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City of London Acadmey vs Copleston High School

City of London Academy squared off against undefeated Southern Conference front runners Copleston High School on Wednesday afternoon in what proved to be an instant classic for the packed crowd of over 150 students at CoLA, with home side just hanging on for an overtime victory 82-76.

In a nip and tuck first half both teams really seemed to be feeling each other out, CoLA took a narrow five point lead into the break, although the warning signs were there for the home team as U18 GB international Esther Little led all scorers with 18 points at the half. The half saw CoLA open up a 13 point lead at one point only for Little and sharp shooting Charlotte Redhead to pull the visitors right back into the game with the scores tied going into the last two minutes. Both teams had chances to win the game in the final 20 seconds, notably a buzzer beating three from Becky Harwood-Bellis rattled in and out to leave the home crowd stunned but seemingly relieved. 

Overtime saw both teams stay aggressive, huge 3pt shots from Jade Guidolin-Duncan and Megan Haines gave the home side a narrow win in what will go down as a classic game for both programs. Copleston Head Coach Nick Drane had this to say: “Massive credit to CoLA, that’s two overtime wins for their program in five days, in addition to having great talent they have huge character. I thought we did a fantastic job of not folding in the 3rd quarter and showed real character too. I think these two teams will be in the at the end of the season”

 CoLA Head Coach Jackson Gibbons summarised by saying, “In a game like this there really is no loser as both teams learn so much from the experience. There are some really strong teams in the Southern Conference this year and it’s wide open now for the playoff spots, it’s literally all to play for now with the last few games coming up. Copleston showed immense character to battle back in what was a very tough environment to play in, hats off to them. I was really proud of our girls application to the cause today, they moved past any adversity and excecuted really well, especially down the stretch, very porud of the resilience” 

CoLA had a very balanced scoring attack with five players in double figures, led by Haines with 20, Amelia Sandie 16, Jade Guidolin-Duncan 15, Simona Henshaw 13 and Maya Hyacienth with 12. Copleston were paced by the games top scorer, Esther Little with a huge 36 points and Redhead supported from long range with 19 points personal tally.

Next week CoLA make the journey up to Hertfordshire to face Oaklands whilst Copleston have a few weeks off until they host CoLA in the return fixture on the 26th February.