A RAPTOR, Gator and Wildcat have advanced to Basketball Kyabram’s Summer League Championship decider in two weeks’ time.
A big crowd at Kyabram Sports and Entertainment Centre on Labour Day holiday Monday saw three teams book their place, three live to fight another day, and three bow out.
The seeding went to plan in divisions 3-4 and 5-6, with big wins to top teams Gators (3-4) and Wildcats.
However, in 7-9 division, second placed Mister Embroidery Raptors, continued their giant-killing form to upset top team Walker Real Estate Wildcats to advance straight to the Championship decider.
Next week, Wildcats, courtesy of their well-earned double chance, face Hornets who overcame Kyabram Bakery Gators.
In 5-6 division, Infinity Health Gators will look to rebound from their 23-57 loss to Wildcats, when they take on the gutsy ACM Raptors, who, with only five players, outran the Fab Flowers Hornets.
In 7-9 division, Raptors held Wildcats scoreless until Charlie Lloyd laid in with 90 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Fortunately for Wildcats, the Raptors’ radar was off and they had just eight on the board at quarter time.
Wildcats reduced the margin to 4 points with a spirited second quarter in which Jackson Barnett got on a roll and scored seven consecutive buckets for his team.
League leading scorer Wez Hill kept his team close with six points of his own.
The Wildcats closed within two points in the final term, but Raptors point guard Ryan Hatch put a three-point dagger through the Wildcats’ heart, and Hill sealed the deal with six of his own.
Final score: 36-28
In the other knock-out final, Hornets were always in control against Gators, winning 38-23.
Thomas Burnett saved his best match for the final, compiling 11 second-half points to finish the game-high scorer with 14 points. With his second half contribution, the Hornets won every quarter with Alex Plummer scoring 6 in the first, Jarem Owen-Horn 9 in the second.
For Gators, Liam Dillon was almost his team’s lone scoring hand with 11. Jake Plumb had 5, Sam Plumb 3, Callum Ryan 2, and Ryan Freemantle 2.
In 5-6 division, Aldon Tutoring Wildcats put on 17 first-quarter points to blow their opponent out of the water.
Nathan Mackison scored 8 close-to-the-ring points to equal Infinity Health Gators quarter-time team score.
The Wildcats’ scoring blitz continued until game’s end.
Charlie Barnett collected 21 points, Mackison 16, Miller Griffiths 12, Will Campbell 4 and Zachary Coatsworth 4.
It’s back to the drawing board for Gators, but they showed in this game there’s plenty to work on, with six players getting on the scoring sheet. James Myers was their top scorer with 7, followed by Oliver Watt 6, Justin Bassett 4, Ben Barnes, 2, Dylan Scoble 2 and Riley Wakenshaw 2.
Shane Arnold did his best for Hornets in scoring 14 of his team’s 16 points, but it wasn’t enough to get past the plucky Raptors who put on 16-6 in the second half after trailing by one at the half.
The Hornets season is over.
The diminutive Bailey Pyke ran rampant for Raptors, slotting 13 points. But more importantly, his example inspired younger players Max Carroll (6), Luke Turpin (4) and Matt Di Petta 2.
Lucas Kell, Tom Norris and Luke Carroll tried hard for Hornets.
In 3-4 division, top team Kerr’s Amcal Gators allowed Albion Motors Wildcats just 4 points for the match, while they cashed in with 21.
Charlie Isaac was Wildcats lone scorer.
For Wildcats, Bill Hipwell had 6, Tyler Clarke 5, Max Carroll 4, Ryan Clarke 4, and Jim Hipwell 2.
With number one ticket holder Member for Murray Plains and Leader of the Nationals Peter Walsh on the sidelines, Peter Walsh Hornets led 10-8 at the half against the young Kyabram Veterinary Clinic Raptors, but faded badly in the second half, and bowed out 12-27.
Sam Marland scored all but 2 of Hornets points. Jack Watson had the other two.
For the Raptors, Jimmy Hargreaves had a break-out game with 9 points spread over the first and last quarters. Ollie Barnett and Luke Turpin provided good support with six apiece, Katie Barnes had 4 and Xander Griffiths 2.
Hornets showed great improvement over the season and should be commended for their fantastic attitudes during game time and at training sessions.
Semi-final draw next Monday at Kyabram Sports and Entertainment Centre (winner advances to Championship decider): 5.30pm: Wildcats v Raptors. 6.20pm: Gators v Raptors. 7.10pm: Wildcats v Hornets.