiency and stong drives to basket put Arrows is a similar position. The game becoming extremely tense very quickly. The first two quarters there was very little to spilit the 2 sides. Beginning of third quarter our focus dipped on the defensive side, which Arrows naturally capitalised from, forcing a significant gap in the scoreline, the largest breakaway of the game. A true test of the girls character, a situation that could've knocked them down, the girls showed their resilience and determination to step up their performance. Immediately increasing the work rate, strengthening the communication and becoming much more disciplined on the defensive end. Which naturally impacted positively on our offence. This teams unity and cohesion managing to pull back the scoreline all the way to force overtime. The girls took overtime in their stride. Despite multiple members being on four fouls, the girls still gave it their absolute all. Not willing to give up this game. Incredible team energy, the girls looked the strongest in the overtime period, managing to keep arrows out for a good majority of the 5 minutes. Despite the officiating and Arrows scoring a crucial 3 point shot, our desire to be first to every rebound and loose ball meant that Gold were able to keep majority of the possession, and ultimately keep enough control to see out the game. Finishing with an amazing one point win in overtime. This report in no way does the team justice. How they came together, overcame every challenge and fought for everything will remain with me for many years to come. Arrows an extraordinary opponent. Extremely difficult game.

Gold today proved that they are the definition of determination, resilience and relentlessness. Exceptional game, exceptional performance. Proud doesn't even come close."

Lancashire Spinners vs COLBC U16 Girls Black

U16 Girls North Conference

Result: 66-26 (L)

Player of the game: Pending...

Coach Bob Muir: "Pending...

Rounding off the seventh weekend of 2024, COLBC Director Matt Newby was feeling very positive about the weekend's results:

"The girls programme both at U14 and U16 maintained their successful records with the U16s keeping the pressure on league rivals Derbyshire Arrows by taking the win in overtime, while the U14s closer to cementing their position in second behind the York Eagles.

The Academy, who are currently chasing a perfect league record, took a travelling win away to a much improved East Durham Lions, who have been on a great run of form since the new year and are currently chasing down the top of the table, while he U18 Men also took a home win against the Spen Valley Vipers.

The Division 3 Men doubled down against Team Sunderland in a hard-fought affair, which pushes them closer towards a .500 record with 4 games to play in their debut season back in the Senior National League."

The roundup will return next week after another 18 game slate on week 20 of the National League season.

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