Erks 1 65 - Cardinals 76
Erks 2 64 - Lakers 44
It was a case of mixed fortunes for Erkenwald's 2 Essex Met League teams in the end of season play-offs, as hopes of an all-Erkenwald final were dashed, but Declan McCusker's league title winning side remain very much on target for the double.
In Tuesday's first semi-final, Ed Bailey's youthful Erks "A" team, who had exceeded expectations in finishing runners-up in the league, found the bigger, more experienced Cardinals team a bridge too far. 19 year old point guard Craig Morris who has put in some dominant performances this season was well shackled by the Cardinals defence and the Erks lack of size was exploited by the Cardinals big men who dominated around the basket. Although the game was close throughout, a Cardinals run in the 4th quarter took their lead to double figures, a margin the Erks could never get to grips with as they ran out 76-65 losers.
McCusker's men had no such trouble in their semi-final on Thursday night as they brushed aside 4th placed Lakers 64-44 in a scrappy game. 6'9 centre Dave Churches exhibited his shooting range with three first half 3 pointers and fellow shooter Lee Atkinson was unstoppable in the first quarter, however the Lakers managed to stay in touch at half-time as their French guard Carl Fortes was having success relentlessly driving to the hoop.
The Erks made a decisive move in the 3rd quarter, as forwards Paul Hayden and Richard Williams combined with Churches to block the route to the basket and dominate the rebounding, allowing the Erks speedy Italian point guard David Passacantilli to escape repeatedly on the fast-break, the Erks opening a 20 point lead. As the Lakers struggled to score from outside and were being worn down inside, the Erks introduced athletic forward Martin Overare, who picked up 8 quick points leaping around the hoop to see the Erks home.
The Erks-Cardinals final will be played on Thursday 22 May, tipping off at 8.45pm at the Erks home court Sydney Russell School in Dagenham, with the Erks looking to emulate last year's champions Hainault & Woodford Stars by picking up the league and play-off double.
Erks Scorers (v Lakers):
Atkinson 14, Churches 14, Overare 10, Passacantilli 10, Hayden 9, Glennard 5, Williams 2, McCusker, Bromfield.
Report posted: 19/05/03