Freeman shines as Oaklands romp to national triumph

Oaklands Wolves U18s celebrate lifting the Junior National Basketball League National Cup.

Oaklands Wolves U18s celebrate lifting the Junior National Basketball League National Cup. - Credit: Archant

A stunning performance by Tia Freeman was the highlight as Oaklands Wolves U18s captured the Junior National Basketball League National Cup.

The team lifted the trophy in front of a packed audience at the University of Worcester Arena after securing a fantastic 66-41 win over Charnwood College Riders.

And Freeman, the Wolves’ captain, was unanimously named the most valuable player after landing a staggering 30 points, grabbing 13 rebounds and seven steals.

But she was quick to hail the performance of the team rather than herself.

She said: “I am so proud of my team and our performance. We played to our potential and really stepped up when it mattered.

“The academy group is so tight when we play together and it’s been the same throughout my time at Oaklands.

“I’m honoured to get the MVP award but it was my teammates who put me in great positions and I was able to score and finish what they created.

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“I couldn’t have asked for anything more from the team. We are so happy to bring the trophy back to Oaklands.”

Wolves head coach Lee Ryan hailed his skipper.

He said: “Tia is a special player. She’s had knockbacks in the last few years but she’s come on a lot and she’s always ready to work.

“For her to have that kind of a performance in a final was brilliant.”

Oaklands cruised to victory with a defensive performance that devastated their opponents.

They harassed the Riders throughout, leading by six at half-time before blowing them away in the second half.

Ryan added: “We did a really good job of reducing their three-point shots, something Charnwood is well known for, and taking that away took their confidence and built ours.”

Academy director Michael Ball said: “We entered this year to give the players additional games in their age group but once in, we wanted to go all the way and win.

“This performance has shown the value of being pushed outside their comfort zone and coached to the highest standards.

“I want to thank everyone at the College and the support shown within Herts and the east region.

“Together we can celebrate the success of giving elite young women the chance to flourish in their sport.”