Tigers boost finals chances after clawing past Raiders
Tigers have survived a late scare from Raiders under-18 development squad to boost their chances of playing finals, hanging on by a single point in a frantic finish to their round 11 Albany Basketball Association men’s A-grade fixture on Tuesday.
In a low-scoring opening half, Tigers gained control and played the game on their terms as it appeared they were heading for a comfortable win.
However, things changed dramatically as the young Raiders dug deep, coming from a nine-point deficit at half-time to storm back into the contest and force a scramble in the dying minutes.
With eight minutes left in the match, Raiders had dragged the margin back to five points and they kept coming.
The young squad got on a roll, scoring 10 of the last 14 points in the match to surge towards an unlikely victory.
With the margin at four points, classy guard John Santia nailed a long-range basket to steady the ship for Tigers and then the hard-working Bodhi Holmes also helped keep the Raiders at bay.
Arthur Jones splashed a triple and Henry Alforque firstly hit a two pointer and then was successful with two free throws as Raiders got within two points.
As he had done for much of the night, Holmes was the man on the offensive end, his eighth field goal of the night stretching the difference back to four points inside the last 90 seconds.
Raiders had one last roll of the dice as the nippy Jones transitioned quickly, his lay-up rolling in as he was fouled.
An unsportsmanlike foul was called, giving Jones an additional free throw, which he sank on the buzzer, but Raiders had fallen short by the smallest of margins, 39-40.
Holmes was outstanding for Tigers in the win, collecting 19 points, while Dean Gliosca (8 points) and Santia stepped up in crucial moments.
Rotating a big roster of players, Raiders were best served by Flynn Wauters, Tyler Willmore (11) and Henry Alforque (12).
Defending premiers Knights moved two points clear at the top of the standings after prevailing in their top-of-the-table clash with Barking Owls.
Alforque nailed six three- pointers in a match-winning 24-point haul and was well supported by Kye Griffiths (19) and Tom Edwards (17) as Knights came out winners, 84-77.
Shaun Rost was huge for Owls in defeat, sinking 28 points and dominating the glass at either end.
In the other round 11 games, Ambassadors maintained their place in the top four after taking care of Kinjarling Thunder 61-51 and The Farm Athletics beat Crabs by 20 points after Kalin Lane and Jaylen Beattie knocked down 14 points apiece.
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