Our U14s have not only emulated the achievement of their U20 colleagues by qualifying to the EYBL Play off stages but managed to surpass this by remaining undefeated throughout the qualification rounds.
In the second tournament held in Botovgrad Bulgaria, United expected some tough opposition especially from the formidable MBA Prievidza which was also undefeated after the first tournament. Our Londoners expectations were also affected by the fact that the team travelled to Bulgaria without the very influential Michael Amako. Impacting the situation further was a late injury to Aaqib Khan eliminating him from any active participation in the games.
United negotiated the first two games rather easily with routine wins against KK DIV Basket, Serbia (85-20) and College Basket, Italy (80-43). The situation in the group became rather unexpectedly complicated when BC Balkan beat Prievidza by 16 points. This resulted with a distinctive possibility that a relatively small defeat against Prievidza would eliminate our Londoners from the tournament altogether.
Coach Kelson and his troops took this challenge head on giving the best defensive display of the tournament against Prievidza.
The ferocious trio of Joshua Eccleston, Zargel Adap and Liam Campbell forced multiple turnovers which led to the easy fastbreak points. If the Czech players somehow penetrated the first line of defence they were met by the athletic Josh Codner and Zamoku Weluche who mercilessly dominated both boards. The game and qualification to the Play Off was decided by the end of the first half when United held a massive lead of 45 points and the opposition looked completely deflated.
Coach Kelson was very matter of fact in his assessment of the competition so far: “There is no question that at this stage what is most important is the individual development of the players not the results. Obviously we are happy that we are winning but I’m more impressed with how all our players are maturing as a players and human beings. We now have to work hard to start our preparations for Italy.”
Apart from winning qualification stage, United players have also collected several individual awards:
Liam Campbell – The Best Player of the final Game
Josh Eccleston – Tournament MVP
Josh Codner – All Stars Team
Full EYBL Stage II Results:
London United – KK DIV Basket 85-20
London United – College Basket 80-43
London United – MBA Prievidza 91-22
London United – BC Megyeri Tigers 89-30
The playoff stages of EYBL competition will take place 29-31 March in Cesenatico, Italy.
To view highlights of our U14’s performance in EYBL Stage II competition courtesy of @way2work please click here.