Congratulation to both NSW Men’s National League Basketball Teams, the Sydney Metro Blues and the Wollongong Roller Hawks for making the NWBL Finals series in mid-August. The Roller Hawks coming out victorious 79-70 over the Blues in the grand final.
The Roller Hawks advanced directly to the final after comprehensively defeating Kilsyth on Friday night 78-54. The Metro Blues had to get past the Queensland Spinning Bullets on Friday and Kilsyth on Saturday to qualify for Sunday’s championship decider.
Despite having played an extra game, the Blues showed no signs of fatigue in the opening quarter, consistently applying a full court press in order to stay in the contest.
At quarter time, the teams were locked up at 18 all.
Joe Chambers opened up the scoring in the second quarter before the Roller Hawks went on an 11-0 point run with Brett Stibners and Nick Taylor leading the way.
The Blues fought back just before halftime with baskets by Clarence McCarthy-Grogan and by Joe Chambers cut the lead to 6 at the main break.
Sydney cut the deficit to 4 just after half time before Wollongong shot ahead again to a double figure lead with Nick Taylor instrumental for the Roller Hawks scoring all 16 of his points by the midway point of the third quarter.
Despite missing some easy baskets, Sydney continued to maintain defensive pressure; Wollongong was able to keep the scoreboard ticking including two buzzer beaters from Brett Stibners on his way to 21 points for the game.
The Roller Hawks took a 14 point lead into the final quarter and while the Blues never gave up, Wollongong held them at bay to finish 9 points in front.
Roller Hawks player Michael Auprince finished with 15 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists and was tasked with stopping the league’s leading scorer, Joe Chambers.
Brett Stibners (left in the photo) was named Finals MVP averaging 25 points, 10 rebounds and 6.5 assists across two games and Brendan Dowler (right in the photo) was awarded Coach of the Year.