MK Breakers U16 Girls overcame Richmond Knights 90-75 to be crowned U16 National Champions at the Basketball England Final Fours this weekend in Manchester.

The Breakers U14 Girls also reached the Final Fours, but came up agonisingly short in the final, losing to a strong Manchester Mystics side 78-69.


U16 Girls Semi-Final, MK Breakers 64-55 CoLA Southwark Pride
The Breakers overcame a resilient CoLA Southwark Pride team 64-55 in the semi-final on Saturday to book their spot in Sunday’s showpiece game. MK got off to a hot start thanks to 6 quick points from Athena Thompson. CoLA quickly switched to a zone defence in the hope of slowing down Thompson and the Breakers offense. The tactic worked as CoLA got back into the game to trail 15-10 at the end of the first quarter.

The Breakers stingy defence limited CoLA to just 16 points in the first half, as they took the second quarter 17-6 to lead 32-16 at half-time, seemingly in control of the game. The Breakers were guilty of taking their eye off the ball in the second half, as the gritty CoLA team stayed in the game thanks to some aggressive defence and late shot-clock three-pointers. The Breakers kept their cool in the final minutes to keep CoLA at bay, to set up another Finals match-up with Richmond Knights, the team who defeated them in the National Cup Final in January, the team’s only loss of the season.

Athena Thompson was dominant, posting a triple-double in the victory with 30 points, 12 rebounds and 13 steals. Kaiya Bateman also flirted with a triple-double, posting 14 points, 11 rebounds and 8 steals.


U14 Girls Semi-Final, MK Breakers 84-61 Sheffield Hatters
The U14 Girls, inspired by the U16’s became the second Breakers team to book their spot in a National Final with an 84-61 victory over the Sheffield Hatters, the most decorated women’s basketball club in UK history. Entering the game undefeated all season, the Breakers knew they would be in for a difficult match-up against the much taller Hatters team.

Although the score line may not have reflected it in the first half, the Breakers controlled the game from tip to buzzer, with their tenacious full court press making the Sheffield side play at a pace they were not comfortable with, forcing them in to 59 turnovers for the game.

The young Breakers team struggled at times to finish over the height of the Hatters help defenders, which caused an uncharacteristically low shooting percentage on the day, but the Breakers defence would be the difference as they ran out comfortable winners with all 12 players seeing court time.

Chantelle Okoli (27 points, 10 steals) and Faith Deakin (27 points, 9 steals) were the two standout performers for the Breakers.


U16 Girls Final, MK Breakers 90-75 Richmond Knights
The MK Breakers U16 Girls made history on Sunday, becoming the first Junior team in club history to win a National title. After a dominant league season, where the team finished 16-0 atop the Northern Premier, the only blemish on the team’s record was a frustrating 86-66 loss in the Cup Final to the Richmond Knights, the same team who knocked them out of the playoffs at the quarter-final stage the past two seasons.

With the previous results against Richmond, the Breakers girls were determined to not have their season end in defeat to the Knights again. Coach Tony Marmo had his team prepared for the game, making the correct tactical adjustments against Richmond’s full court press and half court zone defences which had thwarted the Breakers in previous encounters.

The aggressive switching defence of the Breakers though, was the difference this time, forcing Richmond to commit 27 turnovers whilst holding them to 36% shooting for the game.

With Richmond having to come out of their zone defence, they were unable to contain Athena Thompson, who had an outstanding game with 40 points, 9 rebounds and 6 steals. Despite battling foul trouble all game, the Great Britain U16 star would not be denied as she dominated the game at both ends of the floor to earn MVP honours. A special mention must also go to newcomer Jovy Chan, who joined the team this season. Jovy put on a sensational scoring performance for the Breakers, hitting 9/14 from the field for 22 points, including 3 3-pointers at crucial times in the game. Thompson and Chan were joined in double figures by Captain Lauren Tsang, who finished with 10 points.

Rewatch the second half here.


U14 Girls Final, Manchester Mystics 78-69 MK Breakers
The MK Breakers U14 Girls came up just short of a perfect season, falling to a strong Manchester Mystics team 78-69 in the National Final. After completing a perfect 16-0 league season, winning by an average of 65 points, the Breakers were crowned Southern Premier Champions. They steamrolled their way to the National Final with a 100 point quarter-final win over Mystics’ second team and an 84-61 win over Northern Premier runners-up the Sheffield Hatters in the semi-final.

Like the Breakers, the Mystics also went undefeated all season, dominating the Northern Premier league in a similar fashion. The final was a thrilling encounter, with both teams displaying high levels of skill and determination. After 10 minutes the Breakers would lead 17-18, but struggled to contain Mystics star Mojan Malek who scored 14 first quarter points. 

The second and third quarters belonged to Mystics as they entered the final 10 minutes with a 58-48 lead. The Breakers however would not go down without a fight. A 9-0 run to start the fourth quarter, capped by a Faith Deakin lay-up brought the Breakers to within a point at 58-57, but it was Malek again who steadied the ship for the Mystics, responding with a score of her own.

The Breakers would give it their all until the final buzzer, but hampered by injury and foul trouble, they didn’t have enough in the tank to get back in front.

Alyssia Felton led the Breakers scoring with 16 points and 7 rebounds. She was well supported by Faith Deakin and Chantelle Okoli who finished with 15 and 14 points respectively. Chine Ibegbulam contributed a double-double off the bench with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Rewatch the game here.