Missed free throw after buzzer denies Crabs a draw

Headshot of Cameron Newbold
Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser

Crabs skipper Jayden Scott let a chance to pinch a draw for his gallant team slip, missing a free throw after the buzzer that would have levelled scores one last time in a highly entertaining round 13 Albany Basketball Association men’s A-grade clash on Tuesday night.

Scores were level on six occasions in the see-sawing affair between league leaders Barking Owls and Crabs, including late in the second half when Scott nailed a clutch three-pointer.

Chasing a sixth-straight victory, Crabs appeared to be running out of time when they twice sent Owls star Justin Benson to the line in the dying stages, courtesy of being over the team foul limit.

Benson hit one shot in his first trip to the line and then nailed both of his next attempts to stretch Owls’ lead to three points.

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Ain Pennaste hit a jumper falling away to keep Crabs in touch but when Carwin Garcia replied at the other end, Owls seemed destined to hang on.

However, Tom Powell fouled Scott heavily as he tried to put up a three-point ‘hail Mary’ on the buzzer, sending him to the line for a chance to draw the game.

Crabs had been deadly from the line all night and Scott’s first two attempts never looked like missing but his third was to the left and rimmed out as Owls prevailed by a single point.

Owls began well and led by as much as nine points in the first half before Pennaste and Bodhi Holmes got busy to haul their side back into the match.

Holmes grabbed several rebounds and shot 11 first-half points while three consecutive field goals to Pennaste helped Crabs go into half-time level. Owls centre Hamish McMorran provided a further first-half highlight with an effortless slam dunk and the youngster found his range in the last half with nine points.

Garcia (16 points) and Benson, who hit two long-range baskets in the second half on his way to 13 points were both crucial to the Owls win while Tristan Mackenzie and Tom Powell also hit triples as Owls went at 41 per cent from outside the arc.

Crabs shot four of 15 three-point attempts and hit 12 of 14 free throws in the 57-56 loss.

Holmes (15) was outstanding while Pennaste was lively throughout with 14 points.

The loss leaves Crabs in fourth place but just two points ahead of Ambassadors, who cruised to a 45-32 win over Wolves in round 13, led by Caleb Carmen (16) and Matt Barber (10).

Raiders under-18 squad led by four points over Dugites late in their contest but a free throw to Adam Ditchburn and a three- pointer from the in-form Todd Knuiman squared things up, with the match ending in a 40-40 draw.

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