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HomeSportU18 National Basketball Championship - Canterbury Academy

U18 National Basketball Championship – Canterbury Academy

The Canterbury Academy secured Kent Crusaders first-ever junior national championship title in emphatic fashion last Sunday, defeating London United by a commanding 49-point margin of 91-42. The dazzling display of skill on the offensive end and toughness on the defensive by the Kent side left their opponents not knowing what to do. It was a complete exhibition of dominance which left the whole basketball community wondering why they had not been included in the next seasons Elite Basketball Academy League.

Leading the charge for the Crusaders was Great Britain player Tim Oboh, who put on a stellar performance throughout the playoffs, earning himself the prestigious title of Most Valuable Player. Oboh’s had 28 points and 24 rebounds which was crucial in guiding the team to victory, showcasing the undeniable progress he has made at Canterbury Academy. He has also just committed to NCAA division one school Buffalo university on a full scholarship next season.

Captaining the Crusaders to their historic win was Ludlow Hewson, whose exemplary leadership and determination inspired his teammates to give their all on the court. Hewson had 23 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists in the championship game, this also included four made three pointers that came at vital times.

Notable player Shem Onadeko, a veteran of the Kent Crusaders, who has been with the club since the age of 9, culminated his illustrious junior career with a well-deserved national championship medal. Onadeko’s unwavering dedication and passion come through in his stellar performance on the court, solidifying his legacy as a special player to come through the Crusaders pathway. Shem finished with 19 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists.

Celebrating a milestone achievement in his coaching career, head coach Adam Davies marked his 10th season with the club by leading the academy side to a historic victory. Davies’ vigorous attitude and relentless scouting and planning were instrumental in shaping the team into a powerhouse on the court.

The Canterbury Academy Crusaders’ remarkable victory in the U18 national basketball championship serves as a testament to their unwavering dedication to developing basketball and young people off the court.

The programme received news that they wouldn’t be competing in the Elite Basketball Academy League from September 2024 after the governing body went through a tender process with all current and academies interested in joining. After appealing the decision and getting a lot of support from the basketball community from all round the country, the decision didn’t change. The season was then named ‘Final Crusade’ as the team went on a mission to prove they were wrong to not allow Canterbury to compete in the league and not continue their partnership with us.

The Canterbury academy finished their league play with a record of 16-4 which secured them a top place finish in the Eastern Premier division, another first for the club. They then swept aside Bracknell Cobras and Solent Kestrels in the playoffs leading up to the final four. In the semi-final they matched up against Manchester Magic, a club who with so much history of winning this competition. Canterbury started the better team and never allowed the Northwest team to get going with their relentless defence. Canterbury advanced to the final with a 77-44 victory.

Canterbury will look to defend their title next season but with a large turnover of players it will be difficult. Isaac Sesay will be the only main rotation player from this year’s team to return.

Adam Davies spoke about the championship game “I am so proud of how the players performed, they came to dominate. We were well prepared and knew how the other team wanted to play and we just didn’t let them. It great to see everything we have worked on and talked about over the season come together, it really was something special.”

Captain Ludlow Hewson had this after being asked what it felt like winning a national championship “There’s not a lot I can say other than it feels great to achieve a goal we set ourselves at the end of last year. All saying as a collective in the changing room after losing the quarter final last year that under no circumstance is this going to happen again. Just so grateful for my coaches and teammates that trusted the process and have achieved what we knew we were always capable of.”

A video about the Championship game can be found at the following link – https://youtu.be/rBhqa_yW_Lk?si=NchImT7HHgv9M64I

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