TEAM Hornets and defending champions Raptors punched their tickets into the grand final of Basketball Kyabram’s Years 7-10 division Monday, setting up a highly anticipated clash next Monday evening.
After leading 17-4 at the half, Betta Homeliving Hornets (third) weathered a late Kyabram Bakery Gators (second) surge to win 34-24.
Jarom Owen-Horn (16 points) and James Myers (14) drove Hornets’ scoring. Oliver Watt (13) and Darcy Backway (9) were Gators’ key contributors, but their team missed the work of their leading rebounder, Ivan de Leon, who missed the match.
Minor season premiers Mr Embroidery Raptors had too much firepower for a gallant Walker Real Estate Wildcats (fourth) who had just four players take the court.
All six Raptors’ players scored in their 69-33 victory.
Wildcats’ Sam Plumb dropped a game-high 24 points.
Raptors (12 wins, 2 losses) are overwhelming favourites for the championship, however Hornets (6 and 8) are not without a chance. They have the league’s leading scorer in Jarom Owen-Horn and tall James Myers who both hit the boards strongly. Charlotte Freemantle, Chelsea West and Joseph Owen-Horn showed on Monday that they can hold on to the ball and put their team to advantage.
But it will be a tough ask to upset a Raptors team who play good basketball in sharing and giving the ball to team-mates in advantage. And with all six players — Blake O’Hara, Ryan Hatch, Rhys Shay, Harlie Reid, Hollie Reid and Blake McAuliffe — capable of scoring, it will take excellent defence from Hornets to keep pace.
The top two teams in Grade 5-6 division, Gators and Raptors, moved through to next Monday evening’s championship deciders with comfortable wins.
Minor premiers Infinity Health Gators, led by Jim Hipwell (18 points), were too strong for Aldon Tutoring Centres Wildcats (Ali Hall 10 points), 40-14.
Second placed ACM Raptors were outscored 20-13 in the last half of their match against Fab Flowers Hornets, but had built a big enough lead in the first half to win 37-24.
Sam Marland had 13 points for the winners and Archer Guinan 14 for the losers.
Sam and twins Ky and Luke McDonald will need to fire on all cylinders next Monday night if they are to overcome Gators who have not suffered a loss this season and have their own gun players in Archie Watt and Hipwell twins Jim and Bill.
It promises to be an entertaining affair.
In Grade 1-4 division, reigning premiers Peter Walsh Hornets and Albion Motors Wildcats (third) will meet next Monday evening in their division’s championship decider.
Hornets set up their 36-26 semi-final win over Ky Veterinary Clinic Raptors with a 16-2 first-quarter salvo. Sam Mongan was unstoppable and scored 12 of his 20 points in that quarter.
Jack Perrella with 12 points was Raptors’ top scorer.
Wildcats scraped home 42-40 over Kerr’s Amcal Gators in their semi-final to book their championship place.
Five Gators players found the nylon, with Archer Backway leading the way with 30 points.
Wildcats had three scorers: Jimmy Hargreaves, Brody Thompson and Alex Barnes.
Jimmy had 28 points, Alex 4, but it was the performance of Brody that was a big factor in his team moving through to the championship match. Brody had his best ever return of 20 points, and is another player who has shown tremendous improvement this season.
The championship deciders are set for next Monday, March 26 at Kyabram Sports and Entertainment Centre:
6pm - Grades 1-4 division.
7pm - Grades 5-6 division.
8pm - Years 7-10 division.
Basketball Kyabram competitions run year round. The next competition, taking in divisions for grades 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-11, begin second week back at school after the term break on Monday, April 23.
Registrations are now being taken for individuals and teams in all divisions at basketballkyabram.com. Call Michael on 0414 815 527 for more information.