St Margaret’s are Scotland’s 
NBA champions

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St Margaret’s Primary School are Scottish Junior NBA champions – one of two Falkirk schools to reach the final stages of the Championship.

Pupils from 30 schools across the country competed in the tournament culminating in the Polmont side’s win over Pentland Primary School.

Captain Jay Bunyan lifts the Scottish Junior NBA trophy for St Margaret's. Picture Roberto Cavieres.

Captain Jay Bunyan lifts the Scottish Junior NBA trophy for St Margaret's. Picture Roberto Cavieres.

The event, run under the NBA worldwide brand, saw six basketball clubs in Scotland host league competitions, of five schools each.

Sony Centre Fury hosted the ‘Southwest Division’ and Bonnybridge – who played under the NBA banner of the Memphis Grizzlies – came out on top in Falkirk with St.Margaret’s ‘Mavericks’ in the runner-up spot.

After seeing off four other schools from the central region both Falkirk schools progressed to the Final 4 at the Peak SC in Stirling on Sunday.

St.Margarets turned the table on Bonnybridge when it mattered, defeating them 50-43 in the semi-final.

Bonnybridge then played the loser of the other semi-final, James Gillespie’s of Edinburgh, incorporating the Washington Wizards. A 36-27 win for Bonnybridge gave them third place overall.

But the final then saw Falkirk’s St.Margarets take on Pentland’s ‘Chicago Bulls’ and the local side, including nine Fury players in its line up, led 20-9 at the half, before going to record another 50-point tally in a 50-31 win.

For St.Margaret’s the win meant that neither Falkirk school had lost to a school from outwith Falkirk during the entire competition.

The All Star teams from the Final 4 event, which included the Jr NBA Wheelchair Final, saw Bonnybridge’s Daniel Goacher and St.Margaret’s Rachael Dagger voted into the top five of the event.

St Margaret’s team was coached by Fury Men’s captain Keith Bunyan and included his son Jay in the team. Bonnybridge were coached by John Chalmers.

Fury head coach John Bunyan paid tribute to the Falkirk teams, the officials and the event itself after playing host and said: “This is the third year of the Jr NBA in Scotland – year one was only Edinburgh schools, year two schools in Glasgow were added and this year it was opened up to all areas of Scotland so it was truly a Scottish Championship.

“It’s fantastic for St.Margaret’s as winners and Bonnybridge in third place, to have had such outstanding records in the event and reflects on the huge basketball set-up we have here in Falkirk at primary school age group.

“From development sessions run with Falkirk Community Trust, to our 30 team Falkirk Primary School League which has gone from strength to strength supported by Active Schools in Falkirk, added to the fact that nine of the St.Margaret’s team are in Fury squads and three of the Bonnybridge team are too, this is not only great for the players and the schools, but for our club.

“I would also congratulate the coaches – Keith and John for all the work they have done with the players in the school sessions. Some of these players are attending six basketball sessions a week – it’s little wonder they are of such an amazing standard.”