Local youth basketball side crowned league champions

The West London Gators basketball U14s, who train at Hammersmith Academy near Ravenscourt Park, are officially top of the league.

The championship-winning Gators U14 side

The West London Gators basketball U14 side, who train at Hammersmith Academy near Ravenscourt Park, have been crowned champions of their league.

They came top of the London One Conference in Basketball England’s National League after racking up 18 wins and only two defeats.

Not only that, but they won two extra play-off games against other conference champions in the London area, and will now play in Basketball England’s U14 Premier Division next season – the highest tier possible in their age group.

Coach Lara Hassan said: “It is so rewarding, as coaches, to see the players reap the rewards of their efforts, especially as this area is not particularly known for playing basketball, and the children are fighting to put their name on the map. We would show up to games and referees from all over London would tell me they have seen our results and are impressed with how well our players are performing.”

The first play-off, against Oxford Hoops, ended 68-59 to the Gators, and the second, against True Vision Elite on 20 April, finished with a 59-43 win.

It means that the youngsters who train at Cathnor Road, Shepherds Bush, will now be competing against the best teams from across the country.

Captain Lincoln Cheung, 13, was delighted with the outcome of a hard-fought season, and thanked the coaches and parents. “From the start, when nobody expected us to win the league, to this moment right now where we didn’t just win it but got promoted to the Prem as well, I felt extremely proud,” he said.

Ironically, most of the current U14s will have had birthdays by the start of the new season, so will be too old to play!

“Hopefully, the new U14 team can continue the spirit in the coming year,” Lincoln added. “We’ve fulfilled our duty!” 

It’s another feather in the cap of head coach Mike Kwentoh, who founded the Gators just before the London 2012 Olympics, and now has 350 members at different age levels.

Showing their class from the start, the U14s began the season in September last year with a 123-5 crushing of Romford. By the season’s end, the Gators’ overall points difference was 974, compared to the second-place team with 549.

Training sessions run on Wednesdays during term time, from 6pm to 7.30pm.

Full details of how to get involved are here, or alternatively email chiswick.gators@gmail.com, or call Mike on 07961 736 013.

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