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City of London Academy 59 – 51 John Madejski Academy

League leaders and the only undefeated programme in the WEABL JMA Rockets, made the trip to South London to City of London Academy on Wednesday afternoon with the home side edging a great game from start to finish 59-51.

The first quarter saw JMA take an early 8-4 lead behind strong inside play from Anabel Latorre-Ciri, CoLA responded with this season’s breakout player, Simona Henshaw, asserting her inside/outside presence with seven quick points to leave the game close at 15-16 after 1.

The second quarter was all about two runs as CoLA managed to get JMA in foul trouble early on, converting from the charity stripe and getting some easy put back finishes to run out to an eight point lead at the halfway point of the quarter.

JMA were not deterred and came roaring back with a triple from Mia Thompson and then some excellent play from Jessie Ford late on to leave the home side with a narrow two point lead at the half.

The third quarter saw young Isi Ozzy-Momodu assert herself on the game, the energetic 16 year old with great length seemed to cause JMA all kinds of issues around the basket, scoring a team high 6 points in the quarter and hauling in 7 rebounds.

JMA managed to keep it close with Sitota Espinosa continually slicing and dicing to the basket. Saw the quarter end with CoLA having a narrow 4 point lead.

The final stanza was back and forth in consistent theme with the first three quarters, the game was close right down until the last 30 seconds with CoLA having one more key stop to gain a 4 point lead, the lead then stretch to 8 points as JMA were forced to foul to try to regain the ball.

CoLA head coach Jackson Gibbons said: “That was a really fun game to coach, both teams seemed really up for it and the whole vibe in the gym was great.

“JMA switched to a zone in the second half which most teams have done against us, the girls have finally cracked it and understand how to play against zones, we’ve faced so much of it now, it’s actually turned into a strength we feel.

“Credit JMA, they are a really strong team and we were fortunate to come away with the win.”

CoLA’s leading scorers were Mia Jaye Sarkodee-Adoo 14 points, Isi Ozzy-Momodu with 13 points (14 rebounds) and captain Adaobi Nebuwa 10 points.

JMA top scorers were Anabel Latorre-Ciria 18 points, Sitota Espinosa with 9 points and Carmen Moreno with 8 points personal.

Both teams head into the final week of the season with a lot to play for as JMA host Copleston who are the only team that can now prevent them taking the Southern Conference, whilst CoLA host Barking Abbey in what will prove to be the deciding game for third place.