Jr. NBA Final Fours & Wheelchair League Final: Report
Dallas Mavericks St Margarets and Utah Jazz Dundee Dragons lifted the Jr. NBA and Jr. NBA Wheelchair League trophies on Sunday as the first Jr. NBA programme of 19/20 concluded in Stirling.
Six teams travelled to The Peak for the event, with Washington Wizards James Gillespies, Chicago Bulls Pentland, Dallas Mavericks St Margarets and Memphis Grizzlies Bonnybridge all competing in Final Fours, whilst Utah Jazz Dundee Dragons and New York Knicks Lothian Phoenix West faced off in the Wheelchair League Final.
James Gillespies and Pentland played the first game of the day to determine the winner of the Eastern Conference. Pentland took an early lead, up 13-7 after the first, but James Gillespies edged closer in the second, trailing by just five at the half. Two close quarters followed, with Gillespies further narrowing the third by two points in the third, but Pentland did enough to progress to the Final, 46-43.
St Margarets and Bonnybridge met in the Western Conference, aiming to join Pentland in the Final. St Margarets opened up a 12-point lead at half-time, 26-14, and maintained that gap over the second half to progress to the Final with a 50-43 win.
James Gillespies and Bonnybridge met in the 3rd/4th game with the goal of earning a Jr. NBA bronze medal. James Gillespies took an early lead, up 10-4 after the first, but Bonnybridge responded in the second to lead 18-12 at the half. Two close quarters followed, both teams trading basket for basket, but it was Bonnybridge who came out on top, 36-27.
The world’s first Jr. NBA Wheelchair Final was the fourth game of the day. Dundee Dragons raced ahead to a 14-4 lead after the first and extended their advantage in the second. Lothian Phoenix West fought back in the latter stages, but it was the Dundee team who claimed the historic Jr. NBA trophy. Final score 38-24.
The last game of the day saw Pentland face St Margarets in the Jr. NBA Final. A strong start from St Margarets saw them build a 7-point cushion, which they extended to 11 at the half. The Falkirk-based side continued to impress in the third, before Pentland ended the game strongly with a high-scoring fourth quarter. In the end it was St Margarets who lifted the trophy with a 50-31 victory.
Following on from the event, the players were invited to watch the WBBL game between Caledonia Pride and Essex Rebels, with the Jr. NBA trophy presentations taking place at half-time. Pride’s Jenni Torrance and David Ion, a professional wheelchair player, handed out the medals to players and coaches.
Five players were also recognised by staff and coaches for their contribution to their respective teams across the day, being named in the Jr. NBA All-Star Five:
Owen Leitch (Utah Jazz Dundee Dragons)
Ben Flanigan (NY Knicks Lothian Phoenix West)
Abby Harbisher (Washington Wizards James Gillespies)
Daniel Goacher (Memphis Grizzlies Bonnybridge)
Rachel Dagger (Dallas Mavericks St Margarets)