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Report: School Leagues & Competitions 2021/22

Introduction

In this report you will gain insight into the unique program London Basketball Association has created and evolved, and how we have enabled sensational outcomes for underprivileged communities, such as engaging with 2147 young players and offering them a minimum of 30 hours each of basketball related activities throughout the season. We have connected with the likes of the Michael Jordan Brand to enhance the experience and make it viable. We beckon you to read on so you can understand what was achieved and the process behind our accomplishments.
It’s been an amazing season that has had great team performances as well as individual players shining from all levels. We had a great season with participation from coaches, officials, and players to volunteers.

Especially during the challenging times of COVID-19; The LBA, schools, colleges and sixth forms have done well by taking the outstanding responsibility to overcome any and all difficulties that arose during the season.

There is also a surge in qualifying officials and coaches this year in which LBA & partners such as AllOfficials are giving opportunities to support & build all the schools in this programme, which has made the LBA Leagues & Competitions Schools Programme unique and special. Considering this has a positive impact on the wider community, this enhances the current infrastructure of basketball due to the current lack of Referees, Table Officials and Coaches (ROCs). In addition to this, we are adhering to our initiative of employability, as we also support these individuals who we certified in gaining access to paid and voluntary job opportunities.
“Basketball is the game, social change is the mission.”
- London Basketball Association

Overall Facts and Figures

  1. Michael Jordan Brand: LBA engaged with them and they have supported us with merchandise and money, as well as covering court hire fee, medals & trophies, kit for the females 3×3 league and attire.
  2. AllOfficials.co.uk: Have supported us with their technologies, which allow hiring sports officials to be made easier. They also allow us to offer basketball accreditation courses at up to 100% discounted rates- these include referee, table official and “media crew member at a sports event”.
  3. 2147 unique players this season gained 30 hours minimum of basketball programmes.
  4. The season had a schedule of 285 games, due to COVID-19 some games were canceled, but we managed to work around that and still got ¾ of our scheduled games completed.
  5. 222 games played across 10 leagues during September 2021 – June 2022 season.
  6. The league categories included:
    1. College and Sixth Form League: 5v5 for men and a 3×3 for women for the first time.
    2. Secondary School League: U14 & U16 had male & female divisions, in the boroughs of Westminster and Lambeth. We also hosted the Midseason Finals for each borough including Wandsworth during December, which had the same age and gender categories.
    3. Mini Tournaments: We also ran 3 mini tournaments of about 75 games for primary schools for the boroughs of Westminster, Islington, Hammersmith & Fulham.
  7. Playoffs: 47 games played throughout all the leagues.
  8. 62 out of 147 Games (~42%) were in the female leagues.
  9. End of Season College Tournament
    1. We hired a venue in London that has 5 basketball courts @ Score Leisure Centre
    2. We housed 16 teams from around England
    3. We hired 25 officials via the online platform to get officials (AllOfficials.co.uk)
    4. A total of 238 players
    5. 6 female teams & 10 male teams
    6. 24 staff covering the event
    7. 2 guest appearances: GB International player Kayne Henry & BBL 2 time MVP player Justin Robinson
    8. 3 representatives from Basketball England: Alfred, Anthony, & Duncan

College & Sixth Form: Men's League

The LBA is still the only official league for College and Sixth Form students over the age of 19 to have a consistent and regular competition.
The age range is predominantly, but not limited to, 16 to 24-year-olds, making our league viable for many schooling institutions in today’s society.
On top of this, as in previous years, we have had the pleasure of acting as a stepping stone for teams before they advance to the existing national leagues and or allow all their member students to compete.

In our College League this season, we have had teams showcase their talent, camaraderie & determination as all great student-athletes should! This was made evident by the fact that nearly every team had a win during the regular season, with many close games being played.
The athleticism on display was amazing and the results were truly awesome. With this great sportsmanship, we were able to put on over 60 games this past season, which included over 230 young men from colleges across London. The top four teams from the league season went on to compete in our playoffs. These teams were Riverside Campus, City of Westminster College, Lambeth College, and NewVIC.

The playoffs were incredible and ended with an intense final with a lot of beautiful games by both teams. In the end, there can only be one winner and Riverside was crowned champion. Below you can see the run-up to being champions.

College & Sixth Form: Women's 3x3 League

This season we aimed to have a college league for women. The plan was to have a 5v5 format, but unfortunately due to small squad sizes at the start of the season, LBA decided to change the format to a 3×3 roadshow allowing for more games and more participation by the institutions that had entered the league. The 3×3 format has already become a major part of the basketball community, so with it being our first time, many challenges emerged, but we overcame them. These difficulties include issues such as facilities being occupied, or not having as many participants that entered the league actually being able to attend each roadshow, or not having enough players for the league, which unfortunately meant some had to pull out. Even with these hurdles, the Roadshow still went ahead. There was so much enthusiasm and passion from all the staff, supporters, and female participants with the undefeated team Riverside Campus, Havering College Team 1 & Team 2, City of Westminster College, City & Islington College, and Lambeth College.
We got support from the Michael Jordan Brand and was able to provide merchandise and sponsored the trophies.
Hosting became a competition in itself, with CWC (City of Westminster College) being crowned champions as they brought a DJ and the crowd was electrifying.
3×3 is a new sport in the Olympics and Commonwealth Games. This has given the LBA a chance to place that into our leagues and create an exhilarating atmosphere.

