Report: Ethan Jaiswal
The MK Breakers’ CBL (College Basketball League) team, the MK5D Basketball Academy, were crowned National Champions with a 98-91 victory in the competition’s playoff final on 29th March against Bracknell & Wokingham College in front of a 150+ travelling support.
The academy, a partnership between the Breakers and the 5 Dimensions Trust, is based at Shenley Brook End School and has enjoyed a hugely successful, undefeated 15-0 season that culminated in the ultimate prize of playoff final success at one of the UK’s premier basketball venues, the National Performance Centre, Manchester.
The newly rebranded CBL caters for 16-19 year-olds and provides a competitive outlet for educational-based basketball programmes’ and the Breakers make history winning the competition in just their second season, demonstrating the strength of the club’s grassroots infrastructure.
The team would get off to a blistering start in the game, with William Issekya and CBL league MVP Robert Barkauskas combining for their team’s first 21 points as they helped their side establish an early double-digit lead. After the MK side connected on their first 7 3-point attempts, Bracknell were forced to re-think their zone defence, but with the Breakers already in rhythm, they took a commanding 33-17 lead after the first quarter.
Coach Beddow’s squad would complete a professional first half performance taking the second quarter 23-19, to take a commanding 56-36 lead in to half time.
The MK5D team would control the second half proceedings, with the game never really in the balance. The Breakers would have strong contributions across the roster, in particular Eben Effah who controlled the paint, hauling in 11 rebounds, and Point Guard Eric Arriaga who played an exceptional floor game, pulling the strings and making timely plays on his way to 14 points and 11 assists.
A late surge from Bracknell when the game was over made the scoreline more respectable, but the MK team ran out comfortable 98-91 winners.
William Issekya would go on to win much-deserved Finals MVP honours after posting an eye-watering 25 points on 64 FG%, 4-6 3PTs, 3 rebounds and 5 assists in less than 28 minutes of play. One of the key players in Coach Beddow’s rotation for the Breakers’ men’s team, it is clear that Issekya has used the opportunity playing at a higher age group to improve his game and develop his mindset ahead of his years.
Under the guidance of Head Coach Billy Beddow, assisted by Kai Williams, the MK5D team have moved from strength-to-strength in just their second season, and shown that they were a level above the competition over the course of the regular and post-season.
Highlights of the game can be viewed here.
Photo Album here.
Members of the MK5D team were the recipients of multiple end-of-season awards:
Coach of the Year Billy Beddow.
All-Conference 1st team William Issekya and Robertas Barkauskas.
League Most Valuable Player Robertas Barkauskas.