The Lions of the future will look to make another step towards becoming national champions when Barking Abbey Academy travel to Charnwood College on Wednesday.

The Elite Academy Basketball League semi-final will see the teams writing another chapter in one of the most storied rivalries in the competition, with the two sides unable to cross paths since the famous 2019 final which saw Abbey surrender a big lead.

Riders denied BA a third-straight EABL title that day, so it will be a revenge missing for the Lions’ academy side. They survived a survived a close call at home to Derby in last week’s quarter-final, eventually escaping with a 71-67 win.

After the visitors took the opening quarter 18-14, Lions clicked into gear and used a 24-15 second to put themselves back in control. Eighteen points from top scorer Joe Buchanan would be key to the Lions sealing the win, with Cem Uner adding 14 and Eddie Colley nine as they became the only side from the south to reach the final four.

After winning the northern conference with a 13-1 record, Riders made short work of John Madejski Academy (Reading) in the quarter-finals with a 104-72 victory last week.

Unfortunately Lions’ women won’t be joining their clubmates in the final four as they went down 75-51 at unbeaten Nottingham Academy Wildcats. Praise Egharevba did most of the damage as the German national dropped a game-high 32 points, and although Fatmata Janneh went close to matching her with 31 points, Lions’ season ended in disappointment.

New College Lions, coached by BBL guard Andre Lockhart are also looking for a place in new week’s final day as they make the short trip to Dagenham Park in the Academy Basketball League quarter-finals.

Lockhart’s team beat Stoke-on-Trent College 84-52 in the last 16 before edging out Aston Manor Academy 63-49 in last week’s quarter-final. The 2019/20 co-champions will face another side with a perfect 16-0 record.

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