Westside have turned heads all season long and came up big in the CBL U12 Playoff Final as they played hard until the end to overcome the talented Activities4U 33-26 on Sunday 26th June 2016.
Ever since the start of the season, Westside have been tough competition, and considering it’s their first ever season playing in the CBL, they have done incredibly well to go all the way and finish as this year’s CBL U12 Champions.
However, Westside’s journey to the championship was met with hurdles along the way as their opponents at Activities4U displayed the same intensity and hunger, making the Finals an entertaining game throughout.
The first quarter saw both teams come out strong as A4U’s sharpshooter, Miles Sewell, quickly made his way to the basket to score four points, before Westside’s CJ Merino responded with 5 points of his own in an effort to tie the game 7-7.
CJ Merino continued to showcase some exceptional ball handling skills, and his ability to seemingly float past opponents led to Westside gaining a narrow 11-9 lead. On the other end of the court, A4U’s star player, Summer Eytle-Rock, would often take the direct approach, driving into key to draw fouls and add a few points for her team from the free throw line. The first half ended 15-11 with Westside settling into their rhythm and in general control of the game.
As the second half began, Westside remained a well-oiled machine with some neat passing and clever off the ball movement that saw team mate, Jeremy Towleh, finish with 10 points in total. Summer and Miles kept A4U in the game with impressive jump shots and inside drives, but despite their best efforts, Westside’s organisation meant that they held on to a slim 21-19 lead before the fourth quarter.
With everything to play for, CJ Merino proved why he thoroughly deserved his MVP award with a solid minute of him totally crushing it on the court. The final minutes of the game saw the talented youngster knock down back to back threes, followed by a slick crossover before he finished with a left handed lay up to end with 11 points overall, enabling Westside to stay in front and win by 7.
Recognised for his leadership and dominance on court, CJ Merino was named the MVP, and said, “We did it! We won! It’s a dream come true to be named the U12 Champions as this is our first time playing in the league. I’m very proud of all my team mates because we’ve all worked hard to get here. It feels great to win and we’re already excited for next season as many of us will have the chance to play up a division and defend this title, and hopefully, many more!”
Following a great team performance, A4U’s Summer Eytle-Rock, said, “I am pleased with how we played, and although we didn’t manage to lift the trophy, I am very proud of my team for reaching the final. Competition makes you better and we’ll be ready for next season where we hope to prove ourselves worthy of winning the chip!”
Written by Amani Eccleston
Photography by Swarzy Macaly[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]