ALTHOUGH much of the attention may have been on her teammate’s monster performance, the outing of Kelly Wilson cannot be undervalued in the context of the NBL1 National Final.
Wilson’s Bendigo Braves completed their perfect season by delivering a dominant win over the Norths Bears at HBF Arena on Sunday. The result crowned the Braves as National Champions, finishing an unbeaten year in style as they truly flexed their muscles on the rest of the country after dominating the South competition.
It was a convincing victory, getting the job done by a whopping 27 points and proving far too good for the Bears. Bendigo was simply too good for a Norths side that had enjoyed a strong year itself, but could not keep up with the pure offensive power of the Braves.
There was plenty of talk around the numbers of Megan McKay (and rightfully so given her dominance), but Wilson was also a key figure in Bendigo’s success with her splendid playmaking.
Bendigo Braves (114) def. Norths Bears (87)
Kelly Wilson – 15 points, four rebounds, 18 assists
Wilson’s performance went under the radar a bit, setting up plenty of good looks for her teammates and orchestrating the team’s offence in superb fashion.
She was supreme in running pick and rolls and using screens to create space for her and her teammates, which was too much for the Norths defence to handle. The Bears could not adjust mid-play, and Wilson was extremely selfless with ball in hand.
The veteran guard also chimed in on the scoring front, pouring in 15 points on 4/8 shooting, although she could have taken plenty more shots, instead opting to dish out to teammates in a better position.
Wilson’s crafty ball-handling also had the defence on the back foot, and she was able to force some ill-discipline from the Bears. Norths sent the 39-year-old to the free throw for six made shots, unable to legally prevent her from creating holes in its structure.
McKay’s massive numbers were seriously boosted by her ability to combine with Wilson, as the creative guard found her frontcourt teammate rolling to the paint and gave her plenty of good looks.
Wilson’s experience came to the fore in the NBL1 National Final, and in the 22nd year of her playing career, showed she is just as damaging when it comes to playmaking. Her decision-making is still first-class and paired with some well-weighted passing, was just about unstoppable.