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Bury St Edmunds County Upper Basketball Academy Under-19 Women's team line up a shot at a second national championship title with historic trophy



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They have written their names into their Bury St Edmunds school’s sporting history books this month but there has been little time for the County Upper Basketball Academy’s Under-19 Women’s players to celebrate it.

Instead, the now AoC Sport National Basketball Women’s Knockout Cup champions have been focused on turning one countrywide trophy into two to really get the party started.

Darren Johnson’s side will tip-off at the National Basketball Performance Centre in Manchester against Holy Trinity Basketball Academy on Friday in a bid to be crowned the U19 Women’s English Schools National champions.

County Upper School Basketball Academy side with coach Darren Johnson after winning the AoC Sport National Basketball Women's Knockout Cup Picture: Contributed
County Upper School Basketball Academy side with coach Darren Johnson after winning the AoC Sport National Basketball Women's Knockout Cup Picture: Contributed

Regardless of the result against the Crawley-based elite programme though, their coach is full of admiration for what they have achieved this season.

“I could not be prouder of our team in winning this achievement and becoming the first team in County Upper School’s history to win a national final,” he said, in the wake of last Wednesday’s 77-21 victory against Norwood Basketball Academy at the University of Wolverhampton.

“We have had a few adversities to overcome this season, and although these stood in our way our team have found ways to overcome them and in doing so been crowned national champions.

“It’s also not bad for a school from a small town like Bury St Edmunds to go on and win a national championship."

He added: “Although this is such a great achievement our season is still very much alive as we hope to complete a double national championship season against a very strong Holy Trinity Basketball Academy side.”

At Wolverhampton, he said the scoreline did not really reflect what a tough final it was.

They had trailed to an early four-point lead, 7-3, before responding well by nullifying their London-based opponents’ offence and picking holes in their defence to go on multiple runs.

It led to a 20-point lead by the end of the first quarter of 27-7.

With this momentum combined with County Upper continually denying Norwood the opportunities to find any rhythm or consistency in the game they powered their way to a 77-21 win to become the school’s first ever national champions.

County Upper were led in scoring by Lizzy Sanders with 35 points and who was supported by Alex Popova and Grace Spooner with 13 points and 10 points respectively.