What a season! The 2013/14 season has seen Cagers undergo their most successful year in club history, and likely one of the most dominating performance by any club in Sussex history. Six age groups competed in Sussex this year (U10, U11, U12, U14, U16 & U18) and Crawley Cagers were undefeated in 4 of them, with a 3rd place finish mixed in there too. Lets go to age group order:
Some of the club's youngest members were given the opportunity to compete in March, in the BasketballSUSSEX Mini-Basketball tournament. Cagers entered a team of 7, who had been playing basketball for 3 months by this point, in order to give them some game experience. However the boys cruised past Brighton Cougars A and Worthing D and D in their group stage to put them in the top 3. Again the boys made light work of Brighton Cougars B and now faced a tougher challenge in the final against Haywards Heath Eagles. The team dug deep, and showed the hard work and assertiveness that the older Cagers age groups do, and finished the game 8-4 victors, to be crowned the U10s champions.
Their success came on the back of a 3 month training period. We at the club are now extremely looking forward to working with this group of boys over the summertime, ready to enter them into the U11 league come October.
As in previous Cagers tradition, the U12 squad this year comprised of 16 players who had never played basketball before September. Due to lack of coaches over the previous seasons, the club has been unable to start coaching kids until U12s. The teams are selected during their first 2 weeks of Year 7 and they then work extremely hard over September and October in an attempt to catch up with the rest of the teams in the league, that have usually played for a least one whole season.
The boys had a great start to the year narrowly losing to Worthing D and D 40-38, while missing key players to football and blowing a 10 point lead. As the season went on the boys gained more and more experience and started to win more games. Their next 4 loses came at the hands of two equally matched opposition, Shoreham Spartans and Henfield Heat, who tied at the top of the league. With both boasting 3 regional players and a host of experienced other players, to say that we competed is impressive. In all 4 matches Cagers were within 5 points of their opposition on multiple occasions, with the last two matches seeing the boys within 5 with 4 minutes to go. However the opposition’s experience shone through and they were able to close out to win. Nevertheless Cagers finished an impressive 3rd in the league and once again faced Henfield Heat, in the last game of the season in the playoff semi finals.
Cagers got out to a great start, having a 5 point lead going into the second quarter only to see Henfield battle back to have a 3 point lead at the half. Heat were able to maintain this lead going into the 4th quarter, which saw the two teams trade baskets, before once again Henfields experience gleamed through and they were able to close out the game.
This was an incredibly impressive season for the boys, and we look forward to seeing them develop into great players. The next step now is for the more experienced of the team to make it into the Worthing Thunder national league squad in the summer.
The 14s are now hot on the tails of the U16 as they registered their second undefeated season and playoff run, while playing at their own age group. The boys dominated the league with a win average of 65.8ppg (72.3ppg without claimed games), as they proved to have one of the deepest benches in club history. Worthing D and D were the only team to prove any real threat to the 14s, but Cagers depth became apparent and the 14s beat them all 3 times (including playoff final), by a win average of 39ppg.
Its now important that the boys work hard on their skills to continue to improve and stay on top! It is very easy to get complacent now, but if the 14s are to stay undefeated by the time they are u16, they need to realise that the rest of the county will catch up.
Secondly congratulations to the;
The U16s continued to prove why they are one of the most dominant group of players to ever play in this county. The boys collected their 3rd out of 3 undefeated season and now sit on a record of 56 out of 56 wins, while playing at their own age group. If we were to include the two season that they have played up (u13s in u14 league and u15 in u16s league), the boys have had 4 undefeated seasons and a total Sussex League record of 88-2!
This season however was the boys toughest yet. The 16s had aso dominanted their u14s season, 2 years ago, and walked into the u16 season expecting the same, but Worthing D and D and Shoreham Spartans came at the boys looking to de-crown the reigning champs.
Worthing were the closest to succeeding as Cagers found themselves in losing situations in both match ups against D and D (something they hadn't experienced since their u12 season), however the boys depth and experience became apparent, as they fought back to take the lead and then protect it until the end.
The first match up with Shoreham saw Cagers work a lot harder and win by 44, but again complacency set in in the second game, as Shoreham came with a point to prove and led for 35 minutes, until the boys battled back to win by 14. Shoreham progressed to the play off finals, after beating a weakened D and D team in the semis, to face our U16s. This time was a different story, the boys came out focused and ready to once again prove why they are undefeated. Credit to Shoreham however who managed at a 1 point game by the end of the 1st, before Cagers rocketed ahead to win the game 94-55. The boys now have two more seasons with the club. Lets see if they can leave saying that they never lost a game while competing at their own age group.
We now wish the 16s the best of luck with their GCSE exams and we know they will get the results they deserve.
In their last season with the club, the 18s set out to achieve what they had been so close to achieving on two occasions, a league and playoff win. Both at u14s & u16s, the boys came runners up by a matter of points to a good Brighton Cougars team. With a strengthened bench, this year the boys were ready to win, and that they did.
The boys won the games they played convincingly, with a win average of 3o.9ppg, however 4 games were forfeited to them, unfortunately leaving them with only six league games to play. Despite this, the 18s had achieved one of their goals and claimed their first undefeated season and their first league title.
The lack of games during the season meant that the 18s were relatively fresh come playoff time, and they beat a hot Brighton Cougars team in the semi by 9, pitting the boys back in the playoff finals. A poor first quarter by Cagers saw them level at the half against STORM in the playoff finals, before regrouping to win the game by 20 in the second half and claiming their first playoff title. MVP Selby Hind-Wills also had a nice highlight, with an And 1 dunk (video coming soon).
We also now wish the 18s the best of luck with their AS/A level exams, again, we are sure they will get the results they deserve.
Next few weeks
We will now be taking a break over the exam period, and will come back on the 21st June with the fundraising shooting contest and season presentation. The new summer programme will then commence (details to follow).
Congratulations on the season Cagers!