Sharks nail one-point victory, Gulls soar into grand final

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Gulls soar: Chelsea Gulls claim semi-final series victory 2-1 over the Western Port Steelers. Picture: Tracey Weston

THE Chelsea Gulls division one men’s side and the Southern Peninsula Sharks state championship women’s side have made their way through to the Big V grand finals which kick off on Saturday 25 August.

The Chelsea Gulls scored a determined 2-1 semi-final victory over the Western Port Steelers after suffering their first loss in their last 16 games to the Steelers in the second match of the best-of-three series.

The Gulls claimed the opening semi-final game by 10 points (94-104), before the Steelers pulled back the second match to win by 20 points (83-103) away from home. The Gulls were quick to make amends the following day and scored the final win by 21-points (92-71).

Chelsea Gulls head coach Peter Caspersz said the side’s second game was a “shemozzle” but was glad to see them turn it all around on the Sunday.

“We played really badly, and the Steelers played a great game,” Caspersz said, of the Saturday match-up.

“We struggled to get the energy that we’ve had throughout the season, but thankfully we turned it around the next day and had that energy back.

“They (Chelsea) played with a lot of determination and a will to win, and played with a lot of vigour and aggression which was great see again.”

Caspersz believes the loss in the second game was something that the Gulls probably needed.

“We were lazy, played a little bit selfish, and were probably thinking that we were unbeatable, so it was probably the wakeup call that we needed,” he said.

“I thought Western Port was sensational, and they truly deserved their spot being in the finals.”

The Gulls will now face the Shepparton Gators on Saturday 25 August away from home in a best-of-three grand-final series.

The sides have faced each other twice throughout the normal fixture with the Gators winning by six points (69-75) in round seven and the Gulls claiming the victory by eight points (83-91) in round 12.

In the state championship women’s division, the Southern Peninsula Sharks scored a narrow one-point victory over the Knox Raiders in the preliminary final to make their way through to the grand-final series.

The Sharks, who finished in fifth position at the end of the normal fixture, have gone on a winning streak to claim their last three elimination games.

The Sharks were trailing Knox by as much as 14 points at one point in the preliminary final before making a late surge in the dying minutes of the game. Paige Price nailed a critical three-point shot in the final 15 seconds of the game to take the lead, with a strong Sharks defence holding Knox at bay in the dying seconds of the game to claim the win, 59-60.

Southern Peninsula Sharks basketball operations manager Lucas Allen said the Sharks got the lead when it mattered, in what was a “grind of a game”.

“It was a bit of a dog fight and was a tough game the whole way through,” Allen said.

“The crowd’s excitement after the game was easily matched by the girls, and now they’ve made it through to the grand final series.

“The girls have been riding the momentum for sure and have been on a great run. They have won all their elimination games on the road against some pretty formidable teams.

“Hume, they had never beaten. The Falcons have three or four girls with national experience in their side and that’s the same with Knox.

“Having beaten the calibre of teams they’ve come up against certainly gives them a bit of confidence [heading into the grand final], but they’ll come out and let their game play out on the night.”

The Sharks will face the Sunbury Jets in a best-of-three grand-final series which kicks off at the Sharks’ home court, before moving to the Jets’ home ground for the final two games if required.

First published in the Frankston Times – 27 August 2018

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