- National Teams
With the opening round of the playoffs all done, we look ahead to the Elite Eight match-ups taking place on Wednesday
Myerscough College (1) vs Barking Abbey School (4)
Arguably the most anticipated round up of the Elite Eight, number one North seed Myerscough will face off against fourth seed from the South, Barking Abbey.
Myerscough cruised in their opener, routing Moulton 107-44, with all players seeing minutes and seven players reaching double digits.
“Hopefully the game will be a huge showcase for the EABL,” Myerscough Head Coach Neal Hopkins.
“We know we will be up against it but I am confident my guys can push Barking all the way – we worked hard to earn the number 1 seed we are not going to give it up easily.”
Barking Abbey got an eight point victory over Hackney, after a late comeback saw HCC close the gap. With the return of their Senior Men’s Division 1 players, Josh Steel led BA with 22 points, while Nathan Smith had 14 and Akwasi Yeboah 10.
The two teams have never met before in any competition.
“We expect the game to be extremely difficult,” BA Head Coach Lloyd Gardner said, looking ahead to Wednesday.
“They have great pedigree, having won the North Conference, and we’ve seen how well they’ve done in the AOC Cup Final Four as well, we’re aware of how much of a challenge this will be on the road but at the same time we’re looking forward to the game. Myerscough are pretty deep, they have multiple players at each position and are well coached as well. They’re a quality programme and hopefully it will be a great game.”
Preston College (2) vs Copleston High School (3)
Northern second seed Preston got past Allerton in their opening playoff game to set up a match up with the third seed from the South, Copleston, who escaped Plymouth in their opening post-season game.
Preston will have their work cut out stopping EABL leading duo Sam Newman (30.3ppg, 4.8rpg, 4.8apg) and Luke Mascall-Wright (23.8ppg, 10.2rpg, 5.1apg).
“We are going to do our homework ahead of the Elite Eight match-up,” stated Preston Head Coach Malcom Leak.
“I know that they got a guard in Sam Newman who is explosive and scores at will so we are going to go back to the drawing board and work on our defensive assignments.”
Meanwhile, Copleston’s focus will be on Preston’s trio of Kyle Carey (20.7gg), Cameron King (10.4ppg, 11.2rpg) and Melkisedek Moreaux (19.4ppg, 9.8rpg).
“Preston are a very powerful team,” Copleston Head Coach Nick Drane said.
“Looking at the game tape we’ve studied and from coaches we’ve spoken to, they’re a very big, physical, aggressive and athletic team, with Kyle Carey who’s been filling it up all year, Cameron King, and Melkisedek Moreaux, to give ourselves a chance on the road we’ve got to keep them off the glass and try to dictate the tempo.”
SGS College (1) vs Milton Keynes College (4)
Number one seed in the South, SGS College, had no trouble dispatching of their first round match up, EHWLC (98-63), to face off against fourth seed from the North, Milton Keynes College.
Milton Keynes, who got a five point win, 71-66, over a tough Derby College/Noel Baker side, will look to stop SGS’ “Big Three” of Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye (18.5ppg, 6.0rpg, 5.5apg), Deane Williams (16.4ppg, 12.9rpg) and Tamas Okros (16.4ppg, 8.0rpg).
“It was a good performance for our team and now we are one step away from reaching the EABL final four for the third consecutive year which is one of the main goals we set for our team at the start of the season,” SGS College’s Tamas Okros said after their win last Wednesday.
“We got to take it one game at a time. MK are a tough opponent and we will need to put together a strong performance against them.”
SGS Coach Andreas Kapoulas added:
“Milton Keynes are a well coached organised side and we will need to put together a very solid team performance. We have ahead of us the opportunity to make a third consecutive EABL final four which shows the consistency and quality of our programme. We had to deal with some injuries but hopefully we can have everyone on time for the game this Wednesday.”
Milton Keynes College are led by reigning MVP Michael New Jr, who’s averaging 23.7ppg, 7.6rpg and 4.6apg.
Itchen College (2) vs Charnwood College (3)
Second seeded Itchen College from the South will take on third seed Charnwood College in their Elite Eight match up, in what both teams will hope to be a competitive encounter after cruising in their playoff openers last week.
Itchen dominated, getting past Canterbury 74-38, while Charnwood blew out Loreto 105-67
Charnwood Head Coach, Josh Merrington, wants defence to be their focus:
“I was really pleased with our defensive effort today,” he said after their Sweet 16 win, where leading scorer Josh McSwiggan had 26 points, 7 above his season average of 19.3ppg.
“We will be required to play defence at a similar level next week if we want to defeat a very good Itchen team.”
Itchen will once again look to play team ball, led by Elliot James (16.4ppg) and Charlie Coombes (17.4ppg).
“Charwood are a very talented team who can hurt you in a number of different ways, they have versatile scorers in Josh Mcswiggan and Hafeez Abdul which allow them to exploit mismatches, it will be a big challenge for us defensively,” Itchen Head Coach Matt Guymon said.
“With so much on the line I am expecting a tough, physical game that should be a great advertisement for elite junior basketball in this country.”
The game will be the only Elite Eight match up to take place on Friday.
Image credit: Abdul Kassim Photography