School League: Westminster, Lambeth, and Wandsworth

Midseason Finals

We would normally hold a tournament format for the finals with each borough. Due to COVID-19, this year we were unable to host our regular Midseason Finals, so we held three separate borough finals with the top teams which also had 4 age categories: U16 boys, U16 Girls, U14 Boys, and U14 Girls.
These Midseason Finals were played in Westminster, Lambeth, and Wandsworth. The participation from all the players, officials, staff, and supporters was very positive and gave the experience an overall boost.

Lambeth & Westminster

In the Westminster School Leagues meant that over 65 games took place, which included 13 Schools and a whopping 37 teams, meaning around 500 young people participated in regular competitive basketball games during the course of the season which happened from October 2021 until April 2022.
On the other hand, the Lambeth School Leagues was intense and skilled over all age categories, there were over 80 games played between 18 schools and 40 teams, which allowed over 500 young participants to be consistent and play in competitive basketball games during this season which happened from October 2021 until April 2022.
We would like to thank everyone involved as they should be proud of themselves and all their efforts they put toward the leagues in whichever capacity. Whether they were the players, officials, volunteers, or supporters, thank you.
In particular, we should be revered in the following:
  1. Basketball in the City of Westminster has grown in participation from previous years.
  2. The girls were the most captivated we have ever witnessed. All the parents, family and friends would have been proud to see it!
  3. After previous years the boys showed sportsmanship and gratitude by praising the girls for competing on the hardwood floor.
  4. Little to no complaints about the professional officials. This includes the process of arranging them, especially as Westminster Sports Unit & LBA covered some of the cost!
  5. The LBA also ran a nationally recognised qualification course giving each school the ability for their students to become table officials.
  6. There were 77 teams in Lambeth and Westminster spread across 4 age categories.

Mini Tournaments

The Mini Tournaments were in three boroughs this season: Wandsworth, Hammersmith & Fulham, and Westminster. All of these competitions in total had 300 players with just under half of that amount being girls.
Our framework for these events was to do a unity warm-up to bring cohesion between the school teams. Then we proceed onto the skills and shooting challenges just before the lunch break. After break, schools are put into groups and we play a round robin before we proceed onto the semi-finals and finals.
  1. There were 20 schools from each borough.
  2. The Mini Tournament Winner goes to play Mini School Games.

The Future

  1. This is our 10th year anniversary and we are considering pivoting away from some of our programmes. This could be the leagues and competitions, as the need is now questionable due to alternatives available that are state-run competitions. With this the LBA can put its time and resources elsewhere that is needed. There is so much work to be done within basketball in London.
  2. Funding: The LBA is still looking for a consistent resource of sponsorship and grants that can help us grow into the best charity we can be.
  3. Our aim is to get all players in leagues qualified as Referees, table Officials and Coaches (ROCs) via nationally recognised accreditation. In addition to that, we would liketo give free access to 19 Duty of Care online courses such as First Aid and Child Protection. Then connect them to a platform for paid and voluntary work. This will not only provide a more organised game for our leagues but enhance the resources in the wider community as there is a lack of ROCs to date.
  4. Society is leaning towards using a digital format to record game stats and data throughout the season. This made it easier to report scores to the LBA.

Thank You

The LBA wants to thank everybody who made this season possible. We hope you can help us continue to be a pillar in our community to help build and improve them through sport and fitness. We saw phenomenal results this year, which improved on the year before and led to even higher levels of engagement.
We would like to give a big thank you to AJ Roberts and Sarah McDermott for their help toward this project and this could not have been achieved without the help and support form the wider LBA Team such as Jose Bautista from IT, Matthew Hanselman from Marketing, and every volunteer and intern that was with us during this time period.

We would like to thank all the councils and their sport departments that we have worked with, including Westminster’s Angela Emmanuel & Jon Hearn, Lambeth’s Rodney Craig and Alex Watts and all of the school teachers that liaise with us, such as the American School in London (Westminster) who were always supporting and willing to host their facilities for competitions.

We would like to thank the Michael Jordan brand for stepping in and enhancing the experience with their merchandise and financial support, every kid that has benefited will never forget, and this falls in line to one of our objectives which is to inspire the next generation to be involved with sport for a lifetime.
We would like to thank the South Kilburn Trust (The Granville) as they house our headquarters where the majority of our “off the court work” goes down.
We would like to thank AndCo for providing us with ad hoc office spaces around London, it allowed us to work around London and to not have our operations confined to one location.