Oaklands Wolves brought home the win this weekend, by taking the trophy in the Women’s U18 category in the Junior National Basketball League National Cup Finals.
The team lifted the winners trophy to a packed audience at the University of Worcester Arena after securing a fantastic 66-41 win over Charnwood College Riders.
Oaklands cruised to victory with a defensive performance that devastated their opponents and firmly put the championships in Wolves hands.
Oaklands harassed their opponent throughout the game; at the half they led 33-27 and continued padding their lead in the second half. The game ended with a strong defensive effort holding Charnwood to 2 points in the last 10 minutes to win by 25 points.
Oaklands Wolves captain Tia Freeman was unanimously named the MVP (Most Valuable Player) for the finals with a staggering 30 points, 13 rebounds and 7 steals performance and had nothing but plaudits for her teammates after the game. ”I am so proud of my team and our performance today, we played to our potential and really stepped up when it mattered!
“My teammates gave me great encouragement, the academy group is so tight when we play together, and it’s been the same throughout my time at Oaklands. I’m honoured to get the MVP award, my teammate put me in great position today, I was able to score and finish what they created. I couldn’t have asked for anything more from the team and coach Lee Ryan. We are so happy to bring the trophy back to Oaklands!"
Oaklands Wolves Head Coach Lee Ryan said: “I’m so pleased for the girls, they’ve been working really hard this season. We did a really good job of reducing their 3-point shots; something Charnwood is well known for, and taking that away took their confidence and built ours.
“Tia is a special player, she’s had some knockbacks in the last few years but she’s come on a lot and she’s always ready to work. For her to have that kind of a performance in a Final was brilliant.”
Wolves Basketball Academy Director Michael Ball added: “Congratulations to the players and staff for their terrific display in the National Cup U18 Women’s Final. I see the hard work they put in week in and week out and the standards I set for our student athletes and staff - but even I was impressed - it was outstanding. We entered the National Cup this year to give the players additional games in their age group and once we were in it we wanted to go all the way and win it. It’s not easy for the players to recognise their own development when they are fighting it out every day in training at the professional level required in the WBBL.
“This performance and their Cup run has shown the value of being pushed outside their comfort zone and coached to the highest standards. I want to thank everyone at Oaklands College and the support shown within Hertfordshire and the East Region. Together we can celebrate the success of giving elite young women the chance to flourish in their sport."