Ambassadors vital top-four victory

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Barking Owls' Justin Benson gets around Ambassadors' Pieter Coetzee.
Camera IconBarking Owls' Justin Benson gets around Ambassadors' Pieter Coetzee. Credit: Laurie Benson

Ambassadors strengthened their claims to play finals and in the process dented last season’s grand finalists Barking Owls’ top four ambitions, after a hard-fought win in round 14 of the Albany Basketball Association men’s A-grade competition on Tuesday night.

Ambassadors, who replaced Barking Owls in third place and now sit three points clear of fifth spot, need one win from their last two regular games to qualify for successive finals appearances.

In a tough contest Ambassadors fought hard for their four-point win, coming from six points down at the main break.

Barking Owls' Sam Finigan gets through traffic.
Camera IconBarking Owls' Sam Finigan gets through traffic. Credit: Laurie Benson/Laurie Benson

Pieter Coetzee helped Ambassadors hit the front midway through the second half with his side hitting the next three baskets to race seven points clear.

Ambassadors appeared to be cruising to a comfortable result but with 10 minutes to play veteran playmaker Justin Benson went to another level.

Benson dragged his side back, as he hit Owls’ next 12 points and with four minutes on the clock scores were level.

Ambassadors' Ryan Barber gets past Owls’ Sam Finigan.
Camera IconAmbassadors' Ryan Barber gets past Owls’ Sam Finigan. Credit: Laurie Benson

A triple from the ever-reliable Caleb Carmen and then a bucket to Ryan Barber iced the game for Ambassadors as they jumped to third with the 54-50 triumph.

Coetzee hit 13 first half-points on his way to 17 for the game while Benson was a one-man show, hitting 25 points for Owls who slipped to fourth and face a defining last fortnight of the regular season.

Ambassadors' Todd Knuiman scores under pressure from Owl’s Sam Finigan.
Camera IconAmbassadors' Todd Knuiman scores under pressure from Owl’s Sam Finigan. Credit: Laurie Benson

Knights locked away a double chance and remain one point clear on top spot after a resounding 63-44 win over the fifth-placed Tigers.

Knights led 30-19 at the half after Henry Alforque and Luke McGuire putting on a shooting clinic.

Alforque hit four long bombs on his way to 25 points and McGuire nailed three from beyond the arc to play a strong support role with 15 points.

Barking Owls' Rob Whalley waits for his chance to put a shot up.
Camera IconBarking Owls' Rob Whalley waits for his chance to put a shot up. Credit: Laurie Benson

Railways Tigers will meet Knights in the first week of finals, their impressive inaugural season continuing after taking care of Blazers by 31 points.

Railways doubled their opponents’ score in the first half and were never troubled from there, winning 81-50, as five players registered double figures in offence.

Hamish McMorran (16 points) and Henrick Alforque (14) led the way for the winners while Zac Pearson top scored for Blazers with 14.

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