Herts Warriors win national title
ST ALBANS’ Mollie Cook and coach Jenny Stenzel helped the Hertfordshire Warriors U18s girls to greatness on Saturday as they secured the club’s first England Basketball Junior National Championship.
The Warriors travelled up to Sheffield for the Final Fours after an outstanding season, which included a regional league championship and stunning displays in their last 16 and quarter-final matches.
The girls faced a tough task in their first match of the day, a semi-final against Bury Blue Devils, but they managed to produce a solid display to book a final showdown with the favourites, Sevenoaks Suns.
After a poor first quarter the girls trailed 11-19 and playing catch-up. By half-time the deficit had been reduced to five, as the team went into the break 29-24 down but always confident they could pull the lead back in the second half.
It didn’t materialise in the third quarter though as the Suns stretched their advantage to seven to go into the final minutes of the game with a 45-38 lead.
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In the final stretch the Suns maintained their lead and with five minutes to
go remained six points up. Suddenly the Warrior girls came alive and with a stunning run of 20 points they smashed past the Suns to grab a remarkable victory.
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Vicky Gray, from Hatfield, was named as the final’s MVP (most valuable player). She produced an ice cool display of free throw shooting, hitting eight in a row in the last five minutes to ensure the victory. Her defensive effort and aggressive offensive drives were the key to the stunning change around in the Warriors’ fortunes
Coach Tony Marmo was delighted for his side, saying: “The team really deserves what they have achieved.
“Every player in the team did us proud as they really had to dig deep to come back in the final and achieve this result, it has been an amazing day for the club and its very vocal supporters.”