CBL North West: Bendigo Braves impress to progress through to grand final

THE semi-final action in the Country Basketball League (CBL) North West Men’s division had a mixed bag of results with Maryborough pulling through in a thriller, while in the other clash Bendigo made light work of Kyneton. The Blazers fought gallantly to overpower the Echuca Pirates by a mere two points (61-59) with the game going down to the wire. Meanwhile the Braves flexed their muscles with a complete demolition job of the Tigers running out 38-point victors (88-50).

Four players made their way into double-digits for Maryborough Blazers with Brady Neill topscoring with 16 points. He was well assisted by Harry Butler who managed 12 points as Lachlan Drummond and Darcy Bond also chimed in to get their side over the line with 11 and 10 points respectively. Although they did not get the win Tyler Phillips stole the show for the Pirates with a game-high 22 points with Staci Richardson getting into some foul trouble with four but still managing 15 points.

The Braves had no shortage of options when attacking the rim with every single player on their roster hitting the scoreboard. Lachlan O’Brien and Trent Leech made their presence felt with 12 points apiece while Connor Mayman and Jack White also produced 11 points each. Dylan McCauley and Isaac Murphy also kept the scoreboard ticking over for Bendigo slotting nine points apiece in the win. The Tigers struggled to generate scoring proficiency with Iggy Spiller the most prominent scorer with 10 points as Jai Everitt and Matthew Quinn both managed nine points.

The Blazers and Braves are now set to lock horns in the grand final as one looks to walk away with the silverware.

In the women’s division it was the Bendigo Braves and Kyneton Tigers that won through to the big dance working hard to overcome their opponents and live another week. The Braves ended Mildura Heat’s dreams of a grand final berth with a nine-point win (68-59) while the Tigers roared into the final game of the season defeating Maryborough Blazers by 11 points (72-61).

Bendigo were led by a trio of stars in Sharna Appelby, Hayley Harrington and Madeline Sexton with the all three hitting double-digits for their efforts. Appelby topscored with 17 points as Harrington produced 15 and Sexton with 14 in the win. For the Heat the scoring was relatively evenly spread but it was Olivia Knights that impressed with 13 points to her name. Demi Wall finished with 11 points as Iavinia Erskine recorded 10 points in the loss.

Michelle Fletcher wasted no time inflicting herself on the scoreboard sinking a game-high 26 points for the Tigers however she ran into foul trouble with five to her name. Jessica Mangan had a hot hand with 15 points as Alexandra Strawhorn and Adrienne Cameron were key cogs thanks to their 11 points. For the Blazers it was Claire Blower that stepped up to the plate walking away with 17 points in the loss as Keely Hare registered 13 points.

The two sides in Bendigo and Kyneton will play off in the grand final with the former getting the chocolates in their Round 5 clash, making for an intriguing match-up.

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