For the first time in school history an U19 Girls basketball team has become Co-National Champions. Despite the coronavirus, the County Upper school basketball team, with County Upper Academy and West Suffolk Wolves members, were announced Co-National Champions alongside Richard Hush College.
In County’s first year of adding an U19 Girls Basketball Academy to go alongside their already successful U19 Boys Basketball Academy, the Girls U19 Team have made it through to the last game of the school’s season in 2020.
To get to the Finals County Upper faced off against Holy Trinity from Crawley in the Elite 8 stages of the competition. Starting the game strong, County Upper were able to take a commanding 42 points to 15 lead heading into halftime. Holy Trinity Came out strong in the 3rd quarter trading with County Upper, but a convincing 22points – 4 points 4th quarter, saw County Upper seal the game and make it through to the National Semi – Finals where they would play Greig City Academy; one of the most decorated High Schools for Girls Basketball.
Against Greg City, County Upper had to dig deep as they were challenged both on the defencive and offencive end of the court throughout the whole game. In a game that saw both teams trading baskets from the get go, you knew it was going to be a competitive game. It was at the start of the 4th quarter where Greg City began to pull away with the game, taking an 11 point lead (39 – 50) with only 5 minutes remaining. Slowly finding a way, County Upper found themselves within 6 points of the lead (46 – 52) with only 1 minute remaining on the clock; it was at this point where County Upper’s defence changed the game. It was now reduced to a tiny 4 point difference (48 – 52), due to a steal and quick layup from Grace Spooner, 45 seconds left on the clock. County Upper were again able to pick up another steal on the next play with Kayleigh Brown getting fouled in the act of shooting. Brown made both free throws; County Upper then found themselves within 2 points (50 – 52), 30 seconds left on the clock. On the next play we picked up their 3rd steel in a row and Lizzy Sanders was able to pick up another easy score to square the game at 52 – 52, with only 9 seconds remaining. On the last possession of the game it was again the defence of County Upper that led to their 4th steel in a row. This lead to Lizzy Sanders getting fouled in the act of shooting, with only 2 seconds of the game remaining, making one of the two free throws. County Upper took the lead letting the time expire and stamping their place in the National Final. What an exciting way to qualify!
A week before the National Finals, England was placed into lockdown preventing County Upper taking on Richard Huish College from Devon. Last week it was decided by Basketball England that both teams would become CO-National Champions. Not everything is so negative in 2020 after all!