Finals bounced out by virus, Knights and Storm crowned premiers

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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ABA president Rob Whalley.
Camera IconABA president Rob Whalley. Credit: Laurie Benson

Knights and Kinjarling Storm have been crowned the men’s and women’s A-grade premiers after an unprecedented move to cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 Albany Basketball Association season this week.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ABA announced this week all remaining games, along with its awards night, would be cancelled after advice from the governing body, Basketball Australia.

The ABA began finals games on Monday night for some grades before the decision was made, while the A-grade finals were due to start on Tuesday and the grand finals for all competitions were scheduled across March 27 and 28 at the Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre.

ABA president Rob Whalley said it was a simple decision given the crisis at hand.

“It was a real shame but for us we are under direction from Basketball Australia,” Whalley said.

“We had good guidance from our national body but it’s surreal the whole situation is hard to comprehend.

“In basketball everyone touching the ball, its contact and there are so many people involved.

“If we can slow it slightly, it’s a good decision.”

In the statement from the ABA, teams that finished on top and were minor premiers will be crowned premiers of their respective grades and most valuable player recipients will also be notified. Knights snatched top spot from Railways Tigers in the final regular round of the men’s A-grade season and as a result will be now premiers for the third straight year.

In their first season of women’s A-grade competition Kinjarling Storm will be crowned premiers after winning 10 games in the regular season.

Albany is one of the biggest regional associations in WA with more than 220 teams.

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