SEVENOAKS SUNS have stormed into the final of the Women’s British Basketball League (WBBL) at the O2 next weekend.
They will take on Nottingham Wildcats to decide the league title after edging past Leicester Riders 56-53 at their opponents’ arena.
The team had to come from 14 points down in the first half, holding the Riders to six points in the third quarter for a five-point cushion.
Leicester closed to within one in the final quarter before a huge three from Renee Busch as the Suns went ahead 56-48.
The hosts replied with the next five points and had the chance to force overtime but could not connect from three-point range.
Gabby Nikitinaite scored 14 points, Renee and Cat Carr added 13 each and Anne Pedersen came up with 10 rebounds.
In recognition of his team’s hugely impressive campaign, Len Busch was voted the Ed Percival Molten WBBL Coach of the Year.
The outstanding Gabby, 18, from Bromley has been named WBBL Young Player of the Year.
Busch had guided the Suns to their first ever WBBL Trophy in March, beating the Riders in front of the BBC cameras in Glasgow.
Then he led the Suns to their highest-ever league finish after they secured third place in the table.
This secured a berth in the play-offs, where they beat sixth-placed Team Northumbria – last year’s champions – 67-56 at Sevenoaks School on the May Bank Holiday.
Len built his team’s success around the brilliance of leading light Cat, the shooting ability and creativity of guard Renee, his daughter, and solid play of Danish forward Anne.
He has also overseen the burgeoning talents of several exciting young players such as Danni Lozzi and Gabby, whose family comes from Lithuania.
The scale of the talent being -developed in Sevenoaks was evident when the club’s Under-14 girls team won the Junior National Basketball League last month.
They beat Sheffield Hatters 60-55 on the first day of competition at the Manchester Basketball Performance Centre on April 29.
Then they clinched the title the following day by defeating Manchester Mystics 75-68 at their home stadium.
The Under-18s have also excelled in this campaign and comprehensively beat Oakland College Wolves from St Albans 84-46 in a play-off semi-final. However, they lost in the final to Southwark Pride 74-48.
Originally from Chicago, Busch has been in charge of the Suns for 12 years. He was also named Molten WBBL Coach of the Month for both February and March as the team made an impressive run-in.
The club is also open to boys. If you would like to join the Sevenoaks Suns, visit www.sevenoakssuns.com or contact Len Busch on 07834 356565 or firstname.lastname@example.org.