Shining Knights thump Owls for back-to-back titles

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
Knights claimed back-to-back men’s A-grade premierships on Friday night.
Camera IconKnights claimed back-to-back men’s A-grade premierships on Friday night. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Knights have destroyed Barking Owls with a sublime shooting display, securing back-to-back men’s A-grade premierships to confirm their status as the most dominant team of the past two seasons.

Only a blemish in the opening round of the season at the hands of their grand final opponent prevented a perfect season but that mattered little to the red-hot Knights outfit.

With four remaining players from last season’s maiden premiership team, Knights were simply a class above Owls in the decider as they scored the first eight points of the game, led by 11 points at half-time and then hit nine three-pointers in the second half on their way to a grand final demolition.

Owls were lucky to be in the contest at half-time, as Knights hit one of 10 long-range attempts and veteran Justin Benson had nine of his side’s 13 points.

Barking Owls' Kyle Smith takes on Knights' Tom Edwards.
Camera IconBarking Owls' Kyle Smith takes on Knights' Tom Edwards. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Foul trouble made things hard for Owls early in the second half and the margin was 13 points in their hopes of avoiding a fourth-straight grand final loss.

Knights, however, quickly put the game to bed as they scored 21 consecutive points in a brilliant period midway through the second half. They hit five triples in that run, as the Alforque twins found their mojo and from there, Knights coasted to a 39-point triumph.

Knights hit nine of 17 three-point attempts in the second half and shot at 37 per cent from deep in the game as Henry Alforque dropped four and his partner in crime Henrick nailed three — all of which came in the last 25 minutes.

Henrick Alforque finished with nine points and was named grand final most valuable player as his side belted Owls, 75-36.

Knights' Luke McGuire carries the ball down court.
Camera IconKnights' Luke McGuire carries the ball down court. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Henry Alforque was stiff not to be named MVP, his contribution off the bench was a game-high 18 points and a number of steals.

Luke McGuire must have also been in the MVP conversation — his 13 points telling along with his ability to spread the floor and dish off quality assists.

In two seasons of A-grade competition, Knights have won 29 games, lost four matches and drawn one, and have two premierships to show as a result.

“They only had six, so the key was to run the floor and basically get them tired,” Henrick Alforque said after the game.

Barking Owls' Arthur Jones passes off.
Camera IconBarking Owls' Arthur Jones passes off. Credit: Albany Advertiser

“Playing together for a couple of years, we’ve bonded really well and know how each other play. We knew even after that slow (shooting) start, if we kept taking our shots, we’d find our form and we did.”

Tom Edwards (16 points) and Kye Griffiths (12) were workmanlike as usual for the Knights, who outscored Owls 51-23 in the second half, and hit all 11 free-throw attempts in the game.

For Owls, it was yet another grand final defeat, their fourth in succession and in a run of 10 straight grand final appearances, they have won only two titles.

Benson tried his heart out, netting 15 points but not even his efforts could halt the Knights’ charge.

Knights' Tom Edwards gets past Barking Owls' Justin Benson and goes to the basket.
Camera IconKnights' Tom Edwards gets past Barking Owls' Justin Benson and goes to the basket. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Brody Hickey hit all 10 of his points in the second half but Owls were successful in one of their 11 three-point attempts and, hampered by fouls, they could never conjure a significant run together.

“We had to switch to man-on-man (defence) because we had so many fouls,” Benson said.

“That’s when they got on a roll. They’ve got good shooters, are too fit for us and well done to them.”

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