Red-hot Flames top ABA ladder again

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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For the second-straight season, Flames have claimed the minor premiership in the Albany Basketball Association women’s A-grade competition, this time courtesy of a convincing 24-point win over Grammar Griffins on Tuesday night.

Heading into the final round of the regular season, Flames sat in second place, two points and percentage adrift of fellow premiership fancies Magpies.

However, a red-hot shooting display from last season’s runners-up and Magpies losing their round 15 encounter saw Flames finish on top of the ladder for the second straight year.

Flames strangled their opponents with their characteristic defence and were deadly from long range at the other end, opening up a sizeable advantage in the first half.

Grammar’s Ruby Bradbury shoots ahead of Flames' Jessica Leamon.
Camera IconGrammar’s Ruby Bradbury shoots ahead of Flames' Jessica Leamon. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Zandalee Arthur dropped two from three-point territory to help herself to 10 first-half points and Indianna Weeden also knocked down a shot from deep, as Flames surged 25-10 ahead by the main break.

The Griffins tried their best to fight back early in the second half and went on a 6-3 run in the first five minutes of the second period but they simply couldn’t sustain it.

Flames, with their trap defence, were over the foul limit with more than 14 minutes left in the game but it failed to worry them as they careered to a dominant win, 53-29.

Arthur collected a game-high 14 points, Weeden hit three long-range efforts to score 11 of her own, while Alyssa Ward (10 points) again never looked like missing a field goal, and centre Jessica Leamon also poured in 10 points.

It was Flames’ 12th win of the season, and sets up an exciting second semifinal clash with Magpies next week as they aim to book successive grand final berths.

Grammar’s Carina Cronje looks to score.
Camera IconGrammar’s Carina Cronje looks to score. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Carina Cronje battled hard for Griffins in defeat with nine points, and Ruby Bradbury finished with six points, but their side was undone by the high-pressure defence and their shooting was cold for large periods of the match.

In the other final round results, Raiders’ under-18s development squad caused an upset, ending Magpies’ seven-game winning streak.

Led by Alyssa Ward (10) and Marissa Vandemescht (10), Raiders downed their rivals 42-30 after extending a four-point half-time lead. Sparks ended the season on a high, defeating Panthers 51-37 with Nardia Humphries (19) and Taylah Orzel (12) in dominant form.

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