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2023/24 National League Weekly Roundup - Week 21

The weekly roundup is back for the first weekend of March. Check out the the scores and coaches' thoughts from week 21 of the National league season.



Week 20 saw 13 games underway across the North in the Junior National League.


Let's see how it all went down as we roundup week 21 of the 2023/24 National League season.


Saturday 2nd March 2024


COLBA vs Team QE II

U18 Men North I Conference

Result: 92-43 (W)

Player of the game: Isaac Durrant

Coach Matt Newby: "In a game where the opposition perhaps their defied their position in the league, the QE Knights came out strong, shooting the ball well and with change-ups in their defensive philosophy, disrupted our offensive flow. For most of the first half they were the team that asserted themselves, but in the second half following some adjustments and some improvements in play, we pushed the game out and secured the win. Of note were underclassmen Isaac Durrant and Ethan Utley, who showed more maturity, taking and making big shots and critically, a higher defensive intensity came to the fore. Senior Akil Simpson had overwatch on the split with a 20 point output and helped in multiple areas of the court. This would be the first half of the weekend that brought the boys the Conference title and we are very proud of their achievements as we head in to the final month of the season."


COLBA II vs Spen Valley Vipers

U18 Men North I Conference

Result: 85-54 (W)

Players of the game: Callum Conroy

Coach James Quinn: "With many of this U16 cohort having applied to to join us next year at the City Of Leeds Basketball Academy at Allerton High School, it was a pleasure to join them on the bench for this game as they stepped up to the U18 level once again. What impresses me most about this unit is their ability to dial into the finer details of what is being asked of them. After a quick start led by 10 early points from captain Callum Conroy, we allowed the opposition to chip away at our lead and force us into a time-out midway through the second, leading by just 6 points. I asked for a much higher level of intensity to close out the first half, a task that the team took on with aggression and suffocated the advancing Vipers with impressive leadership shown from Casey Lennon and Nako Mokete. This pressure was maintained throughout the 3rd quarter which pushed the lead out to a convincing split, allowing us the opportunity to experiment with some different looks on offense to see what the boys could handle off the board. I am proud of the efforts of the whole squad in what was their second game of the day and look forward to working with them again soon."


JLC Scunthorpe Wolves vs COLBC U18 Men

U18 Men North I Conference

Result: 83-58 (L)

Player of the game: Luke Easton

Coach Alex Scott: "It was an ok start to the game as for the 18s in the first quarter as they kept the scoreboard ticking over for 15 points led by some strong drives by Sam Barraclough and Luke Easton. However the wolves came out fireing with 27 scoring on all levels which saw them establish a strong lead early. They began to slow in the second thanks to some strong individual and team defence from the boys. but, unfortunately we struggled to connect on a lot of our open looks that were being created off our strong passing game. In the third quarter the boys were the completely the opposite as they scored with Ethan Lough scoring 15 points in the quarter off combination of threes and leaking out in transition. Transition was the key in this offensive outburst led by some terrific team defense but noticeably Luke Easton who controlled the top of the three causing havoc for ball handlers and getting lots of steals, toby Wilkins continued this whilst Luke rested which really set up a good start to every defensive possession. This was then added on by Matthew Firth, James Higgins and Daniel Onebraka who all contributed heavily to the steal and block tally’s as they protected the paint. "


COLBC U18 Women vs Lancashire Spinners

U18 Women North Conference

Result: 46-37 (W)

Player of the game: Hattie Miles

Coach Katie Lamond: "Naturally, a lot of energy and tension when first and second place match up! Incredibly tough game today. Spinners always formidable opponents. A team who consistently fight and hustle for every possession. Making gameplay not only pressurised, but both frustrating and intense. A real test of the U18s ability to remain together and keep composure. Strong defensive efforts from both teams in the first quarter made scoring extremely difficult. Brilliant rotation on our end meant that the team contained the physical drives from Spinners, and forced them to take outside shots, where often we were first to claim off the boards. Likewise, intensity to gain back possession by Lancashire meant that rushed passes and loose holds were stolen back. Meaning neither team were able to really capitalise on a break. Second quarter we began to break away. A brilliant scoring run by N0.5 Ella Ryan and N0.7 Sophie Conroy provided a small gap in the scoreline, along with the incredible team defensive rotation meant that the girls were able keep Spinners from scoring for a good majority of the second quarter. However, failure to handle pressure defence in the last few minutes meant that we turned the ball over in our own half , allowing Spinners the fast break and gain easy points. Spinners then bringing the game back to a 3 point game.

Following the end of the second, a tough third quarter kept the pressure of the game back on our shoulders. Spinners able to convert some outside shots , and the lack of scoring opportunities on our end seemed to deflate the teams morale and cohesion. Although some players made the effort to keep hustling, boxing out and rebounding, the lack of team unity and energy prevented COLB from making a real impact offensively, forcing us to have to keep holding on in our own half. The opposition keeping a unified team desire, momentum in their favour.

