National basketball title for Hertfordshire Warriors

PUBLISHED: 16:54 14 May 2013 | UPDATED: 16:54 14 May 2013

Herts Warriors celebrate victory

Herts Warriors celebrate victory

BROOKMANS Park’s Beth Sarson and Hatfield’s Mel George and Vicky Gray helped the Hertfordshire Warriors U18s girls secure the club’s first England Basketball Junior National Championship.

The Warriors, who train at Queens School in Bushey, travelled to Sheffield for the Final Fours after an outstanding season which included a regional league, championship and stunning displays in their last 16 and quarter-final matches.

The girls faced a tough task in their first match of the day, a semi-final against Bury Blue Devils, but they managed to produce a solid display of controlled basketball to overcome their opponents and progress to the National Final.

The team then steeled themselves for a tough encounter against the much fancied Sevenoaks Suns in the final.

After a poor first quarter the girls trailed 19-11 and were playing catch-up from then on.

By half-time the deficit had been reduced to five, as the team went into the break 29-24 down but always confident they could pull the lead back in the second half.

It didn’t materialise in the third quarter though as the Suns stretched their advantage to seven to go into the final minutes of the game with a 45-38 lead.

In the fourth quarter the Suns maintained their lead and with five minutes to go remained six points up. Suddenly the Warrior girls came alive and with a stunning run of 20 points to five they smashed past the Suns to grab an amazing 65-54 victory and send everyone wild.

Gray was named as the final’s MVP (most valuable player). She produced an ice cool display of free throw shooting to hit eight in a row in the last five minutes to ensure the victory.

Her defensive effort and aggressive offensive drives were the key to the stunning change around in the fortunes of the Warriors.

Coach Tony Marmo was delighted for his side, saying: “The team really deserves what they have achieved.

“Every player in the team did us proud as they really had to dig deep to come back in the final and achieve this result, it has been an amazing day for the club and its very vocal supporters.”

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