Wildcats, Mets take Sunday trophies at Crystal Palace
Patron's Cup Final
Durham Wildcats 96
Westminster Warriors 70
Versatile American wingman Scott Morton and the Durham Wildcats cruised to a 96-70 Patron's Cup victory on Sunday afternoon at London's Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.
Morton was selected as the game MVP for his 29 points and 7 rebounds after last last year's Division Three Wildcats won the 2010 knockout competition for D2 Men.
Paul Elderkin and Stephen Jones also had 15 apiece for Durham, while Westminster's only double figure man was Jonathan Johnson with 10 points, but all 12 Warriors did get on the scoresheet.
Morton's basket 30 seconds into the game gave Durham a lead they never lost as their defence held the Warriors' players to 30% field goal shooting.
Men's National Trophy Final
London Mets 80
Manchester Magic 73
Another newly-promoted team made headlines on Sunday as the London Mets defeated the Manchester Magic 80-73 in the Men's Trophy Final.
Arturo Noha was the MVP with his 21 point, 10 rebound double-double as the London club defeated the Magic in their home city.
Manchester's Brandon Kimbrough made his second appearance since injuring his knee in December, but the high-calibre guard was clearly far from 100%, scoring 10 points on 4 of 16 shooting while picking up 7 turnovers in the loss. The league's leading scorer Stefan Gill kept up his fine season with 31 points (7/16 behind the arc), but it wasn't enough to stop the ever-improving Mets.
The lead was traded throughout the game with the first double-digit margin coming on a Solomon Ayinla three to close the first half with Mets up 43-33.
The Magic chopped away in the third, eventually retaking the lead after Gill hit from outside to make it 57-56, but Ajumobi quickly answered and London hung on to an advantage until the final buzzer.
Jeff Danchie had 17 points and 7 boards for the Mets while Courtney Van Beest had 13 and 6. Dave Watts had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Manchester, but struggled shooting from the floor (22% 2Pt FG, 13% 3Pt FG).
After seeing his team lift the National Trophy London Mets' player-coach Solomon Ayinla had praise for the Magic side:
"My commiseration go to coach Jones and his team. There was no loser on Sunday's Final!
"Both coaches are committed to players' development in their adopted country. Coach Jones had 11 English players and one American and I had 11 English and one Spaniard on my rosters. The only other programme that could boast those numbers of English players on their roster is Derby. I'll encourage other teams to do the same in their club and communities."
Ayinla admitted that his team struggled to contain Stefan Gill:
"Gill was a tough customer to deal with on Sunday afternoon. Their big three showed up for the match, especially in the first half. But Gill personally carried the team in the second half. We threw different combinations at him to slow him down to 31 points. He's way up there with Dave Artwell and Arturo Noha for the season MVP."
Ayinla had a curious way of getting his team focussed on the final:
"Last weekend was a difficult one, we lost to the bottom team Tees Valley at home, the weekend before the Trophy final.
"Most of my players looked sad; I quickly assembled them on the floor and we started celebrating after a terrible losss. One of the fans came to me after the jubilation and asked me what we were celebrating, I told him that we had to put this loss behind us and start thinking about next weekend Trophy Final."
Having seen his team race through the EBL divisions to lift a piece of silverware in their first season in the top flight, Ayinla was a happy man after the game:
"Lastly, I would to thank several institutions. England Basketball for believing in our programme and promoting us in four successive years from Division Four to Division One this year.
"Secondly London Metropolitan University for appreciating what we're doing with young students and athletes and their continuous support. Also Hackney Community College for sending their young talented athletes to our programme and the last but not the least, Kingston Wildcats Basketball Club for giving me the opportunity to start coaching a decade ago, after playing professionally in France."