Battle in the Capital ’19: Men’s U19 Review!
The Battle in the Capital U19 event took place at UEL SportsDock on December 21st and 22nd, and featured some of the UK’s best academies, as well as high-level European talent. The field of teams included Barking Abbey, one of Europe’s top junior programs, BC Oostende, who are arguably Belgium’s best junior program, and a BTM Select team that featured one of the best British prospects in the last 10 years.
The on-court action didn’t fail to disappoint, as teams fought hard on Day 1’s group stage to make it through to the best bracket possible on Day 2’s playoffs and championship. After the dust settled on pool play, the teams that would be playing for 9-12 place would be BHASVIC, Nottingham Academy, Oaklands College and Carmel College. Competing for 5-8 place were TT Haarlem (Netherlands), StrideYourPassion (Switzerland), Northfleet Technology College and Mayfield Academy. Battling for the BITC crown in 1-4 place were Barking Abbey, BC Oostende (Belgium), BTM Select and James Watt Academy.
Barking Abbey took a convincing victory against James Watt 53-32, showing their physical prowess and the skill level that makes them so challenging to beat. On the other half of the top 4, the BTM Select and Oostende were locked in a tight match-up, until the Select group managed to pull away and win 55-41.
The final was one of the most memorable games of basketball in the UK this season. The lead changed hands multiple times throughout the contest, with some big scores from Abbey’s Sam Alajiki and BTM’s Latrell Maitland. A stretch ensued in which BTM Select star Cameron Hildreth hit a barrage of incredibly challenging 3’s to go up 7, before Barking fought right back to tie the game and take it to overtime, led by some dazzling drives from Louis Norton-Cuffey and capitalized by a dunk from the super-talented Veron Eze. In OT Barking Abbey’s Flynn Boardman-Raffet came up clutch, bringing poise and maturity and leading his team to the championship win and claiming the MVP award for his efforts.
Notable tournament performances were as follows:
Flynn Boardman-Raffet – Barking Abbey (MVP): A composed and mature basketball player, Flynn brings a high basketball IQ and skill level to his team and makes a major impact every time he steps on the floor. Throughout the tournament he came up clutch time and time again, hitting big shots from the perimeter and scoring at the basket in a variety of ways. His body language is positive and he brings great energy both on the court and from the bench.
Cameron Hildreth – BTM Select: Arguably one of the most talented prospects in the UK in the last 10 years, Cameron is a scoring machine who can put the ball in the basket from anywhere inside the half-way line. He can hit tough shots from deep with a hand in his face, has a smooth mid-range game including a back to the basket fadeaway package, and is one of the most agile finishers around the basket in junior basketball. He has an elite defensive IQ, has a tremendous motor and is a fearless competitor.
Tyrese Lacey – James Watt: At only 14 years old and standing no more than 5’5, Great Britain U16 international Tyrese was by far the youngest and smallest player in the tournament. But what he lacked in age and height he more than made up for in elite skill and basketball IQ, finding his teammates with slick passes and hitting mid range pull-ups and floaters around the basket.
Matteo Verstraete – BC Oostende: A flat-out scorer and leader, Matteo poured in the points for his Oostende team in a variety of ways, from jump-shots to tough drives around the basket.
Veron Eze – Barking Abbey: A high-level athlete, Veron excelled around the basket at both ends with high-flying finishes and superb rebounding and rim protection. His shooting and ballhandling have improved greatly and he’s making big strides as an offensive threat.
Jaron Held – TT Haarlem: A very talented guard, Jaron controlled the pace of the game as and when he wanted to with elite ballhandling skills and a unique ability to change speed.
Josh Ijeh – James Watt: A long and athletic forward, Josh Ijeh rebounded the ball ferociously at both ends and swatted anything that came near him around the basket.
Jarne Vandenabeele – BC Oostende: A crafty PG with superb court vision, Jarne was the motor behind his team’s stellar performance. A master at using the pick and roll, he found his teammates for great shots both around the basket and on the perimeter.
Latrell Maitland – BTM Select: A quick, energetic and skilled guard, Latrell provided the BTM Select team with bundles of positive energy at both ends. From electrifying drives to long-range bombs, Latrell scored in a variety of ways, as well as finding teammates around the basket with his slick passing skills.
Louis Norton-Cuffey – Barking Abbey: A strong and hard-nosed guard, Louis played exceptional on-ball defense and made challenging scores when his team needed him, including in the championship game where he made some difficult finishes around the rim.
Tournament standings were as follows:
1. Barking Abbey
2. BTM Select
3. James Watt Academy
4. BC Oostende
5. Mayfield Academy
7. TT Haarlem
8. Northfleet Tech
9. Carmel College
10. Oaklands College
11. Nottingham Academy
Huge thank you to all the players, coaches, staff and supporters that helped make the event happen, we really appreciate you. Next year’s Battle in the Capital U19 tournament will be even bigger and better than the 2019 edition – if you want to register your interest in attending Battle in the Capital 2020 please click the button below. We expect demand to be high so please register early.
Register your interest for BITC 2020
We are a UK based company which offers domestic and international development and competitive opportunities for UK and international clubs and schools. We run a number of tournaments in the UK where we aim to host UK and international teams and we offer tour and tournament packages to the USA, Spain, Portugal, France and other European locations.