THE Southend Scorpions are celebrating their first ever league title.

The team - who were formed back in 1985 - clinched the Essex Basketball League Division One crown with a win against high-flying rivals Erkenwald.

And captain Iain McCann was left overwhelmed by the achievement of his players.

“We have entered a team into the league every season since being formed in 1985 and this is the first time we have won it so it’s definitely our biggest achievement as a club,” said McCann.

“It’s a great feeling to have won the league, especially as we have all been playing together in the Essex League since we were all in school.

“This is the accumulation of several years of hard effort and we’re all so pleased.”

Scorpions have won 12 of their 14 matches so far to ensure a top of the table finish with one game left to go.

But it was not until a narrow win against Brightlingsea in January that McCann began to believe the title could be possible.

“We won the game at Brightlingsea by hitting a last second three pointer and that was when we started to believe it could be our year,” said McCann.

“The league we’re in is made up of the best teams from all over Essex so we’re proud to have finished top but it all went down to the game with Erkenwald.

“They were level on points with us going into the game on Monday night so it was pretty much winner takes all and luckily enough it was us who got the victory.”

Scorpions - who play their home games at St. Bernard’s School in Westcliff - impressed to win 93-80, with Nick Squires bagging 28 points.

McCann added 21 himself, while Tim Mbugua and Ali McCann chipped in with 14 each.

And McCann believes the Scorpions’ camaraderie has been a major factor in their success.

“The main reason for our success is our team spirit,” he said.

“In most games we are smaller than our opponents but we have all been playing together since we were kids so we use that to our advantage even when on paper we haven’t been the favourites.”

That has resulted in the Scorpions enjoying their best ever season. But the team are already targeting more success.

“We have the play-off semi-finals to look forward to now,” said McCann.

“We haven’t got the full details just yet but we’re expecting the game to take place some time in April. That will be our next challenge and it’s one we’re looking forward to.”