Grand finals provide highlights

THE Sale Amateur Basketball Association held its grand finals last week. As always, there were many intriguing games and highlights across all sections.

The youngest team in men’s A grade, The Suns, met the more experienced Prestige Worldwide in the grand final.

Billy Hughes hit some big three-pointers early for The Suns, however it didn’t take long for Worldwide to regroup and find its range. Ryan Pendlebury showed his class with some great three-point shooting.

The Sun’s big men Lachie Heywood and Austin Turnbull worked hard under the basket, but had plenty of opposition in Pendlebury, Chris Morrison and eventual MVP Andrew Quirk. Worldwide began hitting shots more consistently to lead 45-28 at half time.

Despite Heywood showing finesse under the basket and Hughes making some difficult shots under pressure in the second half, Prestige Worldwide won 51-37, led by Pendlebury, who scored 16 points, Quirk 12 and Mitch Bennett 10.

Hughes scored 18 and Heywood eight for The Suns.

ENEMY of the State will move into the men’s A grade competition next season after going through B grade undefeated this season.

The side dominated the first half of the grand final against The Knicks, with Wade Hunt (seven points) having an impact on the scoreboard.

After struggling to get their shots to drop, a different Knicks outfit hit the court in the second half. Some excellent team play and strong shooting from John Cortejos (seven points) and Scott Brander (six) helped The Knicks out-score Enemy of the State for the half.

Just four points separated the teams with Enemy of the State winning 27-23 with Hunt named MVP.

UNDERDOG Thunder White won the under 19 boys’ grand final against Thunder Black, 55-43.

Billy Hughes (25 points) and Sam Dessent (13) scored freely for Black, while all members of White were having an impact on the scoreboard. Tom Jessup (14 points) was making some impossible shots as White began to dominate the boards as it led 32-21 at half-time.

White continued with some impressive team play and individual performances to extend its lead. Tim Bottrell (14 points) rebounded well and shot accurately.

With Jackson Wall (14 points), Jack Dawson, Sam Piddington and Joe Smith maintaining the pressure, White eventually won by 12 points.

IN a game which came down to the wire, the under 16 boys’ clash between Celtics White and Celtics Green had everyone on the edge of their seats.

Green’s Ben Dessent (20 points) scored freely in the first half, while White worked hard to go into the break with a slender margin of five points.

Green’s Mitchell Leeds hit a purple patch early in the second half, scoring seven unanswered points to even the game.

In the dying minutes the game see-sawed, with Dessent and Callum Cassin (eight points) scoring. Green eventually edged ahead and finished the game just three points up, winning 31-28.

IN another close game, Cavaliers Red defeated Cavaliers Dark Blue in the under 14 boys’ grand final, 25-18.

Kyle Dunkley (nine points) worked hard as Dark Blue led 16-11 at half-time.

Fortunes changes in the second half with some telling rebounds, intercepts and drives by Jack McLaren (eight points) and Lachie Shaw helping Red take the lead. In the final minutes, Red was able to keep its lead with some great teamwork against the hard working Dark Blue.

LAKERS Yellow won an entertaining under 12 boys’ grand final against Lakers Red.

Yellow took a commanding eight-point lead into half-time. Scoring was even across Yellow, while Charlie Comben (13 points) and Louis Jones (six) kept Red in the game.

Red worked very hard in the second half to reduce the deficit, but with Blake Safstrom (10 points) and Luke Williams (12) continuing to score freely, Yellow won 29-19.

THE young Slackos defeated Storm 49-26 to win the open women’s competition.

Slackos began strongly with Taylah Ballinger scoring its first six points. Storm fought hard, but was down by nine points at half-time.

After the break, Slackos extended its lead with some consistent shooting from MVP Montana Holmes (14 points), Ballinger (10) and Tori Wilson (12). In an even team Angela Pope scored 10 and Tori Dessent six.

BILLABONG Red won the under 15 girls’ grand final by two points against Billabong Yellow.

Laura Jones (seven points) got Red off to a good start, while Tianna Reeves, Emerson Connolly and Ella Bailey scored freely as Yellow led by three points at the half.

Morgan Mayne made a big impact on the scoreboard for Red in the second half, finishing with 15 points. Despite Connolly continued to score well (12 points), Yellow finished short, 27-25.

THE under 12 girls’ season finished with top team Rusty Blue defeating Rusty White 22-11.

Blue’s Alyssa Waugh scored 16 points, while Sara Morrison top-scored for White with 10 points.