Metro mania as South Australia claims gold

SOUTH Australia Metro has capped off an impressive campaign at the 2023 Under 18 Girls National Championship, claiming the ultimate prize with a win over New South Wales Metro.

The two teams clashed in the championship game in Brisbane on Sunday, having locked horns just five days earlier, in a game that was decided by just five points. History came dangerously close to repeating itself, as SA claimed a six-point triumph in the deciding match.

It was a fitting way for the victors to finish the finals series, having dominated the closing three days of the tournament to claim a well-deserved title thanks to a talented roster and some handy coaching alike.

Lara Somfai starred in the SA jersey during the tournament, and wrapped up in style with another best-on performance. She delivered a double-double of 25 points and 12 rebounds, doing plenty of damage at the charity stripe where she nailed 75 per cent of her attempts.

Also impressing were Sienna Grieger (18 points) and Coco Hodges (13 points), with both players coming up big with some crucial offensive generation over the course of the match.

Despite her side falling short of the grand prize, Jessie-May Hall was outstanding for NSW Metro across all four quarters. She posted a game-high 26 points, while pulling down seven boards in the process.

NSW Metro (72) def. by SA Metro (78)

Both sides started the match looking to get their shooters open from behind the arc, but it was SA that landed the first blow. After SA built a quick seven-point lead, the opposition rallied over the remainder of the first term, matching the offensive output and staying in touch. However, some late baskets saw SA take a six-point lead into the first change.

New South Wales continued to push the opposition in the second quarter, putting more of an emphasis on getting the ball inside and pushing the pace in transition. The Sky Blues even ended up taking the lead at one stage, and trailed by just two points at the main break.

Things continued to remain close on the scoreboard heading into the last quarter, as NSW refused to bow out. However, South Australia went on a crucial run halfway through the term to jump out to a seven-point advantage. Despite strong attempts from New South Wales to claw its way back into the game, SA held on to claim the most important of victories.

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