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WEABL Final Fours recap – 22 March, plus Championship Game preview

After two rounds of exciting competition, the WEABL now has two finalists for this season.

#4 seeds Itchen have upset both Nottingham and Copleston to keep their fairy tale run alive, though beating South #1 seeds and defending champs CoLA will be no easy task.

We take a look at both of yesterday’s contest, plus there’s a look ahead to what’s in store for next week’s final, with a full preview set to go live early next week.

#2 Copleston High School 62-70 #4 Itchen College

South #2 seeds Copleston couldn’t reach their first final since 2019/20 as they lost out at home against Itchen, with a 70-62 final score.

Erin Caldwell and Faye Endean both scored 29 points last week as Itchen beat Nottingham, and the pair came through strong once again to drop 20 and 14 respectively.

Anna Nevison also came to the party with 19 points as three of Itchen’s offensive weapons all produced.

Saruna Gudza (19pts) and Liv Forster (18pts) led the scoring for Copleston, who bow out one win short of the final.

#1 City of London Academy – Southwark 66-39 #3 Oaklands College

In sharp contrast to their 105-27 blowout of Sheffield a week ago, CoLA ground out a low-scoring 66-39 victory against Oaklands College yesterday.

Sealing yet another appearance in the WEABL final, their last absence being in 2017/18, CoLA enjoyed production from Emily O’Connell (15pts) and Blanche Toualeu (14pts), with the pair combining for three quarters of Oaklands’ total.

The visitors were led by Eva Karasaite and Miriam Mendez (8pts each), with Daisy Porter adding 7 more.

Final Preview

The teams are now in place for next week’s WEABL final.

For CoLA, this is familiar territory.

WEABL winners in 2021/22, 2019/20 (co-champs with Copleston) and 2016/17, the London programme were also beaten finalists in 2018/19, making this CoLA’s fifth final in the WEABL’s eight year history.

On the other end of the spectrum, this is not only Itchen’s first trip to the WEABL’s championship game, but their first appearance in the playoffs.

After entering the league in 2018/19 following wins in both the AoC National Cup and National Championship, the South coast programme have gone from strength to strength in recent seasons, with next week’s final demonstrating the progress made in the last five years.

CoLA only lost once in the regular season but it was a 78-68 defeat in Itchen, with the Londoners sealing their home game 70-49.

That means it’s all to play for in the third and final instalment of what has been a great match up, with this latest meeting set to play out on the biggest stage of all.

This year’s final will take place on Wednesday 29 March 2023 at Manchester’s National Basketball Performance Centre, with a 2pm tip.

Tickets to attend the final are free, but still need to be purchased for capacity reasons.

To secure your ticket, please head to the Basketball England shop by clicking here.

Main image credit – Luke Simcock