Early time out in the fourth quarter we made the decision to look at the simple things, strip the game back down to basics. Discussion on what we do when they shoot : Box out, claim the rebound, get wide, then play what we see. If we could get our composure back on the basics , then we could get our team rhythm back and get ourselves back into this game. One thing that this team has proven throughout this season is that even when down, they can find a way to break out. Brilliant team play by the 5 on at the time : Micah Aficial, Ella Ryan, Nicole Carroll, Hattie Miles and Abigail Stewart who set the standard for the rest of the quarter. Pheneominal defensive hustle and rebounding efficiency lead to fantastic offensive breaks. Exceptional noise from the bench to bring the positivity and energy back to the team. The girls back in their stride, those rotating then kept up the the level set by the previous 5. Composure , brilliant vision and control meant that Leeds found a way to not only take back the lead, but to gain a good breakaway. Despite the pressure and frustration, the U18s once again were able to achieve a brilliant team win. The way they banded together in the final quarter of the game truly was exceptional. Proud of them for pushing past the pressure. Complete refusal to stay down. Exceptional energy. Full credit to Lancashire Spinners. Threatening opponents throughout the game."


COLBC U16 Boys Gold vs City Of Birmingham Rockets

U16 Boys North Premier

Result: 58-91 (L)

Player of the game: Casey Lennon

Coach Sam Messam: "The U16 Gold squad welcomed Birmingham into the LBU Arena in a return fixture. All thoughts turned to a forgone conclusion in favour of the Rockets, however, the home side were determined to make it hard work, and hard work they did. The CoL came out of the ‘tip’ hot, demonstrating efficient ball movement, selfless play, and a confident approach to their offence. As a result of the good start, the owls drained the fuel out of the visiting Rockets. Led by Casey Lennon, the CoL responded to every rebound, made basket, and steal to take an early lead. After 20-minutes the game was tied, momentum very much in favour of the home side. Unfortunately, the owls fell foul to a Rockets relaunch in the second half, one that showed the league positioning of the two teams and resulted in defeat for the CoL."


Teesside Lions vs COLBC U16 Boys Black

U16 Boys North I Conference

Result: 64-46 (L)

Player of the game: Kai Yuasu

Coach Jake Shuttlewood: "Team Black travelled back up to the North East for the final time this year as they looked to play Teeside Lions! In there last game against each other, it saw a close matchup that Teeside took over in the second half against us. We wanted this one to be different and it definitely was! The first quarter was tough as the Lions strong guard and big duo made it difficult to score and broke down our defence. The second quarter was much better with some good opportunities created by Kaiden Dimmey and then converted by Kai Yuasu or cleaned up by Alex Summers and Harry Firth. The second half was much of the same with sharp defence which gave us the advantage in transition and even got us back into the game with our closest difference being 8 points. All of this came off the back of lockdown defence from Emil Omidiran and Kai Yuasu and some stellar rebounding from Harry Firth. Luca Pogoreanu started to find his flow later in the game with smart outlet passes to push the pace while maintaining and limiting his turnovers. This allowed the boys to win the last quarter by 6 points in the end! Although we lost this one, the progress this team has made over the last few weeks against some tougher opponents is outstanding. I’m looking forward to our midweek fixture against York Eagles II to put our progress into performance."


York Eagles vs COLBC U14 Girls

U14 Girls North Conference

Result: 54-44 (L)

Player of the game: Amelia Clayton

Coach Phil Cleeve: "We went into the game with something to prove, not only are York undefeated but they beat us last time by nearly 50 points.

We went into the game hungry for the win and made York really work for it.

End of the 1st quarter 14-13 to York.

2nd quarter Leeds stopped moving off the ball and lost focus, York got a couple of baskets and we claim back putting us down by 6 points at the half.

3rd quarter York put on their fast break team and surprised us in the first 5 mins giving us a mountain of 16 points to bring back.

The girls got fired up for the 4th and decided they were hungry for it. The added pressure saw Leeds get into single digits very quickly. Scaring York into a timeout. Leeds kept the pressure holding York to only 8 points in the quarter.

Unfortunately Leeds struggled to convert on their side leaving York with the win.

The improvement and passion the girls portrayed in this game was something to be proud of. I don't think anyone would disagree with me when I say the game could have gone either way."


COLBC U14 Boys Black vs Tees Valley Mohawks

U14 Boys North I Conference

Result: 73-31 (W)

Player of the game: Charlie Woodward

Coach Alex Scott: "A great game for the u14s especially offensively with everyone scoring and 4 players scoring in the double digits including Charlie Woodward who had a game high 18 as he dominated inside. The boys started the game as well as they put a lot of pressure on the tees valley ball. Handlers and converted on the other end. Even when we got into the half courthis was the story of the first half as the half finished 42:8 as the boys showcased everything we’ve worked on. One highlight of this first half was Harry Thompson ability as a ball handler to take control of the second unit as he continuously made the correct decisions on when to play and when to score. This then lead us to the third quarter where we continued our strong play on both sides as we took the game convincingly. The highlight of this game was boys playing far more aggressive on their drives and made good decisions after which was highlighted by the amount of corner jumpshots off drives and kicks and even Harry’s three from the wing after making an extra pass off the close out. Overall this was a great game and one that feels particularly good after the 10 point loss we had against them last week."


