Top-seeded Myerscough to play Canterbury for place in EABL Finals

canterbury

PRESTON, Lancs. — Myerscough will battle Canterbury on Wednesday afternoon for a place in the EABL Playoff Final, with the winner facing either No. 1 Barking Abbey or No. 2 Charnwood. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. at the Pure Leisure High Performance Centre on the Myerscough College campus.

Myerscough, which advanced to the Final Four following an 83-62 win over City of London Academy, looks to reach the finals for first time since 2016 and build upon its only EABL playoff title from three seasons ago.

“Throughout the season we’ve not lost sight of what our objectives are in the way in which we want to play — we’re going to continue to play our game and make them come in here and adjust to our style,” said Myerscough coach Neal Hopkins.

Wednesday marks the first overall meeting between Myerscough and the South Conference’s No. 2 seed Canterbury — two programmes with vastly different histories in the EABL. Canterbury is in its maiden playoff voyage having missed out on the postseason in each of the academy’s first seven years.

Last time out

Myerscough leaned on a pair of 17 year olds with Mate Okros scoring a game-high 24 points to go with eight rebounds to eliminate CoLA. Callan Low provided 20 points, as Sco shot 46 percent from the field and led from start to finish.

Jonathan Brown’s 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting led Canterbury in the semifinals in a 87-66 drubbing of Derby College. Elliot Bailey added 16 as Canterbury had five players finish in double figures.

What to watch

Defensive intensity

Rayon Brown, who had five steals against CoLA, spoke adamantly about the impact Myerscough’s defence can have on a game. In the Elite 8 matchup Sco had 15 points off turnovers — below average — but forced CoLA into 28 miscues.

“Defence is a big factor for us,” said Hopkins. “Canterbury has a number of good scoring threats and we’ve got to key in on those players and have the mindset to play out every possession.”

Canterbury scored 87 points with 14 turnovers in its win over Derby, which Derby converted into just five points. In comparison, SGS College was the only team to score more than 80 points with 16 turnovers against Myerscough this season and lost 102-84. The biggest difference was Sco turned those into 27 points — second most this year.

Stay hot from 3-point range

Myerscough is averaging right under 10-made 3-pointers per game and managed to hit 9-of-30 in the quarterfinal win over CoLA. That coming with Konrad Kantorski, who leads the team in this category, struggling on 1-for-6 shooting from distance. But in his stead, Okros and Low combined for five triples.

Sco is connecting on 37 percent of its threes in 2017-18 and at the opposite end of the floor, it is defending the perimeter and holding opponents to under 25 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

Who to watch

Myerscough: Konrad Kantorski

If it is any trend to go by, Kantorski bounced back from 1-for-9 shooting performance with four points at Loreto to begin the year with 13 points, including four 3-pointers, against SGS College.

The guard has a knack for stepping up in big games as seen just nine days ago when he scored a season-high 32 against Charnwood to clinch the West Conference title.

“I’m just going to play my game and go in without any expectation — I’ll just do what I can do and help us get a result,” said Kantorski.

Canterbury: Jonathan Brown

Brown was the catalyst for getting Canterbury to the Final Four and he’s been averaging over 18 points to go with four assists per game.

Game notes

Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. at the Pure Leisure High Performance Centre on the Myerscough College campus. For updates follow Myerscough Basketball on Twitter at @My_bball.

@My_bball | #MySco

Allen Gunn is a graduate of the University of Salford with a Masters degree in Journalism.