This weekend will see 16 teams take to the Oriam, Edinburgh to play in 8 finals to decide who will be crowned 2018 Playoff Champions in their respective age groups.
10AM: U16 Men’s Playoff Finals – Stirling Knights vs City of Edinburgh
The first game of the SBC Playoff Finals will see Stirling Knights take the floor against City of Edinburgh in the U16 men’s finals. Knights finished atop the U16 Men’s league table with a 17-1 record. In the first two rounds of the Playoffs Knights took down Boroughmuir Blaze and West Lothian Wolves before making the Playoff Finals.
We caught up with Knights U16 Men’s coach, Les McGlasson ahead of Saturday’s Final;
“Our U16 Men’s journey to win the club their first ever Division 1 title started in earnest at the beginning of last season, with only two moving up an age bracket this year. A full year’s preparation in the top league with 10 players allowed us to hit the ground running this season and hit top form consistently. Each and every player has embraced our clubs Performance culture, prioritizing on this sport and focusing 100% on improving every day in the gym and on the court up to 10 sessions per week.
Our focus for the finals needs to be on delivering the same professional performance and taking nothing for granted against a Club with a very similar approach to their players and the game, we are fully aware of the Challenge that awaits us.”
City of Edinburgh U16 Men finished the season sitting in 3rd place in the league table with a 10-8 record. On the way to the finals, City of Edinburgh defeated Sony Centre Fury and then St. Mirren West College Scotland to make it to their matchup with Knights on Saturday.
12PM: U18 Women’s Finals – City of Edinburgh vs Boroughmuir Blaze
In the second final of the day City of Edinburgh will play against Boroughmuir Blaze in the U18 Women’s Finals. City of Edinburgh Women finished in first place in the U18 Women’s league table after not recording a single loss, with a 10-0 record. After receiving a first place bye in the first round, City of Edinburgh then went on to defeat St. Mirren West College Scotland in the next round to get to Saturday’s Final.
Boroughmuir Blaze U18 Women finished in second place in the U18 Women’s League with a 6-4 record. Blaze also received a bye in the first round and went on to defeat Lady Rocks to advance to the Playoff Finals. Blaze coach, Graham Mounsey had the following to say ahead of Saturday’s game against City of Edinburgh;
“We’re excited to be a part of the Playoff Finals Weekend this year. We had a tough match up with Lady Rocks in the semi-final – they have really pushed us both times this season and we knew it would take a good performance to win. In the first half in particular we played some of our best basketball this season which is really encouraging going into the final. ”
“Looking ahead to the final, Kats are of course going to be a big challenge. They are the most consistent team in the league and we need to be prepared for their big threats. We need to be focused on remaining disciplined – making great decisions, particularly in our half court offence. We know if we play like we can and execute well then we have a great chance of winning this match.”
2PM: U14 Boys Cup – Grampian Flyers vs Stirling Knights
The next game of the day will see Grampian Flyers and Stirling Knights take to the floor in the U14 Boys Cup. On their way to the Finals, Grampian Flyers took down Panthers BC, West Lothian Wolves and City of Edinburgh. We caught up with Flyers coach, Miguel Vinyals to find out how he felt about his team’s final;
“It has been a fantastic season with a group of hungry players looking to compete and have fun playing their beloved basketball. As a development squad, the team has been trying to improve and learn lessons from every single game, always with a goal in mind: to have fun and enjoy, and be respectful with the other squad members, coaches and referees.”
Stirling Knights U14 Boys knocked out East Lothian Dragons, St. Mirren West College Scotland and Madsons on their way to the finals. Coach, Andy Flett had this to say about his teams performance over the season;
“Following the success of last year’s U-14 team, we set about re-building with only 5 of that team remaining from last year’s squad. However, with the addition of a Spanish player, U-12’s stepping up and new recruits from the Wallace High School of basketball we created a team that was in a position to compete.
This was evident in our early RDL and SLBA fixtures with a string of consistent wins. As a club our focus on performance has enabled us to kick on with the extra on court and gym sessions paying off as we overcame a talented Basketball Paisley team in the quarter finals and an extremely well drilled and competitive Madsons in the semi-final. Both wins were away from home making them all the more significant and showed the strength of character and team ethos the boys have developed over the season. With a further SLBA semi-final to look forward to and two remaining league games the boys find themselves in the enviable position of securing 4 trophies this season having recently secured the National Challenge last weekend. However, we are taking nothing for granted and know we will have to bring our A game to beat a talented Grampian team this weekend.”
3:45PM: Senior Men’s Finals – St. Mirren West College Scotland vs City of Edinburgh Kings
The final event of Saturday will see St. Mirren West College Scotland play against City of Edinburgh Kings to decide who will be crowned SBC Playoff Champions. St. Mirren had a great season in the SBC league after only losing twice all season and finishing with a 16-2 record to win the league title. The two forward tandem of Chris Cleary and Nick Collins proved more than enough for to handle for a number of teams during the season who just could not match up with their size and skillset. Coupled with this, St. Mirren play a fast-paced offence that takes advantage of teams that are slow to get back on defence. On the way to Saturday’s Finals against Kings, St. Mirren took down Glasgow University and then Boroughmuir Blaze.
