Coach’s pride as CU go so close to historic semis

QUARTER-FINALISTS: The County Upper Girls Under-14s team
QUARTER-FINALISTS: The County Upper Girls Under-14s team

GIRLS UNDER-14S

NATIONAL LEAGUE

PLAY-OFF 
QUARTER-FINAL

County Upper 51 
Sevenoaks Suns 60

Coach Darren Johnson spoke of his overwhelming pride in his team after they fell just nine points short of making history for a Suffolk side in the National League play-offs, exiting in the last eight to a stubborn Sevenoaks.

Fighting hard in the first quarter, while having to accept some tough refereeing calls made against them, hosts County Upper trailed 16-11 the weekend before last.

Things turned from bad to worse for Johnson’s side in the second quarter as top scorer Alex Popova was fouled out with two minutes remaining, and Sevenoaks took an 11-point lead.

County Upper fought back though and traded baskets with the away team before Sevenoaks went on a 6-2 run to open a 15 point lead, their biggest of the game (29-24).

But the hostsresponded with a 10-5 run of their own cutting the lead back to 10 points (44-34) at the end of the third quarter.

With Sevenoaks still holding a slender eight-point lead they were able to go on a quick 6-2 point run to take a 12 point lead into the final three minutes (56-44) before CU rounded off their season with the a last ditch effort to get the win with a 7-4 run, but just fell short at the final hurdle.

“Although we were unable to get the win, as a team and a programme we have taken some huge strides forward this season and I am really proud of what our girls have achieved,” said coach Johnson.

“Becoming the first Suffolk team in over 12 years to win the East Conference outright combined with finishing the season ranked 6th in the country is still a huge achievement, considering our girls National League programme only started four seasons ago. I am truly proud of these girls as they have battled hard all season and have managed to get to the last eight in the country.”