‘Kid’ Panthers composed in title triumph

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

Panthers saved their best until last to upset Magpies and claim their first Albany Basketball Association women’s A-grade title in thrilling fashion by three points last Friday night.

Panthers held a single-figure lead for the majority of the hotly contested battle and were forced to protect their lead in the dying minutes to hold on for a 30-27 win, sparking jubilant scenes.

Magpies finished minor premiers and enjoyed a 6-1 advantage over Panthers in their clashes this season but Panthers — under coach David Arthur — frustrated their opponents throughout.

Magpies finished with only four players on the court after sisters Nardia and Narelle Humphries and Taimania Jones all fouled out and Tamara Ditchburn suffered a head knock in the first half.

Magpies' Nardia Humphries takes on Panthers' Nina Smith.
Camera IconMagpies' Nardia Humphries takes on Panthers' Nina Smith. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Nardia Humphries, the competition’s most valuable player was kept quiet and held to only two points before being fouled out in a big blow to the Magpies’ hopes of coming from behind.

She was later followed by her twin sister Narelle Humphries on the sidelines after contributing 12 points.

Point guard Kayla Thomas was superb for Panthers, with her ball handling under pressure crucial as her side attempted to maintain possession in the dying minutes.

Thomas was instrumental in the first half on her way to receiving the MVP trophy, while Jade Dimer produced 13 points and centre Nina Smith finished with 8.

Panthers' Ella Scamozzi takes possession as Magpies' Narelle Humphries and Margaret Coyne move in.
Camera IconPanthers' Ella Scamozzi takes possession as Magpies' Narelle Humphries and Margaret Coyne move in. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Panthers coach Arthur said his side’s composure and ability to draw their opponents into foul trouble were crucial in the end result. “For young kids, they held up their composure under pressure really well,” he said. “They did it well, they timed their fouls well, they ran some time off the clock. They really did a good job.”

Magpies coach Margie Jones said the close contest was fitting for an A-grade grand final.

“It was a good outcome for an A-grade grand final — it was close and came down to the wire,” she said.

Panthers' Kayla Thomas.
Camera IconPanthers' Kayla Thomas. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

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