Thorpe to miss Pies’ pursuit of third title

Headshot of Cameron Newbold
Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser

Magpies will chase their first Albany Basketball Association women’s A-grade premiership since 2011-12 when they clash with Grammar Griffins in tomorrow night’s title decider at Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre.

As a team based out of Denmark, Magpies claimed back-to-back women’s A-grade premierships in 2010-11 and 2011-12 and the new-look side will have a chance to add a third title to their name after enjoying a brilliant season to date.

With a potent offensive unit, Magpies finished second on the ladder before disposing of Flames in the second semifinal to book their spot in the grand final.

Tully Lane and Taimania Jones both average more than eight points a game, while Narelle Humphries has been a terrific inclusion averaging 7.25 points a game and Jessica Ross is fresh off a 16-point haul that helped sink Flames last week.

Magpies, however, will be without forward Ebony Thorpe, who will miss the decider with concussion, but spokeswoman Tamara Ditchburn said her side was playing with plenty of confidence.

“It should be a decent game,” Ditchburn said. “We haven’t lost to them yet but it will be tough.

“Our defence is pretty good; we’ve got good height and we should give them a run for their money.”

Magpies finished fifth last year, missing the finals, but rebounded well this season and have beaten the Griffins three times so far, by eight points in round 14, 15 points in round 9 and eight points in round 4.

The Griffins, coached by former Perth Wildcats star Paul Rogers, will play in their first women’s A-grade grand final since joining the top-tier competition in 2014-15.

After winning their sudden-death first semifinal over Raiders’ under-18 development squad, they knocked out premiership fancies Flames in the preliminary final and are brimming with confidence, according to Rogers.

“Full credit to the girls — this is the furthest we’ve been as a school,” he said. “The great thing about the women’s A this year — it’s such an even competition but Magpies, we have struggled to contain. They have good bigs and good guards and it will be a big battle but if we play loose, we’ll be in with a chance.”

The Griffins could possibly welcome back key tall Ruby Bigwood, who now resides in Perth as they chase a maiden premiership.

ABA Women’s A-grade Grand Final - Friday, 7pm

Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre

Magpies (13-3)

1 Tamara Ditchburn

7 Tully Lane

8 Taimania Jones

10 Darcie Oreo

11 Jessica Ross

12 Narelle Humphries

14 Jasmyne Jones

Grammar Griffins (11-6)

Coach: Paul Rogers

5 Anita Onions

6 Bridgette Latham

8 Nina Smith

9 Kayla Rowe

10 Cleo Bigwood

11 Ruby Bigwood

12 Carina Cronje

13 Savannah Hill

14 Tahliah Dimer

15 Ruby Bradbury

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