Tuesday, July 16, 2024
HomeBASKETBALLModest Sevenoaks are absolutely Sunsational!

Modest Sevenoaks are absolutely Sunsational!

Len Busch will be back at training on Tuesday evening in Sevenoaks, working with the next generation of Sevenoaks Suns’ basketball players.

This is how modest Sevenoaks Suns Coach, and WBBL Coach of the Year, Busch used the post-match press conference after heaping praise on his all-star team after they won the WBBL Playoff Final at The O2 Arena in London on Sunday afternoon against Leicester Riders.

In an awesome first half display that saw the WBBL MVP of the Year, Cat Carr, score nearly as many points as the opposition, Sevenoaks shut out Leicester to record a 38-20 halftime lead. Carr went on to win MVP of the match (pictured below) after scoring a total of 19 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists.

Sevenoaks Suns’ captain, Play-Off Final MVP and WBBL MVP of the Year, Cat Carr

Plenty of the Suns’ faithful had arrived at The O2 to cheer on their Championship winning side, and it wasn’t long before they got their reward.

In the opening three and a half minutes, there was amazingly no score. However Sevenoaks, led by Carr, took the game to Leicester, opening up a 6-0 lead with Ta’Yani Clarke and Julia Koppl joining in. Kate Oliver got Riders off the blocks before Clarke and Carr then extended Suns lead to 11 points. A total of 10 points for Carr and a late run in the paint for Riders saw the 1st quarter finish 16-9 to Suns.

Sevenoaks started the second quarter much as they had finished the first, with Carr adding to her tally. Commonwealth Games silver medallist, Chantelle Pressley then got herself off the mark before Clarke added another basket. Then, Sevenoaks born and bred ‘three-point’ specialist, Ashleigh Munns shot to give Suns a 14-point lead, 25-11.

Towards the end of the half, Renee Busch and Judit Fritz joined the party, with Pressley adding another three points to go into the break at 38-20. There was absolutely nothing Leicester could do to contain the fire of the Suns.

Carr started the second half with another four points as Sevenoaks already looked to have this match sealed up. Koppl and Clarke netted before Fritz added five more in the last two minutes. With one quarter of the match to go, Sevenoaks were now leading 54-34.

WBBL Coach of the Year, Len Busch, celebtrates another Play-Off Trophy win with his daughter Renee

The crowd had now stepped up their celebrations as the players came out for the last 10 minutes. Pressley hit another three points, Munns and Amelia Watkins added before Koppl all but ended the match with another two points.

Such was Sevenoaks’ lead in the match that youngsters Haylee Miller, Alex Baker and Kaitlyn Lewis were rewarded with some game time as Busch netted another three points to seal the match and the Play-Off Trophy to add to their WBBL Championship which they won in April.

MVP Cat Carr was jumping for joy at this result: “We just went out and played Suns basketball,” said Carr.

Sevenoaks Suns, led by MVP Cat Carr, celebrate their success at The O2 in the WBBL Play-Off Final

“We struggled against them (Leicester) in the WBBL Betty Cordona Trophy Final but ever since then we have had a new focus. That is why we wanted to play Leicester and we executed our game plan perfectly.”

Back to work on Tuesday
Head Coach Len Busch was also thrilled to be bringing the WBBL Play-Off trophy back to Sevenoaks. Speaking after the game, he said: “I am very happy, all along we tried to be the best team and I think this was the case.

“It was our best 40 minutes of basketball this season and it came at the right time. I didn’t realise we got so many rebounds, but this shows the intensity that we played with – which was the key to winning the game.”

Ta’Yani Clarke and Cat Carr collect the Play-Off Trophy from Great Britain’s basketball player Stef Collins

Asked where the club goes after winning the Championship and the Play-Off Trophy, Busch said:” I’ll be back to training on Tuesday with the young players of the club and starting to get ready for next year, to be the best that we can be again”.

Carr added: “Our club is a lot about our younger kids, we try to show them that when you work hard and push yourself you can get to situations like this.

“When they come watch us they think it’s just amazing and it makes you feel really good about yourself”.

Clarke now three season pro
Ta’Yani Clark has now been part of the winning team in the WBBL Play-Off Final for three years in a row, at The O2 Arena.

The experienced guard helped Sevenoaks Suns defend their title with 9 points, 16 rebounds and 5 assists in their 69-44 success over Leicester Riders.

“It’s a feeling that never gets old,” she declared.

“Having gone with Team Northumbria two seasons ago and being unable to play due to injury was still awesome to be apart of, but being able to play and win is incredible.

“Each season has been different, but all very special.”

Clark’s effort of 16 rebounds set a new WBBL Play-Off Final record after surpassing the previous mark of 14 set by team-mate Cat Carr, last year.

Sunday’s victory completed a historic WBBL double for the Suns to accompany their league title having also reached the WBBL Trophy Final.

“Coming into the game we wanted to play hard for 40 minutes,” said Clark. “We haven’t been able to do that before the Final so that was a focus point for us.

“I think we succeeded in doing so, Leicester has a great team and really pushed us.

She added: “It’s awesome to win both the league and Play-off titles – we knew it would take hard work and lots of preparation. Preparation started in September, every practice and game prepared us for this.”

Clark also praised two-time Play-Off Finals MVP and the 2017-18 league MVP, Carr, after another starring display to lead Sevenoaks to glory with 19 points and 8 assists.

“She’s a leader for us both on and off the court and a great friend of mine.

“The amount of effort she puts into the game, it’s no surprise the success she’s gained this season.”

You can re-live Sevenoaks’ title triumph at The O2 by watching on BBC iPlayer, HERE.

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