This weekend the North claimed the 2017 School Games wheelchair basketball title following a hard fought battle against reigning champions England Central. The squad brought home the gold medal returning it to the North for the first time since 2013.
The School Games hailed another weekend of stunning wheelchair basketball where three days of back-to-back play saw the nation’s finest young wheelchair basketball players represent their regions competing for the coveted School Games championship title.
The first two days of pool play brought incredible scenes to Loughborough University’s wheelchair basketball court. The games truly delivered the sense of an international competition environment for our junior players to experience.
The final day of play saw the medal games and the 5th/6th place play offs. This first game of the day welcomed Wales v Northern Ireland to the court. Both teams coached by GB squad past and present, with GB Paralympian Anna Jackson coaching the Welsh side and GB Junior World Champion James McSorley Head Coach of the Northern Ireland team.
The Wales v Northern Ireland game was closely fought for the first two quarters, closing at half time with only four points in it. However the Welsh broke free in the third and extended their lead with a healthy third quarter. Ultimately this strong quarter secured the win for the Welsh team and their fifth place in the tournament.
The bronze medal game was later hailed as one of the games of the tournament when Scotland met England South. The game was fought point for point by two very closely matched teams. At half time just one point separated the teams with Scotland just narrowly in the lead.
The fight continued into the third and fourth, in a game which had the watching crowd and the fans at home in no doubt that both teams were in it to win it. Scotland brought home the bronze medal by a two point win.
The gold medal match saw an undefeated England North squad take to court with the championship title within its grasp. However England Central, a team with an impressive history at the school games, proved to be ready for the fight.
With Central taking the first quarter, North regrouped and claimed the following three quarters and the School Games crown.
The North’s number 12, experienced School Games competitor Lucas Warburton was elated with his teams win and commented:
“It’s a great feeling – especially given that it’s my last year at the School Games. We have achieved bronze and silver medals in previous years, it’s great to finally win that gold against a tough Central team.
“The School Games brings every region together in the country which gives this competition a higher intensity, it delivers a proper Paralympics feel really with the professional atmosphere and playing in front of the crowds.”