College crown a 10 month campaign
HACKNEY Community College s all-conquering basketball teams ended their longest ever season by retaining the English Schools national cup for a fourth successive year – but only by the narrowest of margins! The Hackney mens team overcame arch rivals Barki
HACKNEY Community College's all-conquering basketball teams ended their longest ever season by retaining the English Schools national cup for a fourth successive year - but only by the narrowest of margins!
The Hackney mens team overcame arch rivals Barking Abbey by a single point, 73-72 in a thrilling final, overturning an earlier season defeat by the Barking team in a group match in the same competition, when they lost by 18 points.
It inflicted Hackney's only defeat and gave a huge psychological advantage to Barking who remained unbeaten in all the matches going into the final.
It was the second successive year that the College had overcome Barking Abbey in the final and Faruq Bilal was Hackney's MVP with an outstanding display.
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Head coach Sol Ayinla was delighted with the win: "In many ways, I view this as our best season, as all our successes have been achieved under difficult circumstances. It's been the rawest and least experienced group of players the College has had in the last six years.
"We have lost Tony Garbelotto's considerable input, but he has still supported where possible. Andrea Norton stepped in to coach and did a fantastic job in masterminding our LMBL Cup win, but the season running into July has stretched us to the limit. I'm tremendously proud of all our players, coaches and support staff, for whom it's been 10 months of tremendously hard work.''
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The season should have ended in May for the Falkirk Street based team, who overcame a 20 point deficit to beat Hackney White Heat in the derby final of the LMBL Cup, to win the trophy for the first time in six attempts.
This proved consolation for not defending the LMBL league title, following a narrow six point defeat by Rocco's Raiders, who went through the campaign unbeaten and were worthy successors to Hackney College.
Hackney College under-19's overcame Moulton College Academy, Northampton, 114 points to 79 to reach the ESBBA final. The same two sides met the following week to decide the British College National Academy final and again Hackney finished just a point to the good to lift another cup by a single point, 92-91.
Meanwhile, the Hackney College women added the BCS National Cup to their BCS national title. They came from behind to snatch a closely fought win over Newcastle College Academy, by four points., 75-71.
Unfortunately, Hackney's under-19 women were unable to take all three National Academy titles, comprehensively beaten by a powerful Barking Abbey side containing a GB senior international in Harriet Yea and several GB under 20 internationals. Barking Abbey won 86-47.
The winning HCCA squads were:- Under 19 men: Darryl Bethune, Ali Fullah, Michael Ochareobia, Faruq Bilal, Nathan Ashley, Kelvin Omonfomah, Aiden Saunders, Will Saunders, Jojo Owusu, Jordan Parrish, David Makule, Kingsley Laudat, Anthony Okerefor, Lewis Haywood, Pierre Matthews.
Under 19 women: Jo Djoboga, Lorrell Shirley, Liberty Youngs, Fatumah Lwazi, Hadijah Lwasi, Storm Adams, Rachel James, Dorcia Edwards, Raquel Lawal, Gabby Boateng, Maureen Odiambo.