Albany shooter Matt Leary stars in Perry Lakes Hawks NBL1 West grand final victory over Rockingham Flames

Taj StubberAlbany Advertiser
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Matt Leary celebrates his half court buzzer beater.
Camera IconMatt Leary celebrates his half court buzzer beater. Credit: Sports Imagery

Albany guard Matt Leary capped a brilliant season with a second championship ring as his Perry Lakes Hawks won the inaugural NBL1 West grand final.

Leary again played a big part in the Hawks’ 92-82 victory as they completed a stand-out season, overpowering the Rockingham Flames in front of more than 2000 fans at Bendat Basketball Centre.

Coming off the bench, Leary was a valuable contributor in the championship victory, finishing with the third-highest points haul for the game.

Perry Lakes Hawks celebrate their NBL1 West championship.
Camera IconPerry Lakes Hawks celebrate their NBL1 West championship. Credit: Tiarna Rose Photography

Leary was the spark for the Hawks hitting 17 points, including three from long range, and collecting two rebounds in just over 16 minutes of game time.

However, his biggest moment of the title win came just on the three-quarter-time buzzer as he hit a half-court shot in front of ex-Perth Wildcat Greg Hire.

“The win means quite a lot personally but it was honestly more special seeing the emotion, pure happiness and joy it brought the club, fans and supporters,” Leary said.

“That made it that much sweeter for everyone involved.

Perry Lakes Hawks' Matt Leary shoots.
Camera IconPerry Lakes Hawks' Matt Leary shoots. Credit: Tiarna Rose Photography

“My role for the team was basically just a six-man, bringing high energy.

“Basically to just be aggressive on both ends of the floor and fill in a bit of a scorer’s spot from the bench.

“Ahh, the buzzer beater ... yeah that blew up quite a bit but all I can really say is that if a young up-and-coming player thinks that those muck-around half-court shots at the end of practice aren’t worth it, they definitely can pay off in times of need.”

Matt Leary celebrates with teammates.
Camera IconMatt Leary celebrates with teammates. Credit: Tiarna Rose Photography

The Hawks led by nine points at the first change, which was reduced to seven at the half.

The deficit was reduced to four going into the last break but the Hawks hung on against a brave Flames outfit.

Perth Wildcats development player Andrew Ferguson was named most valuable player in the grand final, with 18 points and 15 rebounds.

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