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SEABL Conference Finals: Ben Allen and Kathleen Scheer Nail Buzzer Beaters To Set Up Two Enticing Grand Finals
Photo Credit: Knox Basketball
Ben Allen is the toast of Mt. Gambier, knocking down a three to hand the Pioneers the South Conference with a 70-68 victory over the Kilsyth Cobras. The lead changed hands ten times in the last quarter before the final possession saw Tom Daly draw two defenders along the baseline, kicking it to Allen who was open at the top of the key. The game-winner follows on from last year’s Conference Final, when the 211cm centre also beat Nunawading on the buzzer with a three pointer. Out-muscling Auryn MacMillan (16 points, 13 rebounds), Damian Johnson (15 and 15 with 4 blocks) and Brad Hill (18 and 11) controlled the inside, helping Mt. Gambier to a 13-4 advantage in second chance points. MacMillan has had an excellent finals series but received little support from the likes of Tim Lang although Kyle Adnam impressed with 18 points. Having survived a major scare in the Conference Final for two consecutive seasons, the Pioneers will now be seeking redemption after their loss in the 2013 Grand Final.
Their opponent will be the Nunawading Spectres, who cruised past the Geelong Supercats, 92-84. The lead reached 18 in the fourth quarter before the visitors finished on a 12-3 run to make the scoreline respectable. In a 300+ game career, Matt O’Hea put in the performance of his life, hitting 8-11 from downtown for 32 points while Mitch Creek proved a handful, scoring 31. Tommy Greer (12 points, 12 rebounds) and Shane McDonald (11 and 10 assists) helped to counter Anthony White Jr. (20 points) and Nick Owusu (17 and 7 rebounds). Geelong recorded a 23-11 advantage off turnovers but were hurt by 15 second chance points as Nunawading claimed their fifth Conference title.
The Hobart Lady Chargers’ incredible second half of the season has continued after Kathleen Scheer (22 points, 6 rebounds) drilled a three point dagger with 1.9 seconds left in overtime to sink the Bendigo Lady Braves. Another slow start plagued Hobart, trailing by 9 at quarter-time with Bendigo’s LaSondra Barrett scoring 11 of her 20 points in the first term. The visitors pulled themselves back into the contest with the lead changing hands nine times in the last quarter before Kerryn Harrington hit two free throws to force an extra period. Harrington (6-12 from three for 28 points) scored another 5 in overtime but Scheer’s triple gave the Lady Chargers an 83-80 win. She was aided by Cayla Francis, who played every minute for a season high 37 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks while Izzy Chilcott added 10 points and 7 boards. Lauren King scored 20 for Bendigo but a 5-16 discrepancy in points off turnovers hurt them.
The Brisbane Lady Spartans will meet Hobart in the Grand Final after they took care of the Geelong Lady Supercats, 73-54. After two impressive offensive performances in the past fortnight, Geelong shot just 26% from the field. Only Candice Rogers (14 points, 9 rebounds) and Tayla Roberts (10 and 12) reached double figures while Sara Blicavs collected 6 and 5 with 5 assists. Brisbane controlled the tempo of the match, winning every quarter with Olivia Thompson (16 and 19) the dominant force on the court. She was helped by Sarah Graham (14 points, 5 assists) and Cassie Smith and Nat Taylor who combined for 21 off the bench. Next weekend will give the Lady Spartans a chance at a second Championship while Hobart will play in their first ever Grand Final.
For more info, visit the official SEABL website at www.seabl.com.au