Raiders hang on for overtime victory
Raiders’ under-18 development squad’s hopes of back-to-back Albany Basketball Association men’s A-grade premierships remain alive after they hung on for a gripping overtime victory against Crabs in Tuesday night’s sudden-death first semifinal.
Crabs were up by two points at the main break before Raiders wrested back the advantage and led by as much as seven points late in the piece.
With fewer than five minutes to play, Crabs hauled themselves back into the match mainly thanks to star Danial Abbott.
Raiders led 36-29 before Crabs hit the next seven points to level scores and send the match into overtime.
Jayden Scott hit two free throws and then Abbott added two more from the line before a quick turnover and Abbott lay-up reduced the deficit to a single point.
Raiders couldn’t extend the margin, and Tom Edwards fouled Scott in the dying seconds, and with his team already over the foul limit, Scott went to the charity stripe with a chance to win the game.
Scott’s first shot rimmed out but his second was all net to tie scores at 36-apiece.
During a five-minute overtime period, the lead changed twice as Edwards splashed a triple to put Raiders a point ahead only to receive his fifth foul and exit the game moments later.
With Bodhi Holmes also fouled out for Crabs, both sides tried to forge a game-winning margin but errors continued to creep in.
Matt Leary missed two free throws for Raiders and Abbott responded with one free throw to level the scores inside the final minute.
Leary had the final say, however, when Scott fouled him with seconds to run and he stepped up and hit his first attempt, sending the Raiders to a preliminary final.
Raiders were almost left to rue shooting at 17 per cent from three-point territory but Leary (13 points), Edwards (8) and Mason Tion (7) off the bench guided them to a one-point win.
“The boys kept fighting and we managed to hold on,” Raiders coach Darren Berry said.
“When young kids blow a lead it’s easy for them to drop their heads but they dug deep.”
Abbott was clearly the most influential player on the court, finishing with a game-high 18 points and countless rebounds, while Holmes added six points in the 40-39 loss.
“It all came down to tonight’s game,” Abbott said. “Credit to Raiders and the season they’ve had, but a game shouldn’t be decided on that last call.”
Meanwhile, in a bizarre second semifinal, Barking Owls made their way to the grand final with a six-point win over Tigers despite injured centre Hamish McMorran standing in their offensive keyway for the entire game.
Owls won 40-34, with Carwin Garcia (17) and Justin Benson (16) the difference.
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