The irrepressible OWE U12’s (7-0) continued their outstanding season with a convincing semi-final win against the valiant but overmatched Chiswick Gators (4-3) in the first game of the CBL Final Fours, advancing to the U12 finals with the 56-38 victory.

The Gators have been a rapidly improving outfit this season and appeared to be peaking at the right time, with a nail-biting win over London Elite A in their final game of the regular season, which secured their place in the CBL Final Fours. The dynamic duo of Chris Sagun and Ameer Ali have been leading the way all season for the young Gators and so it was again in this game.

Sagun is a big guard who can put the ball on the floor and finishes well in the mid-range which served him well in racking up 17 points personal in Chiswick’s biggest game of the season. Ali is a vastly improved guard who puts in the hard hours of personal practice, as evidenced by his escalated scoring ability out of the triple threat with a refined series of dribble-drive moves he deployed enroute to a solid 21 point showing. Both guards should be commended on a positive season in carrying the Gators U12 campaign (and carry they did, scoring ALL of the Gators points in this game, between them).

However, the West Londoners came up against a different animal in this one. A cohesive unit of exciting young ballers who were simply not going to be denied their place in the CBL Finals.

OWE are, by definition, ‘built different’.

Their energy, once they get going, cranks up to level 10 with a quickness. Led by ‘The Youngest In Charge’ Zaire Colbert and his backcourt partner in dimes, Christopher ‘Too Cold To Hold’ Coley, OWE continue to be ‘must see TV’ for those interested in finding out where the next generation of stars of the game can be found. These boys are NICE, nice (so nice I said it twice!). If you don’t know about them now, you certainly will find out about them later. Timestamp that.

If you’re in the U12 division and playing against Colbert (still just 10 years old!) good luck trying to stay in front of this ball handling blur. Not only can he handle the rock arguably nicer than any player in the league at any age division, he’s lightening quick an has NBA range (yes, I said NBA…) on his 3 ball, which he hit early and often in this game (3 made deep 3’s in this game). His shooting and handle pass the eye test for even a casual fan but those who understand the game on a deeper level will appreciate his ability to get into the lane at will, play through contact and an advanced ability to create and deliver scoring opportunities for his teammates. His 21 point personal total (on 71% fg shooting from 2) didn’t even tell half the story. He’s a magnetic presence who shows up when his team needs him to the most. Oh, did I mention, he’s still only 10 years old?!? Madness.

When watching Coley, you have to remind yourself you are watching the U12 division as his game looks like he’s been doing ‘this’ for years. He looks like a professional scorer at times, able to ice his man and create his own shot in any 1 on 1 coverage. If you get caught out on an island with Coley, only 1 of you is going to survive and the body of evidence has shown us, he’ll be the one still standing. He’s hungry. He’s humble. He’s talented. Oh, and he can also SHOOT the ball, again from NBA range. His ability to hit 3’s in bunches forces defenders to play up on him, which is blood to a shark. He eats. Sounds like a lot of praise and hype for a player still so young, but he has been that good in the CBL this season, and was again, in this game, leading all scorers with 24 points in keeping OWE on course and booking their place in the U12 Finals.

Remember their names and if you get an opportunity – go see their games.

Certified Gold.