WORCESTER Bears Basketball Club have produced a National League champion for the second year running.
The boys' under 14s team were again runaway winners of the Midlands (II) Division despite more than half the team having never played at the level before.
Regular season play finished with them posting 20 wins and just one loss.
Jacob Solvason was the lone starting player from the previous season's dominant team, meaning every other player had to step up.
Two new signings Euan Richardson and Kyle Turner and under 12s stars Josh Whitwell-Hirst and Finley Chalkley gained valuable experience.
Coach Rick Solvason said: “Not only have these boys relished their new roles they’ve excelled.
"Joe Moss has led the team in three-point baskets, James Thomas in rebounding, Oli Wright has been tops on the team in steals, Ciaran Anderson has become one of our strongest defenders and Baeli Fern has been key in the sixth-man role.
"Jacob has been in great form all season. He is our top scorer and assist leader.”
Assistant coach Anthony Duggan said: “Jacob is the engine of the team and makes things easier for those around him.
“But all the lads have made great strides and become very good, young players.”
Bears started with 16 victories in a row with competitive games against teams from Birmingham and Northamptonshire.
They beat local rivals Worcester Wolves in atmospheric local derbies and the only loss came to a well-organised side from Northampton.
Four consecutive victories have put the team in a good position for the play-offs when they should be the number one team from Conference North and host the eighth seed on Saturday at Bishop Perowne College.
Coach Solvason added: “At some point during this season every player has taken a lead role in a match and been instrumental in the team finding success.
"It is that type of togetherness, unity and belief in each other that has seen Bears become one of the most successful youth basketball clubs in the area since they began in 2013.
"Although the success of our various teams are a result of the children's efforts and talent the overall achievements these last few years by Bears is a direct result of the encouragement, enthusiasm and support of all the parents and volunteers."