PRESTON — When Myerscough takes to the court on Wednesday against Loreto College it will have been 56 between Elite Academy Basketball League games.
That’s 56 days from an important comeback victory that vaulted Myerscough back into the West Conference regular season title discussion after a hiccup at Derby College.
“It was a big confidence and energy boost getting the job done in a must-win game for us which leaves us with the right mentality for the second half of the season,” said Myerscough guard Konrad Kantorski.
Myerscough (4-1) improved to 6-1 all-time in league play following a loss, and now has its sights set on sweeping the season series with Loreto (4-3) for a fourth consecutive season. Myerscough boasts a 6-2 EABL record over Loreto, including six straight wins.
Last time out
With the help of the home crowd, Myerscough overturned a 14-point deficit to upend previously unbeaten Charnwood College 78-66. Kantorski, the team’s second leading scorer finished with a game-high 29 points and the EABL’s leading scorer, Edoardo Del Cadia, added a double-double (24 points & 21 rebounds).
Loreto, meanwhile, used a 10-2 burst to start the fourth quarter to overcome a 27-point effort from Daniel Penkov to see off James Watt College 73-59 on Wednesday. Michael Anumba led with 20 points and Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo added 15.
Myerscough opened the season with a 71-55 win at Loreto on Oct. 11 behind Del Cadia’s 23 points and nine rebounds.
What to watch
Value the process
“We need to value the process of winning — it is a process and it isn’t easy and that’s why the best teams are consistent at it,” said Myerscough head coach Neal Hopkins. “Sometimes it takes a bit of blip to make people remember what they’re here to do and how we need to go about achieving that.”
Myerscough learnt a lesson in the game against Derby, but had the mental fortitude to bounce back with its back against the wall. Hopkins wants his team to value every possession and to stay focused on the task in what’s proven to be a conference with tremendous depth.
“We need to find that consistency over 40 minutes,” said Hopkins. “It’s easy to be reliant on one, two or three guys and obviously teams are going to be built around a solid core — we have that, but we also have the ability to be so much more.”
Stay hot from three
Despite shooting just 34 percent from distance, Myerscough has had a knack for finding the basket in crucial moments in the game. Kantorski led Myerscough’s comeback hitting 4-of-11 3-pointers against Charnwood, and he’s connected on at least four in each of the last four games. The guard is shooting well above the team average at 40.5 percent.
Del Cadia is helping the cause with 13 total 3-pointers of his own on an astonishing 56.5 percent shooting.
Myerscough hit a season-low six 3-pointers in the win at Loreto, but an early confidence could prove crucial.
Who to watch
Myerscough: Mate Okros
Mate Okros is the team’s third leading scorer at 12 points per game, but is contributing 1.6 steals per outing and had a season-high four the last time Myerscough played Loreto.
“Mate came to us off the back of an unbelievable European experience [with Great Britain] and he came in here with a lot of expectation and we often forget that he’s still young,” said Hopkins. “He’s still learning about himself, but for him to come in and have such mature displays week in and week out for his age is impressive.”
Loreto: Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo
Whilst eyes will certainly be on current Deng Camp No.1 Anumba, Emeka Anyakwo has steadily turned in consistent performances and ranks in the the top 10 in efficiency and rebounding in the EABL, and is a threat from in the paint.
Tip is set for 3 p.m. at the Pure Leisure High Performance Centre at Myerscough College with the WEABL directly following the conclusion of the game (scheduled for 5 p.m.).