Stepney’s stellar shooting steers Warriors to grand final
THE National Basketball League (NBL)1 finals have kicked off around the country, and it has seen some terrific performances at both team and individual level in recent weeks.
That was certainly the case in the West Men’s semi-final between the Woodville Warriors and the South Adelaide Panthers at St Clair Recreation Centre on Saturday night. The Warriors proved far too good for the Panthers, who bowed out in the final term as Woodville stormed home to claim a 20-point triumph and advance to the big dance.
Woodville Warriors 22 | 24 | 22 | 29 (97)
South Adelaide Panthers 23 | 18 | 20 | 16 (77)
While there were many contributors in a number of ways for the Warriors, the star of the show turned out to be Jawan Stepney, who was an offensive force in Woodville’s crucial win. He was the go-to-guy whenever his side needed a basket, and displayed how dangerous he can be from across the court, particularly from behind the three-point line.
With his team’s season on the line, Stepney stood up in a big way, and is now likely to play a crucial role in the upcoming grand final series next weekend. For now, the he and the Warriors can enjoy their week off as the Panthers and the Forestville Eagles do battle tomorrw night for the final spot in the decider.
Juwan Stepney vs. Panthers – 29 points (11/13 FG, 7/7 3PT), eight rebounds
When discussing Stepney’s performance, it would be remiss to not mention how damaging his shooting performance proved to be in the context of the game. The Panthers defence simply could not prevent him from creating space from behind the arc, whether it was off the dribble or in a catch-and-shoot scenario.
Remarkably, Stepney did not miss a shot from three-point territory, despite putting seven up for the contest. His shooting was crucial at keep the Warriors’ offence going throughout the game, and he nailed a few important buckets in the final term when his team made its match-winning run.
Missing just two shots for the game, Stepney displayed a remarkable level of efficiency, and despite South Adelaide’s best efforts, he simply could not be stopped from finding the bottom of the net.
Adding to an already impressive statline, none of Stepney’s 29 points came from the free throw line, showcasing how damaging he was when shooting the ball, not relying on undisciplined defence to keep his personal scoreline ticking over.
To top it all off, Stepney produced a solid rebounding performance as well, pulling down eight boards and securing another possession for the Warriors in the process. Three of these came on the offensive end, and ended up being another scoring play for Woodville.