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COUNTY Upper School basketball academy coach Darren Johnson has hailed his young side after they made history earlier this month.

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The Bury-based under-17s became the first team from Suffolk to compete in a national final at that age level, losing out 85-63 to St Aloysius in the final of the National School Championships at the Nottingham Wildcats Arena.

Coach Johnson said: “I am really proud of all our players for getting to the final game of the under-17 National Schools Tournament.

“It is a shame we could not of won the last game of the season, but I have found throughout my coaching career that teams will sometimes have to find a way to battle though diversity to win Championships.

“On this occasion though we came up short in finding a way, but will never forget the sweat and hard work we all sacrificed to make it this far.”

County Upper’s journey began in the Eastern Regional pool, finishing top after defeating St Columba’s, Notre Dame and SEEVIC to qualify for the last 16.

A 66-57 win against Birmingham, followed by a 69-44 victory over Burleigh College from Leicester, ensured they qualified for the final stages.

Victory over North of England qualifiers Helsby School 96-69 set up the final, where County were defeated by 22 points.

“We battled and up until half time we were only three points down which is a great achievement,” he added.

“I couldn’t ask any more from the team, we just gave everything. It was a great experience.”

For more information on the County Upper School Basketball Academy, visit www.cu-basketball.com

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