Magpies make title claim after big semifinal win

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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Magpies' Nardia Humphries looks to score as Panthers' Kasey Warren defends.
Camera IconMagpies' Nardia Humphries looks to score as Panthers' Kasey Warren defends. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Magpies made a serious finals statement as they whacked reigning premiers Panthers in the Albany Basketball Association women’s A-grade second semifinal to the tune of 25 points on Tuesday night.

A brilliant start and the ever-increasing impact of Nardia Humphries were the two clear factors in the one-sided contest as Magpies staked their claim for this season’s title.

Signs were evident last week defending premiers Panthers were vulnerable when their streak of 12 wins ended, losing their first game of the season to Magpies.

Seven days on, Magpies displayed why they are the team to beat in this season’s title race and it took all of 15 minutes to determine that.

Magpies' Nardia Humphries and Margaret Coyne contest the ball with Panthers' Casey Griffiths.
Camera IconMagpies' Nardia Humphries and Margaret Coyne contest the ball with Panthers' Casey Griffiths. Credit: Albany Advertiser

A scoreless 15 minutes to start a crunch final is how Panthers will remember things.

Magpies, on the other hand, will take plenty of confidence from their red-hot start to the contest, going on a 17-0 run, which will kill off any 45 minute game of basketball in Albany.

Darcy Kerr ended the scoring drought for Panthers but her side trailed by 16 points at half time and never recovered.

Magpies' Macy Lane and Panthers' Casey Griffiths contest possession.
Camera IconMagpies' Macy Lane and Panthers' Casey Griffiths contest possession. Credit: Albany Advertiser

The absence of injured star Ella Scamozzi was evident and guard Kayla Thomas finished with two points to cap Panthers’ worst performance of the season.

Panthers gave up the first four points of the second half and although they got the margin back to 13 points at one stage, it mattered little.

Nardia Humphries feasted on fast break lay-ups and helped herself to a game-high 17 points. Her last three games in Magpies colours have returned 17, 29 and 14 points.

Jasmyne Jones (7 points) was solid throughout for Magpies in the 45-20 result as they booked their place in the grand final.

Panthers' Kayla Thomas goes to the basket as Magpies' Tamara Ditchburn applies pressure.
Camera IconPanthers' Kayla Thomas goes to the basket as Magpies' Tamara Ditchburn applies pressure. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Panthers had little to smile about but the efforts of Kerr (8) didn’t go unnoticed. They must regroup quickly as their preliminary final opponents Flames will be no pushover next Tuesday.

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