Magnificent Morison claims MVP on big stage
THE National Basketball League (NBL)1 East Men’s competition has a new champion, with the Canberra Gunners storming home in the final quarter of the grand final to emerge three-point victors against the Maitland Mustangs, led by a stirring performance from Glenn Morison.
The big dance took place on Sunday afternoon at Hills Basketball Stadium, with both sides looking to cap off impressive campaigns. In an entertaining clash, the Gunners overcame some impressive form from the opposition in the second quarter to retake the lead in the final minutes, and claim the 2022 championship.
Canberra Gunners 22 | 13 | 22 | 19 (76)
Maitland Mustangs 17 | 27 | 16 | 13 (73)
These two sides performed the strongest throughout the course of the season, setting up a fitting conclusion. Just one win separated the two teams in the home and away portion of the season, so it was shaping as a tense encounter, and that ended up being an accurate prediction.
The result of the game was not sealed until the final buzzer, with the Mustangs unable to conjure a match-winning bucket in the dying seconds of the contest, as the Gunners claimed the title after a season in which they finished at the top of the table.
The grand final MVP award was given to Morison, who proved a worthy recipient with a dominant display on the biggest of stages. He recorded a double-double and was by far the most damaging player on the court.
Glenn Morison vs. Mustangs – 28 points, 11 rebounds, four assists
Morison was the most impactful offensive player for the entire game, with his ability to roll into the paint and either draw contact or find the bottom of the net was too much for the Maitland defence, who found themselves outworked.
With a quiet start to the game, Morison found his groove in the second term, putting the ball on the floor a bit more and playing to his strength of pushing through the defence to notch a few lay-ups. While his jump shot was wayward at times, he kept his offensive momentum rolling with some nice work inside the paint, as it appeared to be working.
After Maitland got on top in the second quarter, Morison helped not only keep the Gunners in the contest, but wrestle back momentum. To close out the third term, he recorded seven points in eighty seconds and was a key figure in Canberra getting over the line in the fourth quarter.
On the boards, Morison formed a strong partnership with teammate Akech Aliir to control the skies. The duo combined for 22 of the team’s 44 rebounds, with most of Morison’s coming on the defensive end of the court, ensuring the Mustangs did not get any second chance points.
With plenty of pressure to perform on the big stage, Morison saved his best work for the most important game of the year, and helped swing momentum Canberra’s way when the game was in the balance.