Coach Linton hails her girls after Ipswich basketball under-16s finish runners-up in Final Fours

Ipswich under-16 girls' head coach Amy Linton

Ipswich under-16 girls' head coach Amy Linton - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Basketball Club coach Amy Linton is already planning another assault on the national title, after the club’s under-16 girls fell at the final hurdle in the National Final Fours.

The Ipswich Basketball Under 16 Girls side which reach the National Final in Manchester. Photo: PAVE

The Ipswich Basketball Under 16 Girls side which reach the National Final in Manchester. Photo: PAVEL KRICKA - Credit: Archant

After defeating West Herts Warriors in the semi-final on Saturday, Linton’s team just came up short against Haringey Angels in the final, losing 52-46 in Manchester.

Despite defeat, the girls have had an impressive season and became the first under-16s team from the Copleston-based club to reach the Fours, for 20 years.

“I can’t be more proud of the them,” said Linton.

“My expectation at the start of the season was not to reach the Final Fours and while it was heartbreaking to lose, the game was so close and the girls were brilliant.

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“We gave them a great game and while it would have been lovely to come away with victory, I would have much rather had a game like that than a walkover. At one stage we were down by 12 and I did begin to worry, but the girls showed a bit of fight and they couldn’t have given anymore.”

Linton will now begin preparing for next season and is confident of another assault on the Final Fours, despite knowing she will lose five of her current squad.

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“We have five girls in the current age bracket that will be moving up, but knowing the players that are staying and those that will be moving up from the under-14s, we could have a very good chance of returning (to the Final Fours),” Linton added.

“The younger girls that are coming through have showed massive potential and they will be teaming-up with players that have had experience at playing at a better level of basketball.”

As for Linton, who was announced as England Basketball’s Young Volunteer of the Year earlier this month, she explained: “As a player you always feel proud of your achievements but to lead a team to that kind of level surpasses anything I did as a player.

“I will hold my hands up, There is no way I did it all myself, I have a brilliant coach alongside me, two extra team coaches on the day and the team manager, who were all part of what we did.

As for the support her players received, Linton added: “The parents’ support was incredible and overwhelming and I was brought to tears.

“It was so nice to see such support for an amazing and positive achievement.”

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