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EABL: Barking Abbey through to the finals led by Nedas Cholevinskas 24

Nedas Cholevinskas shooting free throws during a regular season game [Credit: Abbey Nation]

Barking Abbey defeated reigning EABL champions Charnwood College Riders 79-72 to advance to the finals of the EABL.

It is now certain there will be a new champion of the EABL after Barking Abbey takes their place in the final where they will face Myerscough College.

Charnwood College Riders had a dominant win over Itchen College to get into the final four but fell short in a very competitive game against the Southern Conference champions.

Barking Abbey defeated Derby Trail Blazers prior to their matchup with the former champions.

Barking had spells where they had a good lead in the first half but Charnwood managed to close the gap and keep the game close.

The first half ended with Abbey up four after Michael Amako made two free throws after getting fouled in the half’s final possession that resulted in points on the board.

Abbey only started to pull away in the fourth quarter of the game. The turning point was with Amako at the center of it yet again. The 6ft 6 wing came off an off-ball screen and drove hard to the basket with a nice finish.

Charnwood College Riders were led by Lamarana Diallo, who finished the game with 20 points, while Lane Campbell also contributed 17 points. However, it was not enough to overcome Barking Abbey’s tenacious defense and clutch scoring.

Lamarana Diallo boxing out for a reabound during the EABL semi final matchup against Barking Abbey [Credit: Abbey Nation]

That possession went unanswered and then Nedas Cholevinskas had a strong drive and tough finish to extend their lead to 71-64.

They followed these possessions with great defense, in particular Amarlie Wilkinson who had lockdown defense activated causing the Charnwood player to turn the ball over after attempting to drive bassline.

Amako closed the game off with a tough offensive rebound after he failed to convert his first chance at a second chance point.

He fought his way to an opportunity to put the ball back up and gave his side a 9-point lead with not much time remaining.

Cholevinskas hit another triple in the closing moments of the game and secured Barking’s spot in the final.

Charnwood had a good season in their own right finishing second in the Northern Conference with finalist Myerscough being first. They had 10 wins and only four losses.

The final will see both number one seeds of their conference going head to head. Barking Abbey won 11 games this season only losing once.

Barking has a chance to get their first solo title since 2017/18 seeing as they were crowned joint winners with Myerscough in the 2019/20 COVID-affected season.

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