The CBL U14 top division featured the most closely contested battle for top billing across the entire CBL between two ‘perfect’ teams, O.W.E Zoo Crew and the London Legends. Both squads ran through the division with perfect records of 6 wins and 0 losses, setting up ‘the game of the season’ where they were to face off against each other in the final game of the regular season where ‘one of the 0’s had to go’.
However, Corona had other plans…
Due to the season coming to an abrupt end because of COVID-19, the 2019/20 campaign concluded with the team on top of the regular season standings being crowned as CBL Champions. In normal circumstances, the playoff winner each season is awarded the division annual title. However, there is great merit in recognising and rewarding the most consistently high performing team of the season, which Zoo crew proved to be.
For some, London Legends may seem to have received the short straw in an extremely close competition, as both teams finished their campaign unbeaten in the division. However the rules of the league stipulate that where two teams are tied on record, the higher placed team will be the one which won the ‘head to head’. In this case, due to the COVID-19 situation, that game never happened (much to our collective dismay). The next line of division, in determining who the higher placed team is, moves on to points differential (the margin of difference between overall points scored and overall points allowed) over the entire season. While this was also very close, it was the overall margin of victory against all of the same teams London Legends played, that pushed Zoo Crew into the number 1 spot, by a differential points total of +110, against London Legends score of +93.
For the league and fans who have enjoyed watching both teams play this season, we can only look forward to next season, where we hope this highly anticipated rivalry will get to play out on the court, against each other. However in the meantime, CBL Commissioner Nhamo Shire sums the situation up well:
“Both Zoo Crew and London Legends had exceptional seasons that they should both be proud about. Unfortunately, Corona has robbed us all of watching what would have been the game of the season, in both teams final game and then who knows what the playoffs would have offered up. That being said, it is fair and correct that we award Zoo Crew as under 14 division 1 champions as they were consistently the highest performing team in the division, by a 17 point margin between them and the Legends in their points differential. They also featured two of the consistently outstanding players in the division in Ric Trotter and Rylan Rodriguez, though their whole team brought it every game. Ultimately, their name says it all. O.W.E stands for out work everyone and all the credit must go to the outstanding coaches, kids and parents because they really did that all season. Congratulations on a great first season in the league, we look forward to welcoming them back to defend their crown in the 2020-2021 campaign”.
Head Coach Mike Trotter:
“If I had to use one word to describe this team, it would be ‘resilient’. CBL presented a level of competition our team wasn’t accustomed to. We actually trailed early in most of our games. However, the kids trusted the gameplan, the coaches, each other, and the mantra of the program…OutWorkEveryone and the results speak for themself. The composition of the roster by seasons end was vastly different than what we started with but the kids never made excuses. I want to thank CBL for being such a gracious host and Coach KC for trusting myself and Coach Anthony to lead a group of great kids.”