The U14 Girls headed into the Junior National Finals full of confidence after an incredible season that had left them unbeaten so far in the regular season and playoffs. Ultimately, the weekend ended in disappointment, but in reflection the U14 Girls and Coach Kev Manning will look back on a season of growth and unprecedented junior success with pride.
Ipswich faced London Youngblood Lionesses in the Semi Final, and thanks to a strong first half and double-doubles from four players were able to dispatch the London team and secure a place in the final. Manchester presented a different proposition to what Ipswich had experienced in the season so far, and the final was a low-scoring affair compared to most of the team's games this season. Ultimately, after a strong start, the home-town Manchester team was able to secure a 7 point win, but Ipswich demonstrated quality, commitment and fully embodied the Ipswich style of basketball.
From everyone at Ipswich Basketball Club we would like to express our pride in their achievements to Coach Kev Manning and his coaching staff and players, for what has been a fantastic season. We would also like to congratulate Manchester Mystics on their performance and achievements this season.
The below game recaps are from the Basketball England Recaps
Final – Manchester Mystics 53 v 46 Ipswich
Captain Liv Forster’s huge double-double of 23 points and 13 rebounds was enough to swing a low scoring U14 Girls Playoff Final in Manchester’s favour as they beat Ipswich 53-46.
Despite Forster’s efforts, it was Ipswich who enjoyed the best of the opening frame as they moved into a 16-13 lead behind baskets from Olivia Manning (12 points, nine rebounds) and Hannah Gray (12 points, 20 rebounds).
Manchester would rally in the 2nd though, working hard to get themselves back on level terms and they got their reward midway through the quarter. Eleni Vourliotis’ (eight points, five rebounds) layup pushed the Magic ahead by 1, a position they’d retain to head to the half time break up 24-22.
Forster would then help to solidify her side’s position as she scored 8 points personal in the 3rd as Magic took the frame 17-12. A seven-point lead with 10 minutes to go made Manchester far from a certainty to take the contest, but they showed significant poise in the 4th quarter to earn the title of Playoff champions.
Semi Final - Ipswich 90 v 61 London Youngblood Lioness Cubs
Incredibly, four separate players all recorded a double-double performance for Ipswich as they swept aside London Youngblood Lioness Cubs for a spot in tomorrow’s Final.
Yasmin Edwards (26 points, 10 rebounds, four steals), Hannah Gray (17 points, 14 rebounds, 7 steals), Eva Asemota (16 points, 24 rebounds, five assists) and Olivia Manning (14 points, 16 rebounds) all managed to contribute heavily to the Ipswich cause, pushing them over the line despite a huge 32 point, 20 rebound dub-dub from London’s Fatmata Janneh.
The win was a shot across the bows of tomorrow’s opponents Manchester as the Youngblood’s were beaten finalists last year and went 15-1 in the regular season. Still, Ipswich enjoyed an unbeaten regular season of their own for a reason and they’re now just 1 game away from a perfect campaign.