Basketball: Bury players gain experience

TEENAGE basketball players based in Bury St Edmunds have shown their potential to make it all the way in the sport following a testing start to the new season.

Stuart Watson

By Stuart Watson

TEENAGE basketball players based in Bury St Edmunds have shown their potential to make it all the way in the sport following a testing start to the new season.

Following a successful pilot year, the County Upper Basketball Academy squad has travelled across England at the start of the new campaign in order to test themselves against some of the best men's and junior sides around.


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Although games against teams from Manchester, Leeds and Southend all ended in defeat - the Suffolk-based players by no means disgraced themselves on the big stage.

Led by former US college coach Darren Johnson, the CU Academy started the season with an 81-42 defeat to the Southend Scorpions men's team. Undeterred they then headed north for the Leeds Carnegie University Invitational Tournament.

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Their opening game there was against a Manchester Magic U18 team who had seven England international players in its ranks. And, despite being cold on offence, County Upper held their own defensively on the way to a very respectable 78-42 loss.

As soon as this game was finished, the Suffolk side were thrown into their second game of the day against Leeds Carnegie men's second team. Exhausted, they once again fought hard on the defensive end in a 55-22 loss.

In County Upper's last game of the day, a now depleted team faced a strong Leeds Carnegie 1st team, but still somehow managed to keep the score down to 47-24.

Taking the lessons learnt from such a tough test, County Upper showed tremendous spirit to get back to winning ways in a match against Essex University's first team. The Essex side had led by 11 points at the end of the third quarter, but County Upper came back to win 46-45.

More comfortable victories then followed against Cambridge-based Long Road Basketball Academy (69-31) and Leicester's Beauchamp Basketball Academy (67-51).

Coach Johnson's team then faced leading Essex academy Barking Abbey and impressed throughout a 57-46 defeat.

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