Play-offs slip out of County Upper’s grasp late in game
It was close run in the end but County Upper Basketball Academy Under-19s ultimately came up just short in their quest for a top two play-off place.
Darren Johnson’s third-placed side knew they had to claim two victories from their AOC Sport Central Conference home double-header against Nottingham Academy and second-placed Stoke-on-Trent College last week.
The first game went to plan with the Bury St Edmunds side putting together a blistering second half to run away with a 106-87 victory.
It was nip-and-tuck all the way against Stoke-on-Trent, but there was late heartbreak for Johnson’s side as they fell four points behind in the final two minutes in a 86-82 loss.
It left them unable to overhaul Stoke going into their last match of the campaign, at home to second-bottom Gateway College from Leicester on Wednesday.
Last Wednesday’s fixture against Nottingham saw County Upper win the first quarter 28-20, while the visitors won the second quarter by eight points also to lead to deadlock at half-time: 43-43..
The third quarter saw County Upper open up a 17-point lead for 35-18. Nottingham Academy never backed down but were unable to cut the lead enough.
County Upper were led in scoring by Kelechi Asuzu with 19 points and supported by Eivis Kriunas and Bradley Day with 17 points and 15 points respectively.
Things were even closer in last Thursday’s match with Stoke with the half finishing with the visitors holding a narrow 37-35 lead.
County Upper gained a 12 point lead in the third quarter but Stoke responded well, going on runs themselves to bring the scoreboard to 60-60.
But with the fourth quarter seeing both teams trading baskets, the hosts came up just short.
Jordan Boyd finished with 19 points and supported by Kelechi Azusu, John Bourne and Bradley Day with 17 points, 13 points and 12 points respectively.