JR. NBA Basketball England League in London Comes to an End
The second edition of the Jr. NBA Basketball England League ended yesterday at the Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton with St. Bonaventure’s and Harris Academy-South Norwood as part of Greenhouse Sports respectively emerging victorious in the co-ed and girls-only leagues. The two winning teams, representing the NBA franchises, the Sacramento Kings and the Chicago Bulls, prevailed and were crowned Champions by WNBA legend Allison Feaster.
Ahead of the two finals, Feaster hosted a Jr. NBA Clinic session, teaching children basketball fundamentals and the values of sportsmanship and teamwork. The event also included a shooting contest presented by Spalding, which was won by Tishanie Simpson and Chanel Babb, two young students aged 12 and 11 years old from Greig City Academy. Each received a trophy and a Spalding basketball for their efforts.
The tournament, a secondary school basketball programme for boys and girls aged 11-12, was organised by the NBA in association with Basketball England and tipped off last November. It saw the participation of 30 London-based secondary schools, which battled it out on an eight-game season followed by single-elimination playoffs and yesterday’s league championship. Each school represented one of the 30 NBA teams and received corresponding NBA team branded T-shirts for their games.
Spalding Shooting Contest winners Tishanie Simpson and Chanel Babb spoke after their victory. Chanel said: “This contest has showed what we can do and how we can work together.”
The two young winners thanked the Greig City Academy’s basketball team manager, Mr. Daniel Bowmaker and Tishanie added: “It was good, I feel like my shooting has improved.”
Harris Academy managed to win the girls-only league, but lost in the final to St. Bonaventure’s in the co-ed league. Their coach, Michael Wright, was very proud of both teams after their performances: “It’s been hard work, but they got to their goal in the end. The girls practiced hard for this and now it’s good to see the reward of it.”
On the impact that the competitions can have on girls playing basketball, coach Wright said: “This is excellent! We have so many girls playing basketball. The Jr NBA is really promoting this sport among girls.”
St. Bonaventure’s coach Paolo Ancora also praised the dedication of his team, which triumphed in the co-ed league. He said: “The fact that the hard work has paid off is brilliant. They play with a smile on their face and it’s good to see that it has all come to fruition.”
Feaster commented on the impact of the programme, saying “The important thing about an initiative like the Jr. NBA League is to plant that first seed of passion for the game and the skills will follow. It was great seeing the kids’ determination and excitement in the finals today and a big congratulations to the winners.”