The champions

THERE was an unexpected triumph for the young basketballers from the MBA Cougars. The under-16 side, drawn from Stevenage, North Herts and North London, won the final of the London Junior Basketball League. They beat Islington Panthers 69-60 at Hackney on

THERE was an unexpected triumph for the young basketballers from the MBA Cougars.

The under-16 side, drawn from Stevenage, North Herts and North London, won the final of the London Junior Basketball League.

They beat Islington Panthers 69-60 at Hackney on Sunday after overcoming Eastside Eagles 59-45 in the semis earlier in the day.

It is their first season together as a team and they also made the playoffs in the under-18s event.

They initially came third in the under-16 league before the boys were asked to replay their semi-final after the other side fielded ineligible players.

The players played in both the under-16s and the under-18s.

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They were Josh Lydon and Liam Nicholson (both Highfield School), Daniel Lorimer, Daniel Brown and Sam Kotomah (Marriotts), Adam Clake (St Christopher) and Brendan Newton (Nobel).

The London boys were Robert Gilchrist, Christopher Johnson, Mehkeddad Lothian, Sebastian Thiel, Ryan Grant, Anthony Thaunuous, Alex Ducasse, Jordan Stuart and Jonathon Ebuke.

Their players have been training at Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre for nearly a year.

Councillor Carol Latif came to a recent training session to present the players with their trophies.

The MBA Cougars would like to thank coaches Garnett Jones, Ashley Goldson and John Stephens.

Coach Jones said: "This season was a development one but with team work, hard work and determination, look what the players have achieved.