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WEABL Week 18 Round Up

Week 18 signals the end of the regular season and WEABL glory goes to Charnwood College and City of London Academy as they claimed the Northern and Southern Conferences respectively. Neither team will want to settle for that though, with a playoff title the main aim for all the teams involved in the post season!

Southern Conference

The Southern Conference ended in possibly the most thrilling way possible as the top two sides in the standings, City of London Academy and Copleston High School went toe-to-toe for the title. CoLA had the head-to-head tiebreaker on their side, but it was a slender one at just 6-points from an OT win at home in January. The noise inside Copleston started at impressive levels, and grew significantly as the game progressed to create a fitting environment for a title decider.

A low scoring first half dominated by high level defence, 7-7 at the game’s first change gave way to a narrow 21-15 advantage for Copleston by the half. That difference was nearly erased by the end of the 3rd as CoLa fought back to within a single basket going into the 4th, with the game exploding into life from there. Multiple lead changes occurred throughout the quarter with neither side able to build a lead of more than 2 points throughout. At 42-41 Copleston and with just seconds left on the clock, Jade Guidolin-Duncan was able to grab the win and the Conference title for CoLA following a closely-contested left hand layup. Copleston had a few ticks of the clock left to create a miracle, but came up just short to fall 43-42.

After the game Copleston Coach Nick Drane said “What a great game. Losing sucks, but we went to overtime with them at their place and lost by one at home. People need to recognize that CoLA have probably been the best programme in the country at the academy/u18 level for about four years now – and this season we are right there with them. Although we lost, this performance gives me a great deal of confidence as we go into the post season. All credit to Jackson and his team, as always they were a class act on and off the court.”

There was also drama in the league’s other match as Itchen fell just a point short of qualifying to the playoffs after a 67-57 win over Oaklands. The South Coast side needed to win by 11 or more to secure the head-to-head over their opponents and sneak into the Conference’s 5th and final seed. However, they came up just short by the narrowest of margins but can take heart in at least securing their first win of the season.

Itchen were led by 16 points from Lauren Green, Luisa San Juan had 15 more. Khia Lee enjoyed a game high 17 points for the Wolves.

Itchen Head Coach Vicky Milner commented on the game “It was a bitter sweet ending to the WEABL regular season, we gained our first win but were disappointed we did not stretch the lead far enough. The girls have worked hard this season and despite injuries, tough losses they have continued to fight and compete in an extremely talented league.”

Playoffs

With the regular season now completed, the field for the WEABL Playoffs is now set. With the two conference’s containing an unbalanced number of teams, the format isn’t a traditional 4 v 4. Instead, the top three teams from the North will match up with the top five sides from the South. The first round games are as follows:

(#1 South) City of London Academy v Oaklands College (#5 South)
(#1 North) Charnwood College v Barking Abbey School (#4 South)
(#2 South) Copleston High School v Myerscough College (#3 North)
(#2 North) Manchester Mystics v John Madejski Academy (#3 South)