Top four still undecided after Sonics hold off late Ambassadors charge in ABA round 15

Headshot of Cameron Newbold
Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
Liam Murdock was impressive for Sonics on Tuesday night.
Camera IconLiam Murdock was impressive for Sonics on Tuesday night. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Defending men’s A-grade premiers Sonics remain a chance of playing finals after surviving a late scare against Ambassadors in round 15 on Tuesday night.

Sonics led by as much as 15 points in the second half but Ambassadors stormed home to net 13 of the last 15 points in a tense finish.

A late technical foul handed Caleb Carmen a free throw that trimmed the margin to seven points and then Austin Beeck nailed one from long range to make it a four-point game.

Sonics however held their nerve in the dying moments, clinging on to a 51-47 victory and as a result kept their hopes of playing finals alive for another week.

The Albany Basketball Association have announced that round 14 of the men’s A-grade competition, cancelled due to a player testing positive to COVID, will be replayed next week.

It will replace round 16 and means that each team will get to play each other twice.

Ambassadors and Sonics are inside the top four after this week but Denmark have the bye in round 14 and will get two points.

The four-point win this week leaves Sonics level with the Ambassadors on points and Sonics have the head-to-head advantage if the two sides finish on equal points.

Ambassadors play Tigers and Sonics face Raiders and Denmark may miss the finals if both Ambassadors and Sonics can win in the final round.

Young guard Callum Dixon had 14 points in the opening half for Ambassadors, who led by five at half-time and appeared on their way to locking away a top-four spot.

Contributions from Drew Willcocks (17 points), Liam Murdock (11) and David Arthur (8) helped swing the match back in Sonics favour and they went on to record their sixth win of the season.

For Ambassadors Dixon finished with 16 points and Caleb Carmen battled hard for 12. Their side now face the winless Raiders under-18 development squad in the final round.

Infernos and Barking Owls stitched up top-two finishes and a second semifinal clash after wins in round 15.

Another big offensive display from Jordi O’Neill (26) guided the Owls to a 21-point win over Denmark.

Infernos chalked up a ninth win of the season led by Saxon Henrickson (21) and Kye Griffiths (14), downing Tigers 52-39.

In the women’s A-grade competition Barking Owls thumped Bethel Breakers by 42 points in round 15 on Tuesday night.

Rebecca Benson poured in a game-high 33 points and team mates Taylah Orzel (13), Keely Berry (12) and Kathryn Jennings (11) also reached double figures.

Despite 14 points from Nardia Humphries, Railways fell three points short against Sonics Blue.

Two baskets from outside the arc and 19 points in total from Aleesha Narkle powered Sonics to a 39-25 win over Griffins while Tayeesha Weeden hit 17 points as Infernos emerged 36-point victors over Raiders.

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