A tough and consistent Phoenix outfit has overcome a valiant Exies Acmy side in Tuesday night’s preliminary final at the MARS Minerdome to advance to the grand final of the 18A Boys competition.
Back to back three pointers from Exies Acmy got them off to a flyer and soon extended that lead to eight early in the game with free flowing play from both sides, it was living up to the hype with key players making their impact early.
Sam Short U18 Vic Country captain opened his scoring account with a three pointer and amassed and impressive 12 points in the first half to go with a team high 19 points for the game. He was not alone with Max Edwards keen to get his side off to a flying start.
Phoenix scraped early but couldn’t get the ball to fall and missed out on early opportunities to hit the scoreboard which allowed Exies Acmy to get down the court and they countered in the best way possible adding to their early lead with relative ease.
Phoenix’s success came through long range shooting and they did just that with league leading scorer James Reeves’s lighting it up from the three point arc adding ten points in two minutes to get Phoenix right back into the contest. He wasn’t alone with big man Angus Maude making his presence felt in the key to get within 4 of Exies Acmy late in the first half.
Exies Acmy lacked composure offensively towards the end of the first half and this saw them failing to score in the final four minutes, an impressive display of consistency at both ends of the court allowed Phoenix to take the lead 32 to 27 at the half time break.
With everything to play for in the second half both teams missed early opportunities to impact on the scoreboard.
It was Phoenix who wrestled control of the second half slowing down their ball movement and getting the game on their terms, extending the lead to nine points before a lull in concentration allowed a few quick baskets from Exies Acmy.
A quick break and dunk from Sam Short sparked excitement from the crowd and got Exies Acmy to within three points.
However that did little to slow Phoenix’s winning determination with Jamie Constable putting the cherry on top with late points to run away with an impressive 54 to 45 win.