Central ABL Grand Final - Rockets and Warriors Clinch Titles in Thrillers

Season 2014 is in the bag after a thrilling double-header of Grand Final games, decided by a total of only 5 points for the evening. A superstar performance, a fitting win for a veteran, heart stopping defeat and a valiant effort were all on display last Saturday night, as the leagues best battled it out for the Championship.

Central ABL Women's Grand Final

North Adelaide Rockets 73 – 70 Sturt Sabres

The North Adelaide Rockets have triumphed over the courageous Sturt Sabres in the Women’s Central ABL Grand Final, after being on the losing end the past 2 seasons the Rockets capitalised on the under strength Sabres outfit missing star lightning guard and ex-WNBA player Natalie Novosel.

It was Genna Anderson who sank the long-range jump shot in the dying minute of the game to put the Rockets ahead. North carried huge momentum down the stretch before Angela Marino put on a heroic performance, scoring five straight points on three plays as Jamie-Lee Peris also fouled out of the game. Jo Hill had a terrific night as is always expected from the superstar, however uncharacteristically missed two free throws leaving the door ajar, but the Sabres stars couldn’t pull off the comeback. Marino was forced to over dribble and committed a turnover and Spalding missing a short corner jumped as the game ran away from them.

Jo Hill was fittingly the games MVP, with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists, scoring 14 of her sides 21 points. Jamie-Lee Peris had 14 points and 6 rebounds, whilst Genna Anderson had 13 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks on only 15 minutes.

Angela Marino had 21 points, going 5 of 18 from the field and 1 of 7 from deep, however making 10 of 12 from the line. Hannah Richards was solid with 18 points, but could only manage 3 rebounds. Jess McPhail had 11 points and 6 rebounds to contribute to her sides performance.

The biggest difference in the game was the Rockets ability to get to the line with regularity, with 14 extra looks and 5 extra makes. Free throws win games, and in this case, championships.

Central ABL Men's Grand Final

Woodville Warriors 80 – West Adelaide Bearcats 78

Photo Credit: Central ABL

The Woodville Warriors have stolen victory from the tough Bearcats side to with the Mens Central ABL Grand Final. The Warriors are now only the second side to win the Minor and Major premiership in recent history, and this makes the second flag for the Warriors in their last three grand final appearances.

It was Cam Wilson with a penetrating drive, forcing the help defense to cover as Darren Ng cut baseline for the easy dime and bucket that put the Warriors ahead with only 2.3 seconds remaining. Danny Phillips took one last bite at the cherry, getting a good look for deep for the win however couldn't convert. The story of the night was Alexander Starling, with a ridiculous 36 point 6 rebounds game solidifying him as the leagues best player and grand final MVP honours.

The Bearcats controlled the evening proceedings, leading until the final frame up by as many as 10 at the midway point of the last. West were led by Jason Dawson who had 27 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals but struggled with his stroke shooting 9 of 25, but it was Anthony Spadavecchia with 16 points at 56% who tore up the Warriors but inexplicably didn’t suit in the last quarter, as Dawson was left to shoulder the load. Paul Rankin was on fire in the last as he finished with 9 points and 7 rebounds, whilst Blake Truslove had one of his worst games of the season with 9 points, 6 rebounds and 6 turnovers. West have now fallen to their third grand final defeat in six years.

Woodville were led by the outstanding play of Starling, with help from Ng who finished with 13 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists, and veteran Cam Wilson with 7 points and 8 assists. Bench spark plug Luke Stanbridge had 10 points and 6 rebounds as his stellar season continued.

Ball movement leading to assists and good looks was the deciding factor in this game, as the Warriors played team ball, bolstered by on of the best players in the leagues recent history.

For more information regarding the Central ABL, please check out their website here.

That is a wrap for Central ABL Season 2014, catch me over the coming months as I preview the WNBL season and continue with the weekly wraps!