The Men’s and Women’s elite basketball teams regular season ended last Wednesday with an historic outcome for Oaklands College as the men became Southern Conference Champions for the first time in college history.
Oaklands basketball programs are part of the National governing bodies elite pathway for U19 national and regional level athletes. Since its inception in 2009, Oaklands has been playing catch up to established programs having to create a culture of basketball in and around Hertfordshire. Traditionally our Women’s program has seen more success. With the college being represented at the WBBL professional level at weekends to stretch our academy players it has meant our U19 women are regulars in post season action. This season is no different, with a home win 58-52 against John Madejski Academy on Wednesday the women will be in the playoffs with either a 2nd or 3rd place finished depending on pending results.
On the men’s side Oaklands have only achieved one top four finish in 12 years of competition. This past season they have added a senior men’s team competing in the second tier of professional men’s national league – a move to simulate the success that the women have experienced through the WBBL model. It looks like it has had an immediate impact; with a hard fought home victory over John Madejski Academy 71-61 on Wednesday the men secured the championship after going unbeaten at home all season. The win also secures Oaklands as 1st seed in the playoffs which means successive home games if they continue to win in playoff competition.
Head of performance and men’s coach Lee Ryan said ‘its been a great season for all our basketball programs this year. We have worked for years trying to close the gap to powerhouse city based programs and we now have the ability to cement ourselves as one of the top basketball programs in the country. To make that a reality there is more work to do off court, but the players on court this year have been phenomenal. When you consider the disruption the pandemic has had on this year groups development its testament to the work they have put in all season. The players and staff have really pulled off something special this year and we hope it continues into playoffs!”
Oaklands men will face the 4th placed team in the northern conference at home on March 16th. If the women end up 2nd they will also play home on the same date (away if they finish 3rd).
Follow the basketball programmes on Instagram at @oaklandsball and @oaklandswolvesacademy!