Southland club basketball came to a close last week with the finals and playoff games.
The Kelvin Hotel-sponsored women's decider was between Kat's Brats and the Lonestar Storm - the two teams had been evenly matched throughout the season and the rivalry was obvious from the tip-off.
The more experienced Kat's Brats have been regular finalists in recent years, while the more youthful Lonestar Storm had grabbed the opportunity in their semi-final to challenge yet again for the No 1 spot.
As was expected, the teams were level-pegging, with Lonestar Storm taking a two-point lead into the half-time break on the back of strong performances by Amy Nicol and Lucy Brown, with eight and six points respectively, and then backing it up with a five-point lead heading into the final quarter.
Kat's Brats came out strongly in the last quarter, outscoring the Storm 17 to 3 and once again claiming the title.
Jo Thompson and Patrice Spencer Humm did the most damage for Kat's Brats as their experience showed through but they were ably supported by the rest of the team.
In the playoff for 3rd and 4th James Hargest defeated Northern Allsorts 67-26.
In the men's final AWS Thundercats met the top qualifier, the Boltz, and this proved to again be a physical battle as has been the case all season. After a close first quarter the Boltz, led by Max Jablonski, found the net regularly and went into the half-time break with a handy lead.
They extended this to 14 points with one quarter remaining but faced some lethal shooting by Sharks player Andrew Wheeler. The Boltz faltered, scoring only 13 points in that spell to 25 by the AWS Thundercats.
The Boltz only just managed to hold out their challengers winning the game 77-75. Amazingly, in a losing effort, Wheeler top scored for his side with 54 points - almost certainly a finals record in recent years. In the playoff for 3rd and 4th, Lonestar X Men defeated Titans 85-73.
Women top points scorer: Jo Thompson (Kat's Brats – 19.67 PPG) Men top points scorer: Logan Macic (Lonestar Rangers – 40 PPG) Most promising U21 male: Logan Macic Most promising U21 female: Morgan Hunter Women's most valuable player: Jo Thompson (Kat's Brats) Men's most valuable player: Max Jablonski (The Boltz)
- The Southland Times