Basketball’s grand final hero

Hawks Magic, featuring Kevin Hinge, centre, claimed the A Grade men’s championship with a last-second basket.

HEROIC moments rarely present themselves in sport.

In basketball, that chance to become the hero comes in the form of a buzzer-beating basket to win your team the game.

To do it in a grand final and win a championship is something a player remembers for the rest of their life.

Hawks Magic teenager Sam Barrow became that hero during the Colac Basketball Association A Grade final at Bluewater Fitness Centre on Tuesday night.

Reigning premiers Hawks Magic had staged one of the biggest comebacks of the season, netting 16 unanswered points to steal the lead from Demons Lakers 35-34 with 10 minutes left in the match.

It set the tone for a cliff-hanging end to one of the closest competitions in recent history.

One minute remained when Magic’s Kevin Hinge drove to the basket and dished to James Huybens who levelled the scores at 46-all.

A heroic moment had presented itself, and spectators perched on the edge of their seats waiting to see who would make that moment theirs.

Fumbles were made, shots were missed, as precious seconds ticked by until 10 seconds were left on the clock.

Lakers point guard Shaun Keast made a move to the basket but was quickly swamped by Magic’s defensive wall and a loose ball landed in Huybens’ hands.

In one last desperate play, he launched the ball down the court to Hinge, who set up 15-year-old Barrow.

In almost slow motion, Barrow threw up an off-balance jump shot from just inside the three-point line and in an instant became a match winner.

The 48-46 victory capped a memorable week the youngster, who played in the A Grade junior grand final just a day earlier, which his side won by two points.

He also won the Sheila Chapman award for best on court in a senior grand final and a junior referee’s encouragement award.

“It feels awesome, it’s probably the best game I’ve ever played in,” Barrow said.

“Our first half was probably the worst we’ve played all season, but the second was one of the best and we got some momentum,” he said.

“I just threw it up and it’s gone in, it’s just lucky really.”

Saints Tigers roar in women’s final

Saints Tigers bounced back from 2010’s disappointing basketball finals series with an emphatic grand final victory this week.

SAINTS Tigers bounced back from 2010’s disappointing basketball finals series with an emphatic grand final victory this week.

The A Grade women’s Tigers put the memory of the undermanned straight-sets exit behind them, to trounce Rebels Rock Lobsters 50-26 at Colac’s Bluewater Fitness Centre.

Tigers centre Georgia Berry made her impact on the game early, netting eight first-half points as the Rock Lobsters struggled to counter her height advantage.

The underdogs hit back late in the half led by Edwina Parker and Tahlia Jeffreys, who missed Melbourne-based Geelong Flyers netball commitments to play, but the opposition kept a narrow 18-12 advantage heading into half time.

The Tigers regrouped during the break, unhappy with the slim lead and convinced they could extend the advantage in the second half.

And that’s what the finals favourite did.

Tigers point guard Kaitlyn Hammond, nine points, was all over the court despite battling an ankle injury while athletic Shelley Scott, six points, kept control of the defensive end with a stack of steals.

The duo helped the side net 11 unanswered points and, after 15 minutes of the second half, had outscored the opposition by 22 points.

Rock Lobsters Parker, Kelsey Jeffreys and Jac Cardinal began hitting shots late in the game but it was too little, too late as the Tigers ran out 50-26 winners.

Umpires awarded a surprised Scott with the Sheila Chapman best-on-court award for her impressive shut-down defence.

 

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