A couple of injuries early in the season meant that City of Edinburgh Kings were slow to get their season up and running. However, the team hit a run of form later on and were unbeaten for a good portion of the season. During this period, they also won the Scottish Cup Final against Boroughmuir Blaze in January. Kings are incredibly effective on both sides of the floor and have a number of players who can go off at any time, providing them plenty of options on offense. To make the Final on Saturday, Kings handed losses to both Stirling Knights and Sony Centre Fury.
10AM: U16 Women’s Playoff Finals – Perth Phoenix vs Lady Rocks
The first game of Sunday’s Finals will see Perth Phoenix U16 Women take the floor against U16 Lady Rocks. Phoenix and Rocks finished in 1st and 2nd place respectively after both finishing with a 12-2 record with Phoenix just edging it on points difference.
We caught up with Perth Phoenix coach, Russel Kesson to hear his thoughts ahead of the Finals;
“We are looking forward to another encounter with the Rocks this year and congratulations to Tony and his squad for the successes they have had this season. The games have been competitive, but Rocks have had the upper hand in the last two games and will be favourites again. For my squad to succeed in this game they will need to be at their very best to cope with the physicality from the Rocks press and half-court defence. We will also need to work together to contain Rocks three main scorers. I am very proud of what my squad has achieved this year, especially with the injuries that have impacted the end of our season and I know the girls will give maximum effort in this game to try and get the win.”
We also heard from Lady Rocks coach, Tony Mcdaid to get his feeling about Sunday’s game;
“We are delighted to have reached the 2018 play-off finals and look forward to a very competitive game against an excellent Perth Phoenix team. The final is an opportunity for the players to demonstrate the progress they have made this season as well enjoy such a special event.”
12PM: U18 Men’s Finals – Sony Centre Fury vs Stirling Knights
The second event of the day will see Sony Centre Fury take on Stirling Knights in the U18 Men’s Finals. Sony Centre Fury finished first in the SBC League with a 17-1 record. On the way to the Playoff Finals, Fury knocked out Boroughmuir Blaze and Perth Phoenix. We caught up with Fury coach, Keith Bunyan to hear his thoughts ahead of the Final;
“We have had a fantastic season so far winning both the league and cup to date and are delighted to have made the Play off final. It is a testament to the boys hard work, commitment and team effort that we have enjoyed such a consistent level of performance all season. The final will be a tough fast paced encounter against a strong Stirling side who themselves have had a very good season and have played us very close a number of times already this season. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our parents and club support staff who have been a tremendous support all year and have played a huge part in helping us to achieve this year’s success, I hope all our parents and supporters have a great day out and enjoy an exciting final.”
The Knights U18 Men finished in 3rd place in the SBC league with a 14-4 record. On the way to the Playoff Finals, Knights took down West Lothian Wolves and Glasgow Rens. Knights coach, Cory McCabe had the following to say about Sunday’s matchup;
“The Playoff Final will be a culmination of a season where we have progressed in almost every game we have played. To have made it this far has been a massive achievement in itself, and all the guys are looking forward to the challenge Fury present. Our two overall performances in the Playoffs were more than convincing over Wolves and Rens, so we can take a lot of confidence from them. This final is testament to the current strength of basketball in the ‘Central region’ and we hope it makes for an entertaining game.
Fury have some brilliant talents that can hurt you in a variety of ways. We haven’t been anywhere near good enough in the League games defensively, so this will be our biggest area of emphasis. We know we are capable of scoring the ball so it’s about finding that overall performance to hopefully see us through.”
2PM: U14 Girls Cup – City of Edinburgh vs Perth Phoenix
The penultimate game of the weekend will see City of Edinburgh take on Perth phoenix in the U14 Girls Cup. On the way to Sunday’s final, Phoenix knocked out St. Mirren West College and Lady Rocks. We heard from Phoenix coach, Russel Kesson on his feeling about Sunday’s game against City of Edinburgh;
“It is good to be back in the final this season and I am proud of the girls for the effort they have put in to get to this point. We have not played Kats this season at this level so it will be good to test ourselves against a different opponent. Our squad will focus on finishing the opportunities that come our way and we will use the game to give more experience to our young players. The girls are excited about the game and having the opportunity to play in another final.”
The City of Edinburgh U14 Girls took down East Lothian Dragons, Panthers BC and West Lothian Wolves on the way to Sunday’s Final.
3:45PM: Senior Women’s Finals – City of Edinburgh Kats vs University of Edinburgh
The final event of the day will see City of Edinburgh Kats take on University of Edinburgh to decide who will be crowned the 2018 Senior Women’s Playoff Champions. City of Edinburgh had a strong season in the SBC league, winning 13 out of 15 games to take the league title. Kats run a very efficient half-court offense with effective ball-movement that allows them a number of open looks at the basket. On the way to the Finals City of Edinburgh defeated Polonia Phoenix and St. Mirren.
Their opponents, the University of Edinburgh had a slow start to the season but once their team began to come together they became one of the better teams in the league. With some of Caledonia Pride’s younger stars in the roster, the University side are a team to be reckoned with. To get to the Finals, the University of Edinburgh knocked out Sony Centre Fury and Lady Rocks.
Tickets are still available for the Playoff Finals at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sbc-playoff-finals-2018-tickets-44330781561