Devils fairytale continued right through grand final
By CRAIG ROSScraigr@gladstoneobserver.com.au
A LIGHTNING fast start proved pivotal as Devils continued their fairytale run through the finals to capture the Gladstone Amateur Basketball Association men's division one flag at Kev Broome Stadium on Saturday night.
After finishing the four-team competition in last place heading into the finals, the Devils pulled off three sudden-death victories to claim the title, climaxing with Saturday night's 52-47 triumph over Tigers in the decider.
Devils were on fire early, at one stage leading 12-1 and racing to a 17-5 first quarter lead.
The break seemed to serve Tigers well, their scrappy play from the first stanza being replaced by more authorative attack in the second as Kane Macready and Glen Chapman lifted the tempo.
Trailing 23-20 at half-time, Tigers drew level at 32-32 with a minute and 23 seconds remaining of the third quarter when Chapman sunk a three-pointer, his side grabbing the lead for the first time soon after when Macready cleaned up a missed Chapman free throw for a 34-32 lead.
Devils' Josh Rigney hit back by landing two free throws to end the third quarter with the teams locked on 34-34.
The experienced Tigers side looked primed for a big finish but Devils, led by the Green brothers
Tarron, Daniel and Matt and with Matt Pirie working tirelessly, again kicked clear to secure the win ? Tarron finishing with a game-high 21 points. Macready, Chapman and Ray Cooper stood out for Tigers with Chapman and Macready scoring 17 and 16 points each respectively.
Pirie was thrilled with the win and his contribution to it as the 16year-old continues his rapid improvement in the senior ranks.
'It's always good playing well in the final,' Pirie said. 'I feel I've played my best in this grade playing against and with better players.
'The boys really put in ... we had a strong start and then got our act together at the end to win.
'We were able to come back from behind which we also did our last couple of games. We knew we could do it. We didn't panic, even when we got behind ? Taz (Tarron) and Daniel kept us going.