Belief guides Wyndham to championship glory
WYNDHAM’S championship-securing win against the Sunbury Jets in the Big V Men’s competition may not have been predicted by all, but Wyndham coach Lucas Allen said his side was not daunted by the Jets’ league-best record.
The Jets came into the match with an impressive win/loss record of 20-1 in the home and away fixture was the strongest of any side, but found themselves falling in the best of three grand final series to a hungrier Wyndham side, with the latter claiming a 87-75 triumph at Boardman Stadium on Saturday night.
Allen said that his side was not fazed by how strong Sunbury was in the regular season, and it showed in finals.
“Their record never came into any of our conversations, because their one loss was to us. Sure they beat us two out of our three games [in the regular season], but for us, it was more about ‘how are we going to defend them?’ and ‘where do we think we have the best opportunity to score against them?’ and the guys were able to execute that,” Allen said.
After game one’s blowout win against the Jets, Allen said his side expected their opponents to bounce back in game two, but had prepared for such a push.
“We’ve spoken about how we anticipated in the first game that Sunbury would make a run, but things didn’t quite get rolling for them. “We anticipated it to come in game two instead, and it did. Even when we got up by 18, it wasn’t quite secure yet. “They did make that run and got it back to a handful of points, and it was really pleasing that our guys were able to steady the ship, stay controlled and focused and we ended up getting a win down the stretch.”
After dominating all year, Wyndham gun Maurice Howard was named MVP of the grand final series after 29 points, five rebounds and five assists, and was as deserving a winner as they come.
“I don’t know what the conversations were when they made that decision, but I would imagine it was pretty unanimous,” Allen said. “Across the series, he was consistent in both games. “It wasn’t just the scoring, he had five and a half assists across the series and had seven rebounds per game too. “He wasn’t able to shoot as well in game two, but still hit the scoreboard in a pretty efficient way.”
Allen also flagged Kavione Green as a key contributor over the course of the grand final series, after 24 points in game two.
“He was big for us and impacted both games in different ways,” Allen said. “He played 40 minutes in game two for the first time all year and was able to certainly contribute on the scoring end.”
The Wyndham coach also mentioned Adetomi Ayilara (15 points, five rebounds) and Aaron Dolny (10 points, five rebounds) as important factors in getting the win.
The ability to stand up on the big stage was on display for Wyndham, who claimed the trophy after a clinical grand final performance across the two games.