BSBL men’s A-grade: Bulls Maroon win premiership with thrilling four-point grand final win over Bulls Gold

Josh KemptonBunbury Herald
The winning Bulls Maroon team.
Camera IconThe winning Bulls Maroon team. Credit: Jon Gellweiler/Jon Gellweiler

Friday night’s Bunbury Senior Basketball League men’s A-grade grand final saw Bulls Maroon pull out a thrilling four-point win over Bulls Gold.

The minor premiers came in as prohibitive favourites after an utterly dominant regular season saw them go undefeated while winning every game by at least 20 points.

But their Bulls compatriots made them work all the way to the final buzzer, when they eventually ran out 96-92 victors.

Bulls Gold went into three-quarter time trailing 72-66 but quickly peeled off a 7-0 run that gave them the lead, thanks to a Pharell Keats floater, an awesome finish from Ryley Netherton and a Keats three-pointer.

Maroon’s Cody Hill and Gold’s Rivar Evans exchanged some baskets before Gold’s Jayden Crudeli made a massive play, fouling out the competition’s best player Travis Durnin — who had scored 29 points on the night — by drawing a charge.

The score was tied for much of the final term as Hill and Evans continued to go at each other, but Jarrad Mcilvinney broke the game open for Maroon with a clutch late three to give them a four-point lead, which was quickly followed by Rhys Barrett getting out in transition for a layup.

With less than 30 seconds to run, a contested turnaround three from Keats closed the gap back to two points, but Maroon eventually managed to successfully inbound to Hill, who iced the game with two late free throws.

In the first three terms, both sides looked short of their best offensive rhythm and struggled with their outside shooting, with the game largely played in transition.

A highlight came in the first quarter when a vicious behind-the-back crossover from Gold’s Grayden Read sent Maroon veteran Wade Hitchcock to the floor.

The lead changed hands 14 times across the course of the night — Gold had an early 28-21 lead that Maroon eventually managed to turn into a 61-48 advantage — but the game’s best was yet to come.

Despite his side’s loss, Gold star Evans was recognised as the grand final MVP after scoring 26 points on the night.

Maroon captain Durnin was the runaway winner of the most valuable player award after a campaign which saw him average an astonishing 33.6 points per game, with his teammate Hill finishing as the runner up.

The premiers had three players in the competition’s all-star five in Durnin, Hill and Barrett, to go with Devan Craig (Tornadoes Red) and Jaikie Hastie (Conquerors).

Gold’s big man Byron Jonker was named the competition’s rising star.

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