Gone with the Wyndham; McKinnon outplayed in semis

IN a thoroughly entertaining contest, Wyndham finished in style to take down McKinnon in the Big V Men’s Championship semi-final to the tune of four points when the two sides locked horns at GESAC on Saturday night.

It was one of the most anticipated games of the season, given the stakes of the match and how entertaining the matches between these sides had proven throughout season 2022. Despite Wyndham finishing the fixture with three more wins, there was no real favourite as both teams had the capacity to post a winning score on a weekly basis. The game lived up to the hype, and was one of the better contests we have seen all year.

There was no real period of dominance from either side, with the game decided by a number of runs. Thankfully for Wyndham, its best stretch of the game came at the most important time, delivering a barnstorming final term and blitzing past the opposition to take the lead late in the match and take game one of the series, with the final margin sitting at just a couple of buckets.

For the victors, a lot of the damage was done by the impactful pairing of Manel Ayol and Maurice Howard, with the pair able to wreak havoc on the offensive end of the court. Both players posted eye-catching numbers with ball in hand, and chimed in with some big baskets down the stretch when the game was there to be won. Ayol finished with a team-high 31 points (10/14 FG) to go with eight rebounds (four offensive) and five assists, while Howard poured in 28 points (11/21 FG), nine rebounds and five assists of his own.

Despite the result, there were still a number of key contributors for McKinnon throughout the course of the game. Nathan Davis was the highest scorer for the match with 32 points, with 10 of his 18 attempts from the field proving successful while nailing seven shots from behind the arc. Also catching the eye was the performance of Sharif Black, who recorded a big double-double with 23 points and 14 rebounds, overcoming some wayward shooting to still play a vital role for his side.

McKinnon (90) def. by Wyndham (94)

In a high-scoring start to the game, both sides got rolling on the offensive end and there was plenty of impressive shot-making. Wyndham took a three-point lead into the first break of play, and it was anyone’s game to this point. Remarkably, the second term was even more of an arm-wrestle, and neither side could get on top. The margin remained unaffected at the main change, and the contest was shaping up to go down to the wire.

The second half was where both sides began to push ahead on the scoreboard, and in the third term, it was the home side that took control of the game. McKinnon was the superior side on both ends in quarter number three, producing a whopping 28 points in the 10-minute patch of play. That saw the hosts take a three-point lead into the final period, with both sides playing to keep their title hopes alive. The script was flipped in the last quarter, with Wyndham snatching momentum of the game and taking the lead with two minutes left, courtesy of a Davis lay-up. The margin remained around two points until the dying stages of the game, and when Howard nailed the final free throws of the game, the win was sealed.

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