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WA SBL Grand Finals: Eagles men, Flames women claim championships
East Perth and Rockingham have claimed the 2014 men’s and women’s championships respectively with grand final victories in front of huge crowds at the State Basketball Centre.
East Perth completed their dream run through the latter stages of the 2014 season by defeating Geraldton 99-83 to claim the club’s first men’s title in emphatic fashion. A dominant 29-17 second term sparked the Eagles into action, however the Buccs came out firing after the break to reduce the margin to just four at three-quarter time and set up a massive final quarter. However East Perth steadied and went home better, finishing all over the top of their opponents to claim the championship after finishing seventh on the ladder. NBL big man Tom Jervis (22 points, 19 rebounds) was outstanding, while fellow NBL championship winner Drew Williamson added 14 points off the bench. Grand Final MVP Joe-Alan Tupaea finished the match with 12 points, 12 boards and 7 assists whilst shooting 5-of-7 from the field in a brilliant all-round display for the victors. Top-seeded Geraldton were led by Carter Cook (26 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists) and Bennie Lewis (20 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists), however the latter could only manage 7-of-24 shooting, including 2-of-10 from deep, as the Buccs failed to capitilise on a dominant season.
Rockingham claimed the 2014 women’s SBL title; the club’s first in their history, with a hard-fought 90-85 victory over Lakeside as the two best sides in the competition went head-to-head in the decider. The Lightning came into the match riding a 13-game winning streak but fell short against the Flames, who rode the brilliance of Darcee Garbin (25 points, 10 rebounds) and Grand Final MVP Samantha Whitcomb (32 points, 6 rebounds, 5 steals), with the latter netting 20 points by the main break. Rockingham led from start to finish and built an 18-point lead during the third term before their opponents made a game of it late, ensuring a grand stand finish in front of the 1000-strong crowd in attendance. Kari Pickens (25 points, 10 rebounds) was the best for the Lightning as she again worked tirelessly despite her side falling agonisingly short of a championship. The match marked Flames’ captain Kaye Tucker’s 350th in the league, with the stalwart announcing her retirement with an elusive championship in hand.
For full results, ladders and reports head to www.sbl.asn.au or click here.