Knox Raided by super Spectres in grand final

THE Nunawading Spectres are the 2022 Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) Under 18 Boys VC Championship winners, having defeated the Knox Raiders to the tune of 10 points at the State Basketball Centre on Friday night.

The Raiders were the title favourites coming in, but if any side could claim the upset victory, it was the Spectres. The result looked a chance of going either way for much of the game, and was even the case deep into the final term. However, a blistering third term from Nunawading set them up to hold on for a 63-53 victory.

Tiernan Stynes was the star of the show for the champions, posting a team-high 18 points in the biggest game of the season. He looked at his best when cutting across the key to his right and either finishing at the rim or kicking out to a teammate on the perimeter. Despite not being the tallest player out there, Stynes’ had a strong performance in the paint, even showcasing a nifty post hook at times.

Stynes was not the only contributor for the Spectres, with three others registering double-digits in the points column. Billy Hicks (14 points), Oscar Dunn (13 points) and Tristan Devers (10 points were all valuable contributors on the offensive end, particularly in the third. Firey guard Heath Batten was right in the grill of the opposition all game and managed to draw some valuable offensive fouls by putting his body on the line.

Luke Fennell was the main reason why the Raiders were even in the contest in the final term, with a significant scoring output. He had 24 points and was producing baskets from all over the key. Fraser Roxburgh was the other culprit for Knox on the offensive end, delivering 16 points of his own, as the pair faced an uphill battle to try and give their side some go on the scoreboard.

It was a scrap of a first half, with both sides delivering some rough and tumble defence and forcing errors, including shot clock violations. Interior scoring was the method of attack from both sides, with shooting proving to be an issue on both ends. The Raiders led by six at the main break and had slight control of the contest.

It was the third term when things really broke open, as the Spectres finally got their game rolling and wrestled back momentum. Shots began falling from everywhere, even from downtown, which looked a far cry up to that point. The Raiders tried to keep up, but were not experiencing the same success, and trailed by 13 at the final change. Despite their best efforts in the last quarter, the Raiders could not produce enough points in the paint to erase the margin, as Nunawading held on for a double-digit triumph to claim the championship.

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