COLBC U14 Boys White vs Newcastle Eagles II

U14 Boys North I Conference

Result: 36-91 (L)

Player of the game: Archie Clegg

Coach Olly Kerwin-Clegg: "Being back at LBU for the first time in a month the U14 White team made a concerted effort to play some controlled basketball on home court.

To begin the game Newcastle imposed their physicality well with a smattering of second chance points but in the early moments Leeds were adamant to respond with good ball movement and playing on arrival. This led to fruitful drives with Players like Pavan Doullay being rewarded both on the shot and at the line.

As me moved through the game we would be a more organised rebounding and defensive unit yet credit Newcastle for some good 3 point conversion and shot making ability. The U14 white squad began to play the game at a great pace when we claimed a rebound, Liam Brostoff-Jordan made a great effort to run the floor and many players made heads up plays to find teammates.

Moving into the second half our intensity remained the same with Many trips to the line after strong drives to the hoop were rewarded. Our second unit in the third quarter also began to play in a more cohesive manner. Jenson Latham-Gonzales was able to organise the offence and have positive movement. Overall a much improved game from when we made the trip up to the eagles in December cutting the defecit in half in only 2 months. The support and culture between all 12 players was evident from the bench and from the trust they showed one another on the floor."


COLBC U13 Boys vs LDM

U13 Boys Regional League

Result: 85-36 (W)

Player of the game: Zac Francis-Keevash

Coach Dave Sailsbury: "The U13 returned to regional action with a resounding victory against local rivals LDM. Fielding a strong squad, we took charge in the early going with Zac Francis-Keevash attacking the rim and Omkar Phalnikar controlling tempo and setting up teammates.

As the game progressed, our U13s looked to share the ball more with some excellent team play in the second as they finished the first half with a 46-15 lead.

LDM put in a spirited effort in the third, but our U13s were just too strong and continued to get to the rim and finish. Toby Dennis kept the scoreboard moving with 8 of his 16 in the 3rd. Honey Akingbemla is still a relative newcomer to the game and showed he's been working on his skills in a great fast break sequence, catching wide on the the run, getting into his dribble and releasing a precise pass to a teammate under the basket for an easy score. Zac Francis-Keevash returned to the fray in the 4th with 6 of his 16."


Sunday 3rd March 2024


JLC Scunthorpe Wolves vs COLBA II

U18 Men North I Conference

Result: 81-46 (L)

Player of the game: Rudee Curtis

Coach Alex Scott: "The game started excellent as we played really good high pressure defence to keep the wolves out the paint and then in the other side the offence was free flowing lead by Nako Mokete who controlled the pace well sharing and scoring the ball effectively.

This lead to us being very competitive and leading in the first 8 minutes however fall trouble lead to some key players having to sit for the end of first and the most of the second quarter. This lead to our offense faltering slightly as the boys struggled to find consistency in the quarter. The third quarter we got players back and Curtis Gwata exploded offensively for 11 points with 3 threes made on consecutive plays. He then did well in the 4th to punish the mowhawks face guarding with intelligent cuts on his way to 20 points for the game. Rudee Curtis was an other heavy contributor in the game as he finished with over 20 rebounds and a few blocks to complete a tremendous defensive performance. Overall the play for the boys was good but foul trouble put us in a tricky position which, credit to the wolves they punished us. I’m sure the boys are looking forward to the rematch next week with a good opportunity to get a win. Another noticeable performer hear was Sam Barraclough as he was the key to our transitions play with some unreal outlet and kick passes as he easily and 7+ assists for quarter. This explosion on both sides led to 22 point deficit being cut down to just 7 in the 4th. However, in the end of the game we struggled to replicate this play which led to the wolves grinding out the W."


Rounding off the week, COLBC Director Matt Newby was feeling happy following an important week for the programme:


"It was great to see our Academy boys close out on two important markers for the season, with the CBL Tier 3 North Division title, which grants them a playoff birth and the chance to return to CBL Tier 2, the Academy league, second-only to EABL. A second title within four days followed with confirmation of the U18 Men North I Conference title, again securing a playoff birth and the chance to regain our Premier Division status.


The U18 Women maintained pace with league-leaders Lancashire Spinners with a home victory that puts them in pole position for a successful campaign on their journey to a league title if they continue their fine form over the close of the season. More significant improvements in performance from Alex Scott's U14 charges in his rookie season as a Coach after graduating from our Academy at Allerton High School last summer. We look forward to the remaining weeks of the season and competing on several fronts for end of season success."


The roundup will return next week after another 16 game slate on week 22 of the National League season.

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