Southwark Pride Take Down Solent for Division 1 Playoff Title -

Southwark Pride Take Down Solent for Division 1 Playoff Title

Southwark Pride completed the Cup and Playoff title double with a 53-67 win over Team Solent Kestrels in the WNBL Division 1 Playoff Final on Sunday at the National Basketball Performance Centre in Manchester.

Southwark defended the Playoff title from last year, not to mention taking the WEABL title this season with almost the identical squad.

Toyosi Abiola picked up MVP as she finished with 26 points on 9 of 12 shooting – 16 of which came in the fourth, whilst Emerald Ekpiteta had 17 points and Ire Ozzy-Momodu hauled in 13 rebounds.

“It’s amazing,” Abiola said. “I feel very happy for me and my team, we worked really hard to get here, so I’m happy. I’m just so proud of the girls and it’s the best feeling in the world.

Southwark Head Coach Jackson Gibbons felt Solent were worthy oppositions:

“They’ve been great, consistent the whole year, every time we thought it was our time to take the lead in the league, they would just turn the screw again and pull away, so congrats to them they had a great season.

“I just felt that if our girls could show our best today we’d be in with a chance of winning and I’m really proud of our girls and their performance in the final today.”

The result was a repeat of the match-up between the two teams in the National Cup final in January, however, this one was a lot closer.

A 15-5 4th quarter run from the Pride was enough to seal the final clash of the season between Southwark and Solent. Evenly poised at 45-45 early in the final period, the Kestrels went cold at the worst time possible to seal their fate.

But for the young Southwark side, the title was another magic moment in the final season before they graduate to the next steps in their career.

Gibbons reflected on the season:

“I’ll look back on it as a group of teenagers that bought into a culture and a system, and sacrificed, and they were disciplined, and most importantly, above everything else, they were selfless.

“They don’t look at individual honours, if they can buy in, they regardless of talent, they’re going to find a way to be successful and that was our ethos all year, and they did that so I’m really proud of them.”

Kestrels were led by 11 points a piece from Jodi Jerram and Ekemini Essien.

Box score.

Image Credit: Mansoor Ahmed/Ahmedphotos

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