March 8 2014 Latest news:
Robin Cottle, Reporter
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Newham All Star Sports Academy’s (NASSA) successful season continued as their men’s under-18 team qualified for the National Cup Final.
They won 92-84 at last year’s champions Manchester Magic. It completed a spirited comeback from NASSA to clinch their place in the final after a slow start.
Magic were 12 points up at the end of the first quarter in spite of solid baskets from Ben Maranan, Javel Small, Kevin Boatey and Sydney Ekio.
Newham were able to make up some ground in the next period, and solid offensive rebounds from Kasparas Baksys, Kayode Dawkins, Adomas Zemgulis, Matthew Faucher and Carlton Kuponiyi slowed Manchester’s momentum to ensure the half-time score was 42-37 to the hosts.
An inspiring team talk from coach Aurimas Verbukas saw NASSA storm into a 10-point lead going into the final quarter and it was a lead they never looked like relinquishing.
A number of three-pointers proved crucial and the defence proved too strong for Manchester to break down.
Director Natasha Hart said: “This is a great day for NASSA. It’s an amazing achievement.
“The success is a testament to the hard work from all of our NASSA coaches, parents, volunteers and our players.
“All of the teams have worked really hard and we are very proud of today’s results. It shows that NASSA is still at the top of our game and that we have a lot more to offer in the future.
Newham will travel to Manchester again for the final against Birmingham on Saturday, February 15.
NASSA Neptunes also reached their National Cup Final this season, losing to Reading Rockets.
The men’s team defeated Worthing Thunder 94-76 in National League Division One and there were also victories for the under-15s and under-13s.
The under-15s thrashed Ipswich 106-26, while their younger counterparts beat the same opposition 87-69.