EBL Junior Final Fours 2014: Results & Analysis - Hoopsfix.com

EBL Junior Final Fours 2014: Results & Analysis

The 2014 EBL Junior Final Fours took place this weekend at the EIS, Sheffield, with the top four teams in the U14, U16 and U18 age groups fighting it out for the right to be called National Champions. See below for full results, leading scorers plus a few notes as they happened.

Under 18 Final Fours

Manchester-Magic-Under-18s-National-Champions-2014Manchester Magic made it back to back under-18 titles with an 84-71 win over North-West rivals Cheshire Wire in the final.

Patrick Whelan also made it back to back MVP’s for himself, as he won the award for the second straight year after finishing with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists, whilst going 4/6 from beyond the arc, knocking down every long range bomb at key moments in the game.

Though Cheshire Wire kept it a lot closer than many had thought possible, the result was never in doubt, as powerhouse Manchester, who have 7 players from various National Team programmes, proved too much.

Wire’s Joe Wilson put in a valiant effort, as he finished with 21 points and 9 rebounds, while Emmanuel Kabengele added 14 and Andy Galloway had 11 to join them in double figures.

Whelan was backed up by 19 points from Pharroh Gordon, while Aaron Menzies had 9 points, 10 rebounds and 8 blocks to finish just short of a triple double.

Box score.

2014 Under-18 Final Standings

1) Manchester Magic
2) Cheshire Wire
3) Lewisham Thunder
4) Solent Kestrels

Third Place Playoff
Lewisham Thunder escaped with a 58-55 victory over Solent Kestrels, in a game where both teams played their bench for extended periods.

Kestrels had possession down three with under 10 seconds left, but were unable to get a shot off as they turned the ball over to seal their fate.

Semi Final 1
Cheshire Wire were the first team to book place in U18 final with 77-63 win over Solent.

Kestrels did a great job of keeping the game close, but ultimately the more talented Wire team came out on top.

Joe Wilson had 26 points to lead Wire, whilst Elliott James had 21 in the loss for Solent.

Semi Final 2
Defending champions Manchester Magic kept their quest for a repeat on track with a 67-50 win over Lewisham Thunder, in a match-up many considered should have been the final.

Lewisham’s first loss of the season couldn’t have come at a worse time, as they steamrolled the regular season with a 20-0 record.

In a game that featured close to ten players who have been involved with a national team programme at some point in their career, England Under-18 guard Pharroh Gordon had 18 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists as Magic overcame an 11 point, 20 rebound, 5 block performance from Kavell Bigby-Williams.

Under 16 Final Fours

Manchester Magic made it four straight national titles at Under-16 level, with a 94-79 win over Newham Youngbloods Extreme in the final on Saturday afternoon at Sheffield EIS.

Magic’s Ayo Nuwe was named MVP as he finished with 16 of his 33 points in the third quarter, adding 12 rebounds and 6 assists.

2014 U16 Final Standings

1) Manchester Magic
2) Newham Youngbloods Extreme
3) Ipswich Basketball
4) Nott Nova

Third Place Playoff
Ipswich got past Notts Nova with 64-50 win to claim third place.

Semi-Final 1
Defending champions Manchester Magic booked their place in the final with an 83-65 victory over Notts Nova.

Manchester were led by 15 from Hamad Ali, 14 from Alex Cochrane and 13 from Kayo Redford.

Luke Mitchell had 17 points to lead Nova, with Hakim Williams and Keagan Allen adding 12 points a-piece.

Semi-Final 2
Despite going down 13-0 to open the game, Newham Youngbloods Extreme cruised to a 73-55 win over Ipswich Basketball.

Newham’s Jelani Watson-Gayle had 21 points to lead the charge, ably backed up by a 15 point, 12 rebound double double from Emmanuel Odunsi.

Mark James’ had 16 points to lead Ipswich, while Freddie Ratliffe overcame a dislocated finger to finish with 9 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 blocks.

Under-14 Final Fours

Brentwood-Fire-2014-Under-14-National-ChampionsBrentwood Fire captured the 2014 Under-14 national championship with an 85-65 win over Worthing Thunder in the final.

Ross Luckman was named MVP as he went off for a 39 point, 29 rebound double double, but the game was closer than the final score suggests.

It was a dominant final period that sealed the deal for Brentwood, who led by just seven points heading into the fourth quarter.

2014 Under-14 Final Standings

1) Brentwood Fire
2) Worthing Thunder
3) Manchester Magic
4) Leicester Warriors

Third Place Playoff
The third place playoff was called off due to a serious injury sustained to one of the Leicester players, who had to be taken to hospital.

Manchester Magic led at the time of the incident, and were awarded the victory.

Semi Final 1
Brentwood Fire got a 69-55 win over Manchester Magic behind star duo Ross Luckman and Daniel Ogoro.

Semi Final 2
Worthing Thunder got past Leicester to book their place in the final.

They overcame 32 points from Kareem Queeley, one of the most dominant Under-14s (who is still an under-13) in the country.

Brentwood Fire Image Credit: @JPChampions


  • To be updated
  • Cheshire Wire’s Joe Wilson was unreal in the final, despite the loss. Built more like a rugby player than a basketball player, and playing centre while generously listed at 6’2″ , he more than held his own against Manchester’s 6’9″/7’1″ front line.
  • I’m a big fan of Newham’s Jelani Watson-Gayle, who was impressive in both their semi-final and final. He was scoring in a multitude of ways, finishing with both hands and knocking down jumpshots, while also making some nice passes.
  • Manchester’s Pharroh Gordon is one of the best under-18 finishers in the country; the way he can get to the hoop on the break or in traffic & still finish (with either hand) is impressive.
  • Kavell Bigby-Williams is just a monster on the glass. The last three games of his I have filmed he had; 23 rebounds, 30 rebounds & 20 rebounds!
  • Huge problems with computers/live stats; originally every final was meant to have live stats but due to a variety of issues, only ended up with it being possible for U16 girls & U18 boys final. Would like to see full stats done for semi-finals too (stats I have above are from the mic announcer, who was tallying them on bits of paper himself).
  • I said this exact same thing last year, and will say it again: I think it’s time to scrap the current Final Fours format, either moving to having the semi-finals and final on consecutive days to mimic European championship style competition format, or making the semis and final completely stand alone events, a week or so apart from each other. Playing a national championship final two hours after finishing the semi is just not a good situation, it gives teams very little rest and no time to prepare, drastically reducing the quality of the final event. Additionally, if everyone knew who was in the final a week before the event, it gives both teams time to market it to their fans and organise travel arrangements to get a lot of fans in attendance (which in turn would make it more attractive to sponsors).
  • The 3rd place playoff should also be scrapped. No team wants to play a couple of hours after losing in the semi-final, and to be honest, I don’t think many people care whether the other two final four teams finish in 3rd or 4th. Both U18 teams in the third place playoff were watching the final for large parts of halftime of their game lol.
  • EB have got to stop making the Final Fours an event for junior referees. Last year they had one experienced one with a younger one, which made a big difference, but this year it was back to two young ones and it was just awful. Had players blatantly double dribbling, obvious goaltends not being called (player put his whole arm through the rim/net, no call!)…not even borderline calls.
  • Was asked the question on Twitter – is Patrick Whelan the first player to win back to back MVPs in Under-18s? Not sure if it has ever happened before – let us know if you know!
  • There was no sign of new England Basketball CEO, Huw Morgan; he was not visible at any of the Final Fours, in any age group, male or female, this season.

Did you make it to Sheffield? Thoughts?


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