Borrego, Eagles join elite with three-peat
The Eagles women have won their third straight premiership, after defeating the Flames 70-58 in the 2011 Central ABL Grand Final on Saturday.
It is the first time in franchise history that either the Forestville women or men have won three straight titles.
The Eagles also became just the third club in 55 years of state basketball to win the women’s league on three straight occasions, joining North Adelaide and Noarlunga City in the elite group.
Forestville led from start to finish, completing a run of four straight finals victories and eight consecutive wins overall.
Prior to tipoff, Norwood had lost five less games than the Eagles, but this was never going to be a relevant factor, as Forestville had been defeated only once in 12 outings with Carla Borrego in the side.
Borrego was the difference between the two teams, scoring 27 points and grabbing 21 rebounds in a best of field display.
She was simply unstoppable offensively, highlighted by the early exit of opposing centre Rachel Herrick, who fouled out despite playing only 15 minutes.
Defensively, she did a great job of controlling the lane, which was evident by the lack of inside shots from the Flames.
Norwood attempted 25 of its 75 shots from beyond the arc, while many others hoisted were mid-long range twos.
In the thick of the action was Jess Fergus, who had 17 points as the game’s second leading scorer.
She had a big fourth quarter by scoring eight points.
Georgia Minear shot only 1/9 from the field, but her one basket came during a critical part of the third quarter when the game was in the balance, and she also did a terrific job defensively when guarding Halls Medallist Jess Foley.
Minear finished with 9 points, including 6/6 free throws, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
Also crucial to the Eagles’ victory was the return of star Point Guard Monica Bello to the line-up, after missing the previous two finals with a calf injury.
Although Bello came off the bench and did not produce huge numbers, it was obvious that her just being out there was inspirational to her teammates.
Bello saw about nine minutes of action in the first half, but it was during her second stint on the floor that her impact was evident.
When Bello re-entered with 7.03 left in the third, the Flames had lifted their intensity and were within three, with their full court defence troubling the Forestville guards.
However, Bello was able to get the ball comfortably over the halfway line, and later made a couple of slick passes for some big buckets.
Bello finished with 4 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
Former Eagle Kelsey Ireland was Norwood’s best player with 14 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.
Cara Boothey was also good with 12 points and 5 rebounds.
Foley finished the night with 11 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals, but only shot 3/15 from the field.
One of her misses was late in the third quarter with the Flames down eight, where she stole the ball but missed the layup.
After grabbing the offensive rebound, she bricked the putback, showing how finals pressure gets to even the best of the best.
Nadeen Payne also had an off shooting night with just 10 points on 3/14 FG.
As a team, Norwood shot just 27 per cent from the field and eight per cent from beyond the arc, while missing 15 of 31 free throws.
Forestville shot at 31 per cent from the field and 15 per cent from downtown, but did a much better job at the stripe by converting 27 of 36 foul shots.
After a minute where neither team could get on the board, Minear nailed the first points of the game with two free throws.
Borrego then almost single-handedly kept her team in front by scoring the Eagles’ next seven points.
When Borrego exited the game with 1.52 left in the first, she already had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
That was the same number of points the Flames scored as a team in the first, as Forestville built an eight point advantage.
Borrego returned 70 seconds into the second and within another 41 seconds, Herrick had picked up her third foul.
The Flames did a good job of getting to the foul-line themselves, but only made half of their 10 free throws.
Fergus and Borrego each scored seven second quarter points, while no other Eagle scored, but it was still enough for Forestville to be up 33-28 at half-time.
Norwood was on top for the first portion of the third, with Ireland and Boothey, in particular, playing well.
Borrego scored the Eagles’ first six points to take her to 24 for the game, while her team only had 39 as a whole.
The Flames were within three with 5.44 remaining in the third, before Forestville steadied with the next seven points, including a supreme assist from Bello to Jamie Lee-Bow.
The Eagles were up by a game-high 11, before Phoebe Custance hit a trey for a 42-50 scoreline at the end of three.
Borrego was kept quiet in the fourth, but her teammates stood up by making some big shots.
Forestville began the period on a 6-1 run, thanks to four points from Fergus and two from Jasmine Trimboli.
However, Ireland, Jordan Walker-Roberts and Foley got on the board as Norwood reeled off nine straight points to close within 52-56.
The Flames had plenty of opportunities to close within a single basket, including a wide open three from Walker-Roberts that would have put them within one, however the ball would not drop for them.
Then Bello, who had yet to score, stepped up to the foul-line with 1.36 to play for the biggest free throws of the season.
She made both, putting the Eagles up 60-54.
A failed three from Foley and two free throws from Fergus then killed off a spirited Norwood comeback.
