First Preliminary Final:
Kilsyth def. by Bendigo 64-93
Kilsyth hosted the Lady Braves on Saturday night for a spot in next weekend’s Grand Final. Bendigo was looking to amend their qualifying final loss against Launceston two weeks ago, when they lost home-court advantage and the right to a week off.
The home-side started strong, getting out to an early 7-2 lead with Angela Beadle opening the game with a three. It took three consecutive threes made from Kara Tessari to give the lead back to the visitors with four minutes remaining in the first period. The Lady Braves managed to hold a 18-17 lead at the end of one.
Gabrielle Richards had nine points in the second period as Bendigo began to create a buffer. The Cobras were struggling to shoot the ball, as their opponents continued to their hot shooting from beyond the arc. At the main break the Lady Braves had opened up a 44-35 lead with their point guard Kelly Wilson once again leading the way.
The Lady Braves opened the third quarter with a barrage of threes to build a commanding lead. After beginning the period on a 4-0 run, Bendigo hit their next five field goals from beyond the arc to give them a 63-38 lead with just over four minutes remaining in the third. Meanwhile the Cobras were struggling to score on the other end, as they managed just 11 points for the quarter. At the end of three the Lady Braves led 70-45 on the back of a 26-11 third period.
Going into the last quarter, the margin looked too great for the Cobras to overcome. Trailing by 25 with 10 minutes to go, they could be considered nothing more than a mathematical chance of completing a comeback.
However, the Cobras scored the first seven points of the quarter, bringing back the margin to 18 with eight minutes remaining. The Lady Braves sensed the switch in momentum and swiftly put an end to any hopes of a comeback as Nadeen Payne and Gabrielle Richards continued their hot shooting nights, bringing the margin back out to well over 20 points.
Bendigo eventually ran out 93-64 winners, heading into next week’s grand final with a convincing win. However, the Lady Braves will face the Launceston Tornadoes whom they lost to in the Qualifying finals just a few weeks ago.
Bendigo had six players reach double digits with Kelly Wilson registering yet another double-double of 15 points and 15 rebounds. Gabrielle Richards was also impressive for the Lady Braves with 17 points and 13 boards.
Nadeen Payne had 16 points and 10 rebounds while Kara Tessari went 4-7 from three on her way to 14 points. Bendigo as a team went 10-19 from behind the arc in an impressive display of outside shooting.
Jasmine Gill led the Cobras scoring with 14 points while Hope Terdich had 12 points and 7 rebounds off the bench.
Second Preliminary Final:
Launceston Tornadoes def. Nunawading Spectres 75-65
Launceston burst out of the blocks as they started the game with an 11-2 lead just two minutes into the contest. Alex Wilson came out with the hot hand as she dropped 15 points in the first period. Wilson converted on three triples to boost the home team out to a 26-15 quarter time lead.
Lauren Nicholson had an offensive explosion of her own in the second period, as she scored 10 points in the period. The Spectres kept pace with the Tornadoes in the second period, but the home team still went into the half time break with a commanding 45-32 lead.
Nunawading made a run in the third period as they began to lockdown the Tornadoes on defence. Vanessa Panousis dropped 9 points for the Spectres in the second period as the visitors closed the margin to just eight with a quarter remaining.
A pair of free-throws from Ellie Collins and a three from Lauren Nicholson padded the Tornadoes margin out to 13 early in the fourth. However, the Spectres responded with a 6-0 run of their own to bring the score-line to 63-56 with six minutes remaining.
The two teams traded buckets for the next few minutes before Marena Whittle hit a mid-range jump-shot to bring the margin back to 7 with just under three minutes left on the clock. The Tornadoes needed someone to step up and it was their MVP Lauren Nicholson who hit a three to bring the score-line back out to 71-61 with two minutes to go. The 10-point buffer was too great for the Spectres to overcome as Launceston held on to win 75-65 and book their place in the Grand Final.
Lauren Nicholson led the way for Launceston with 26 points and 12 boards while Alex Wilson had a near triple-double of 23 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists. For the Tornadoes, Nicholson, Wilson and Ellie Collins accounted for 65 of their 75 points.
Vanessa Panousis had 16 points for the Spectres, notably playing the entire game without rest. Nunawading struggled shooting the ball throughout the contest with Marena Whittle going 4-18 from the field.
GRAND FINAL SCHEDULE
Launceston Tornadoes vs Bendigo Lady Braves
August 18th – 5:45pm @ State Basketball Centre
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online HERE
SEABL Grand Final Ticket Pricing:
$20 – Adult
$10 – Concession (Student/Pensioner)
$10 – Child (6-17 Years)
$50 – Family (2x Adult, 2x Children)