Preston’s College basketball team punched their ticket to the last four in the the Elite Academy Basketball League (EABL) play-offs after dismantling one of the favourites for the title, Copleston, 81-66.
England Under-18s ace Kyle Carey weighed in with a 19-point, five-rebound performance, supported by Joel Ufele’s 13 points and Jonathan Joseph’s near triple-double of 12 points, 12 assists and six boards.
The hosts raced to a 13-0 lead with just three minutes gone. It was six minutes before Copleston managed to get on the scoresheet but Preston ended the quarter 22-12 up.
A 9-4 run at the start of the second quarter by the home side further extended their lead 31-26.
Some smart interior defence by Ufele and then by the nation’s second leading shot blocker in Cameron King, was the difference as they limited Copleston’s high scoring duo of Sam Newman and Luke Mascall-Wright to just 13 points between them.
At half-time, Preston went back to the locker rooms 37-28 ahead.
A 10-3 run to start the second half gave the hosts the biggest lead in the game, 47-31.
Both Newman and Mascall-Wright were made to look ordinary by the smart-thinking Preston defence. They would end the contest with 19 and nine points respectively, way below their average.
As the full time horn sounded, it was Preston who celebrated wining 81-66 and punching their way to the Final Four in London.
Coach Malcolm Leak was notably impressed with the team performance.
He said: “I thought we were focused on the task at hand.
“Hats off to Copleston, they were a great team with a great guard in Sam and Luke but we shut them down and made everyone else beat us.”
Reaching their first ever final-four, Preston now regroup and look ahead to what could be an enthralling contest against SGS College in London on Friday.