Inexperienced Albany side outmuscled by Bunbury

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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Albany’s Hamish McMorran was a dominant force in Albany progressing to the grand final.
Camera IconAlbany’s Hamish McMorran was a dominant force in Albany progressing to the grand final. Credit: Michael Wilson The West Australian

Albany Basketball Association’s top-tier men’s team has fallen at the final hurdle in their quest for another title at the BWA Senior Country Championships in Perth on Monday afternoon.

Taking a new look and relatively inexperienced outfit to Perth as they chased back-to-back titles and a ninth crown in 13 years, Albany produced a strong performance to reach the semifinals.

On a dramatic final day Albany lost their last pool match to Bunbury by 23 points but still finished in the top four to secure a semifinals berth.

Albany’s John Santia with possession.
Camera IconAlbany’s John Santia with possession. Credit: The West Australian

Albany were able to hold Pinjarra at bay, led by Hamish McMorran (8 points), winning 35-24 in a hard-fought semifinal to set up another crack at Bunbury.

Bunbury’s height and perimeter shooting proved the difference, however, as they continually caused the young Albany squad headaches on the defensive end.

By half-time Bunbury had opened up a 15-point advantage which they maintained in the second period on their way to a 23-point victory.

Albany’s Jeff Fitzpatrick.
Camera IconAlbany’s Jeff Fitzpatrick. Credit: The West Australian

The score was identical to the earlier clash on Monday, Albany losing 31-54 as they were beaten by Bunbury in a grand final for the second time in the past four years.

Tom Edwards finished as Albany’s top scorer in the decider with 10 points while Jaylen Beattie (6) and McMorran (4) were also gallant.

Men’s coach Adrian Masters said the sheer height and strength of Bunbury was hard to contain.

“They were too big and too skilled and executed to perfection,” he said. “I was rapt with the effort, we had to rely on work rate and our running game and it nearly got us the whole way.

Albany’s Keanu Weeden sprints clear.
Camera IconAlbany’s Keanu Weeden sprints clear. Credit: The West Australian

“Hammer (McMorran) was brilliant, his athleticism and rebounding all weekend and Tommy Edwards led the tournament in scoring.”

Edwards finished with 99 points at an average of 14, including a 29-point haul in the opening game against Mandurah. McMorran was huge at both ends but averaged 8.14ppg in the campaign.

Albany had wins over Mandurah (48-29), Pinjarra (42-31) and Kalgoorlie (50-37) in the pool games while losing to Geraldton (29-32) and Bunbury.

Albany’s Zac Pearson passes off against Bunbury in the grand final.
Camera IconAlbany’s Zac Pearson passes off against Bunbury in the grand final. Credit: The West Australian

Albany 31 (T Edwards 10, J Beattie 6, H McMorran 4, J Fitzpatrick 4, J Santia 3, A Clothier 2, Z Pearson 2) def by Bunbury 54 (C Weeden 22, W Hitchcock 13, J Smith 10, T Harper 3, N Van Dijk 3, L Deighton 3)

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