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St Aloysius’ College Under-15s returned from the English Schools finals in Nottingham with their heads held high after pushing the eventual winners all the way.

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The Islington team went into their game against Lancaster School from Leicester, without the influential Jordi Kembelo, who fractured his ankle in training earlier in the week.

Despite that, St Aloysius’ acquitted themselves well in the early stages and went 18-13 up at the end of the first quarter, but Lancaster fought back to lead at half-time.

The Saints underlined their character in the third quarter as they regained a slim 47-45 advantage – yet fatigue began to tell as the well-drilled Lancaster side applied pressure.

Captain Chiem Eluwa and guard Jesse Bilomba kept working hard in a bid to keep St Aloysius’ in the game, but the Leicester team gradually pulled away to triumph 62-56 and went on to claim the national title.

“I am proud we have reached a fifth English Schools’ final in five years, albeit with a new team this season, but it wasn’t our day,” said St Aloysius’ coach Will Akuffo.

“The boys have worked hard and will learn from this experience as we look towards next season.”

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