Wolves and Jets through to final

The NSC played host to the penultimate games of the 2023/24 Season as basketball bounced back into action with the Championship Semi-Finals. First to take to the hardwood were old rivals Jets and Cavaliers, with the latter hoping to end the campaign of their former club mates. Mid-range shots from Andy Cregeen, as well as an outside swish by Dave Minay, saw Cavaliers power ahead in the opening minutes. Jets struggled to settle at first, with missed shots and intercepted passes leaving them trailing 8-0.

It wasn’t until halfway through the first quarter that Jets put points on the board thanks to a corner three from Tom Dalton-Brown. It opened the floodgates to a flurry of scoring as Paul Kilic joined Dalton-Brown outside the arc while Revi Del Rosario picked up 6-points on the drive. In an explosive few minutes the tables had turned, scores standing 15-19 in Jets favour at the end of the quarter.

The opening minutes of the second quarter saw Jets continue an aggressive advance, Jake Glover and Pete Boussougou adding their names to the scoresheet. Full-court pressure defence saw Jets give up plenty of fouls but, crucially, prevented Cavaliers from gaining any momentum. Les Winnicki and Phil Evans managed to break through for some points late in the second, with Minay and Cregeen also upping their totals to keep Cavs in the game. Score 26-36 at the end of the half.

The third quarter sealed the game in Jets favour with steals and quick breaks allowing Glover to extend their lead while Cavaliers struggled to convert on offence. Minay and Evans managed most of Cavs scoring for the remainder, but it wasn’t enough to overturn Jets lead. As the game wore on the margin steadily increased and, after a low scoring fourth quarter, Jets booked their spot in the final, 38-65.

The other game of the evening saw a commanding performance by Wolves over Ravens who won a second chance in the tournament after the unexpected withdrawal of Turkeys. Ross Wilson stepped up on the wing to open scoring for Wolves with a swish 3-pointer from well outside the arc. Ravens mustered a quick response, Logan Glover at the mid-range while Ronan Thompson and Matthew Jones hit the lanes. Wolves continued a steady scoring pace throughout the half, Ben Takkan and Viktor Capkanovski featuring, and solid defence allowed them to contain Ravens offence. Score 52-26 at halftime.

The second half saw continued defensive pressure from Wolves wear down the Ravens and provide plenty of fast break opportunities through interceptions and steals. Cameron Scott dominated the inside play with well-timed cuts and plenty of offensive boards. The Ravens shorter bench allowed tiredness to creep in, though they still managed to breakthrough with some solid plays as Thompson and Glover again hit their mark. There was little that could be done to stop Wolves momentum though and at the final buzzer they ran out the decisive winners, 90-46.

Thursday sees the climax of the 2023/24 season as Wolves take on Jets in an Arena Court final at the NSC. As defending champions, Wolves will be hoping for back-to-back championships while Jets will seek to avenge their loss in last year’s final. The game is scheduled to tip off in the NSC Main Hall at 19:30 with free seating available to any spectators who wish to attend.

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