U19 National League
Lampton School 92
Uxbridge College 86
This Lampton School team made up of mostly U16 and U18 players seem to be a team very comfortable with its depth and lack of star power and they looked that way in a 92-86 victory over
Uxbridge College last week. It may have been the second close game for Lampton in the past week, but they have both been wins and this one really shows that hard work is paying off. “This team’s made big plays when games have been close late,” Lampton coach Alan Keane said. Joel Joseph scored a season-high 33 points and Dalvin Nyack added 29, including many big baskets down the stretch.
Floor leader Hakim Nsubuga had this to say about Nyack’s performance,
“He’s the guy you have to have if you’re going to win a national championship, his strength and ability to score is outstanding”.
Rebounding talent Wesley Bezuidenhout also commented on Joseph’s big performance,
“He can’t be stopped and I know I’m always looking for him. He’s been shooting the ball great.”
Lampton have had a lot of success this season against some of the better teams in the country. They beat two of the top teams at home – Greig City and Uxbridge College. Smart play from the reliable Zabi Osmani and speed demon Shakir Rahim have the West London School buzzing about basketball this season. After the game Rahim claimed,
“I thought as far as the fight and the will to compete, this was probably one of the more consistent games we’ve played all season.”
Uxbridge kept the game close throughout and in fact got out to a 16-0 start that shook the Lampton supports. However a magnificent fight back in the second quarter allowed Lampton to close the first half on an 8-2 run to take a 40-34 lead. The second half saw both teams trade basket for basket and for the 150 or so spectators a spectacular finish was on the cards. With Lampton hanging onto a slender 2 point lead point guards Viom Wadhwa and Rahim took control of proceedings and found power-house Nyack for two easy baskets to secure a magnificent win.
As the final buzzer sounded the Lampton court was flooded by the 150+ supports and scenes of joy were shared with the players. Memories that will live in the minds of all involved were shared in the celebrations. Now on to the playoffs. Exciting times ahead for Lampton Basketball.
U18 National League Playoffs
Lampton School 96
Dulwich College 47
Lampton U18 for the second year in a row makes it to the last 8 teams in the country. An easier than expected win over Dulwich College highlights the improvements and the strength of this squad.
Wes Bezuidenhout scored 17 points, going 4 of 5 outside the arc and connecting on all three attempts in the second half, when Lampton scored 17 unanswered points.
Lampton guard Jimmy Singh, the youngest Lampton player at 14 years old said:
“We’re not a big 3-point shooting team, but, believe it or not, we have 3-point shooters on this team. “Our philosophy is very defensive minded however we have shown we can score with the best of them.”
Singh added that was reflected in the scoring from the Lampton front line starters. Team leader Hakim Nsubuga had 14 points and nine rebounds. Dalvin Nyack scored 16 points, and Joel Joseph added 12. Speedy point guard Shakir Rahim finished with 10 of his 12 points in the second half, while back up players Aurimas Stockunas, JJ Grewal, Jay Ramgi, Lewis Bailey and Nenad Djurdjevic combined for over 30 points. Major highlights of the game came from both Hakim Nsubuga and Nenad Djurdjeic as they excited the crowd with electrifying slam dunks.
“It was just fantastic,” Lampton assistant coach Viom Wadhwa said of his team’s defensive play. “I thought we switched. We challenged shots. We got steals. Our energy level just rose”.
Head coach, Alan Keane, said:
“For us to get to the national final 4 we just have to take care of the ball and play like intelligent warriors. We turned the ball over a lot at the end of the game. I think if we would just take care of the ball and spread the court out a little more, we will be just fine.”
“On any given night, it’s another player that steps up,” Rahim said. “You never know how you are going to win games in this league, but as long as you win them, that’s all that matters.”
It must be noted that Lampton U19 are also still in contention to qualify for the national quarter final as are the School’s U15 team, whilst the U14 team is currently one stage away from the national semi-finals also.