February 3, 2014 – Newham All Star Sports Academy’s (NASSA) run of success in the National League Cup competitions continued in Manchester this weekend.
The Under-18 National League Men’s side beat Manchester Magic 92-84 away in the semi-final of the Sureshot National Cup against last year champions Manchester Magic. They will now travel up to Manchester again for the final against Birmingham on February 15.
It was an incredible win for the Under-18 team, seizing their opportunity to come from behind to record what was greeted as the performance in this side’s short history.
Newham began the semi-final slowly in spite of baskets from Ben Maranan, Javel Small, Kevin Boatey and Sydney Ekio. They ended the first quarter down by 12 points.
Solid offensive rebounds from Kasparas Baksys, Kayode Dawkins, Adomas Zemgulis, Matthew Faucher and Carlton Kuponiyi helped to slow Manchester’s momentum during the second quarter although Newham still ended the half trailing 42-37.
It was then that coach Aurimas Verbukas gave the half-time talk to end them all, inspiring Newham to a brilliant third quarter display. A run of spectacular 3-point shooting and dazzling teamwork was backed up by solid defence as NASSA overturned the deficit to lead 67-57 going into the final quarter. In the third quarter alone, they outscored their opponents by a remarkable 30-15.
The pattern continued in the final period. The main objective at this stage was to maintain their lead. A number of 3-pointers were again crucial while the defence proved too strong for Manchester to break down.
A delighted NASSA director Natasha Hart said: “This is a great day for NASSA. To reach the Under-18 National Cup final is an amazing achievement.
“Today’s 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.”
NASSA’s other results this weekend included a 94-76 victory over Worthing Thunder for the National League Division One men’s team.
Meanwhile, the Under-15s and Under-13s faced opponents from Ipswich, the Under-15s winning 106-26 and the Under-13s recording a 87-69 triumph.