Sevenoaks Suns rise to the occasion, win maiden WBBL title

Mansoor Ahmed
Mansoor Ahmed

The moment that the final buzzer sounded, the Sevenoaks Suns celebrated like they had just won a game and not the Women’s British Basketball League title.

Then the trophy that was unbeknownst to them in Manchester came out and the looks on their faces were more of a state of surprise. But, mere seconds later, the celebrations began, and they even attempted ‘flossing’, a dance move made famous by YouTube sensation ‘The Backpack Kid’ and the popular video game Fortnite.

Tayani Clarke led Sevenoaks with 16 points as the Suns defeated the Manchester Mystics 57-44 on Saturday to seal the title and deny Leicester Riders a men/ women’s double domestic crown.

“We have deserved this due to hard work, playing together and believing in ourselves,” said Sevenoaks coach Len Busch.

“The road has been hard and we have faced our obstacles but that’s what makes this group really special and they have earned this win and the championship. I’m truly delighted for them.”

The road to the title though began rather nervously, despite Sevenoaks holding Manchester to a single rebound in just over the first three minutes, their shooting accuracy was lacking as the Mystics raced into a 10-3 lead.

But with the title at stake, it didn’t take long for Sevenoaks to find their rhythm, even with star player Catherine Carr struggling they found answers elsewhere and took a four-point lead after the first quarter that later stretched to eight with 1:13 remaining in the second period thanks to an impressive Chantelle Pressley, who amassed xx points.

The Suns eventually got their double-digit lead in the third quarter, but despite the advantage, Manchester were beginning to build momentum late on in the period as Sevenoaks offence began getting static and there were holes left wanting in their defensive pattern.

But the Mystics’ belief was short-lived, and with every Sevenoaks bucket that dropped, every turnover that they forced, their bench cheered, clapped and roared just a little bit louder.

This was their time. They were not to be denied.

And with 2:21 left, Carr completed a free-flowing passing sequence to give Sevenoaks a 55-39 lead that brought the bench to its feet.

Admittedly there were very few notable plays in a scrappy contest, but that particular play was worthy of the Suns’ success. They had earned it.

“We were slow to get off the mark, admittedly but the girls knew that once their shots started dropping and we found our groove, we would be fine,” said Busch.

“We were calm throughout and patient at both ends and executed when needed.”