Grammar push premiership fancies in tight contest

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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Flames' Shianne Arthur takes on Grammar’s Nina Smith.
Camera IconFlames' Shianne Arthur takes on Grammar’s Nina Smith. Credit: Laurie Benson

Despite a narrow two-point loss to Flames in round 10 of the Albany Basketball Association women’s A-grade on Tuesday night, Grammar Griffins rubberstamped their premiership credentials in process.

Coached by dual Olympian and NBL star Paul Rogers, Grammar were locked in an intense battle with Flames that rivalled any other women’s fixture played this season.

The two well-drilled sides went blow for blow in a fascinating clash that was level at half-time and remained close for the entire 25 minutes after the break.

Griffins edged ahead early in the second half and Flames drew level three times.

With less than seven minutes to play, Flames’ Zandalee Arthur hit a jump shot to give her side the lead for the first time since the break, but it was quickly cancelled out by Grammar’s Savannah Hill.

Zandalee Arthur then drained a clutch three pointer, which proved the match winner, to push Flames 30-27 ahead with five minutes on the clock.

Flames' Alyssa Ward goes for the ball ahead of Grammar’s Savannah Hill..
Camera IconFlames' Alyssa Ward goes for the ball ahead of Grammar’s Savannah Hill.. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Tenacious point guard Bridgette Latham reduced the margin to one point after a timeout, but their charge came to a halt in the final minute.

Already over their team foul limit, Carina Cronje was called for a foul in the dying stages, sending Jorden Tester to the line to shoot free throws.

The call was challenged by Rogers on the bench and he voiced his disapproval, which resulted in a technical foul, ending Grammar’s hopes of victory.

Tester was successful in one of three free throws as Flames clung on to a thrilling win, 31-29.

Zandalee Arthur (11 points) was important in both halves for the winners and was well supported by Shianne Arthur (6) and Alyssa Ward, who never looked like missing from the field for her 6 points.

Grammar were well led by Cronje (9), centre Nina Smith (7) and Hill (7) and showed they can seriously challenge the title favourites minus key duo Ruby and Cleo Bigwood.

Grammar’s Carina Cronje breaks clear against Flames.
Camera IconGrammar’s Carina Cronje breaks clear against Flames. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Meanwhile, Magpies strung a third straight win together, defeating Raiders under-18 development squad by seven points, to stay on top of the standings.

Panthers scored their second win of the season and in the process dented Sparks’ finals hopes with a 49-32 result.

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