March 24, 2014 – Newham All Star Sports Academy (NASSA) Under-13 boys basketball team fought their way to a place in the National Final Fours 2014 yesterday in thrilling style with a 68-64 overtime victory against Manchester Magic.

The Under-15 boys team also made it through to the Final Fours with another overtime victory over their Manchester Magic counterparts, this one away from home on Saturday as they recorded a 85-77 triumph.

The twin successes maintain NASSA’s record of having a team make the Final Fours for the seventh successive year – every year since we first fielded a team in the National League competitions.

It was clear from the start of Sunday’s game at Rokeby School in Canning Town that it was going to be a tough encounter for the Under-13s. The teams matched each other basket for basket throughout with every quarter ending all-square.

The intensity was evident from the tip-off as both sides drew early fouls in the 1st quarter which ended 12-12. NASSA began to put the Magic defence under pressure in the 2nd quarter, making every move count with excellent ball handling and offensive skills from Hadrian Mariano Basilio. They still couldn’t pull clear, however, leaving the game tantalisingly poised at 23-23 at half-time.

The 3rd quarter featured good drives to the basket from Enoch Denkyirah, Elliott Quail and Dylan Darbin, but yet again the Magic held firm with a score of 42-42 going into the final quarter.

NASSA had to withstand a strong surge from the Magic team in the final quarter and needed good post work by Tim Colier and Emmanuel Obeng Amponsan to level the scores at 50-50 and take the game into overtime.

Roared by their bench and supporters alike, NASSA fought to gain supremacy in overtime with the key play coming from Elliott Quail who pressurised the ball so intensively on an in-bound in the final 20 seconds that NASSA were able to come away and seal the 68-64 triumph at the other end.

NASSA Director Natasha Hart said: “I am very happy with this weekend’s results. All of the players worked hard for their wins. To get a team to the Final Four for seven years running is a fantastic achievement. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work from players, coaches, volunteers, supporters, partners and parents – and it is a wonderful experience for to be part of. I am looking forward to the games coming up Worcester in two weeks’ time.”