ARU men’s basketball team wins national league title

Published: 22 March 2022 at 12:30

Lord Ashcroft Building in Cambridge

Place in promotion playoffs is secured following championship victory at the weekend

Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) men’s team clinched the National Basketball League Division 3 East Conference title with a 71-56 victory over University of Hertfordshire Storm on Saturday (19 March).

The victory means they will be able to apply for promotion to Division 2 next season, and will now participate in the National Play-Offs to determine the best team in the country at Division 3 level. 

Having recently lost to Storm 93-85 in their previous league game on 12 March, this final regular season game was set to be a real contest, with both teams battling for a play-off spot and with ARU aiming to clinch their first ever league title. 

The game started evenly between the two University sides, as ARU finished the first quarter 20-16 ahead thanks to some transition lay-ups from Jaylon Braithwaite and athletic point guard Samuel Horváth.

The home team would then go on to extend their lead in the second quarter off the back of an excellent rebounding performance and went into the locker room at half time with a 43-31 lead over the Hertfordshire based team.

ARU came out of the blocks strongly in the third quarter with an excellent defensive performance, holding Storm to only eight points in that period. This was further complemented by the interior scoring ability of Finley D'Avilar who would help ARU extend their lead to a 19-point cushion going into the fourth quarter. 

Despite Storm's athleticism, tenacity and 17-13 fourth quarter performance, the teamwork and defensive efforts of ARU were too much for the visitors and the home team secured the league title and place in the National Play-Offs.

ARU Men’s Basketball Head Coach, Matthew Harber, said:

“I’m most happy for the players because they had to work for over seven months for this result. This one was one of our goals we set in September and here we are. They have practiced and competed consistently to get to this point and some of them for more than one season too. It wasn't just about winning this 40 minutes today, for me it was also about winning after the last five years of work here.”

Speaking after the game, Captain Ben Nailer said:

“You have to experience good times and bad times in order to achieve a goal. This performance demonstrated incredible courage and determination from the group in order to achieve the team’s long-term goal.”

ARU will now face London Thunder in the first round of the National Play-Offs on Saturday (26 March).

ARU also has a women’s basketball team that competes in the Women's National Basketball League (WNBL) Division One.