U16 boys impress during Magic double-header in Manchester
The U16 boys faced a challenging double-header against Trafford Magic and Manchester Magic as they played both high-flyers inside 24 hours on the road.
Facing Trafford first, the Eagles went down 75-65 but emerged with huge credit after they pushed their opponents all the way. Enduring a nightmare 19-3 start, they hit back hard and managed to trim the gap to within just 5 points early in the last quarter.
However, having exerted so much effort to get back into the contest, the hosts managed to score a couple of clutch buckets to ease clear in the last 90 seconds.
Jakub Bobkowski found the hot-hand and netted 23 points, with George Merrifield also impressing with 12 points and 4 assists.
Meanwhile against the unbeaten and National Cup champions, Manchester Magic, the Eagles were undone 70-53 – a far cry from the two 50-point losses they endured early in the season.
Bobkowski continued his scoring touch with a team-high 13 points while captain Jesse Osarenkhoe had 14 rebounds, with the Eagles missing 13 free-throws in the contest.
“The lads should be proud they played seven and a half good quarters of basketball against two teams who are part of a top four of clubs that are a staggering 44-1 against the rest of the league,” commented Paul Nilsen, who stepped up from Assistant with Coach Chloe Gaynor on WBBL duty.
“We dug ourselves a massive hole against Trafford but we showed composure and mental resilience to hit the reset button and come back. They were scrambling in the last quarter, but we just didn’t have enough in the tank to quite get it done.
“To have to head home and return to the same venue the next morning to face Manchester Magic was super tough. Yet we arguably played as good, if not better against the best team in the country.
“We held them to their second lowest tally of the season and had we made a few more free-throws and cut down on unforced turnovers it would have been single digits.
“It was a great team effort and we’ve learned plenty about ourselves as individuals and as a group, also showing tangible improvement, all of which is the purpose of Academy basketball,” concluded Nilsen.