Tucker, Deng lead rampaging Eagles to men's title
The Forestville men have ended their horror finals run against Norwood, upsetting the Minor Premiers 82-68 in the 2011 CABL Grand Final at Adelaide Arena on Saturday.
The Eagles trailed by eight points with 87 seconds left in the third quarter, before Rashad Tucker and Majok Deng inspired their team to 29 of the game’s last 36 points.
Tucker had 10 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in the final 11.27 of action, including a couple of spectacular plays late to kill off the game.
Deng entered the game with 1.34 remaining in the third, and immediately produced the sort of energy that had been lacking from his teammates for most of the night.
In fact, neither team played at its regular standard during the first half, perhaps as a result of the nerves associated with a Grand Final.
It was not until Norwood’s Robin Eley produced an eight point purple patch midway through the third that either side began to rise to the occasion.
However, the rookie Deng proved the x-factor, dominating the paint by changing shots and grabbing rebounds, as well as running the lanes magnificently at the opportune moment.
As a result, the Eagles lifted.
Their pressure (sometimes only perceived) got to the Flames, particularly big man Nick Hambour, who missed three layups, and Andrew Webber, who failed on a number of open jumpers.
Meanwhile, Norwood captain David Cooper, who has dominated Forestville in recent times, only scored one point in the fourth, and his team managed only two field goals collectively.
In contrast, Eagles captain Brad Sullivan finally got going offensively, scoring 8 of his 12 points in the final quarter, as Forestville produced a 33 point turnaround from its blowout loss of a fortnight ago.
Tucker finished with 30 points, his second highest for the club, along with 15 rebounds and 7 assists, and was crowned the MVP of the Grand Final.
Deng ended the night with 2 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block, but his most significant stat was his team’s 20 point advantage with him on the floor.
Eagles centre Neil Mottram was on the bench during his club’s frantic finish, however, he was large value for minutes and played a pivotal role in keeping his team within striking distance.
Mottram, who missed Forestville’s other three encounters with the Flames, scored 10 points and pulled down 6 boards, while having the better of his opposing centres.
Brad Haydon (10 points, 6 rebounds), Trent Fildes (9 points, 8 rebounds) and Adam Doyle (9 points, 4 rebounds) also played very well.
Todd Matthews was Norwood’s best with 17 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals, while Andrew Webber had 14 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
Eley was in good touch with 11 points on 4/6 shooting, including 3/5 threes, but as a whole the Eagles did a good job of closing him out.
Cooper was a workhorse as always with 10 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Only two weeks ago, the Flames torched the Forestville defence by shooting 61 per cent from the field.
However, they shot almost half of that this time, only making 32 per cent of their shots.
After scoring 10 less points in the paint and 13 fewer points from the foul-line in their semi final defeat, the Eagles torched Norwood inside with 40 interior points to 14, while going plus-two at the stripe.
The Flames looked the better team early with an 11-0 run helping them a to a 13-5 lead.
Forestville had been trying to pass up good shots for better ones, but this only led to turnovers and wasted possessions.
However, the Eagles changed tack by allowing Tucker to operate alone up top, and it was not long before they were back in the game.
At quarter-time, Forestville had closed to within 2, 14-16.
There were five ties and six lead changes in the second.
Tucker continued to get into the paint, but struggled to finish off his good work, while Mottram was providing his team with all-round value.
At the other end, Norwood was strong on the perimeter, with Eley and Krause both connecting from distance.
The Flames could never open up a lead larger than four, while the Eagles could not build a greater advantage than three.
With neither team playing at the sort of intensity required to cease such a match, it was no surprise that only one point separated the sides at intermission, with Norwood up 38-37.
The Flames led for the entirety of the third, assisted by some hot shooting from Eley and some strong play on both backboards from Cooper.
They led by as much as nine, before the Eagles closed out the quarter strongly.
Capped off by a three point play from Haydon after an airball from Sullivan, Forestville trailed 58-61 with 10 minutes left.
The Eagles scored the first five points of the fourth via Tucker and Doyle, taking the lead for the first time since midway through the second.
Andrew Webber immediately levelled the scores, converting a difficult layup under pressure from the ever-present Deng, before Sullivan gave Forestville the lead for good with 7.03 remaining.
The Eagles had their offence working to perfection, in complete contrast to two weeks prior.
The Flames had plenty of opportunities around the basket, from the perimeter and at the foul-line, but Forestville’s pressure and desperation was clearly affecting the Minor Premiers.
With 4.34 remaining, Deng pulled down a huge contested offensive rebound, before putting the ball home to give Forestville a 72-64 lead.
On three of the Eagles’ next four possessions, the shot came off the fingertips of Tucker, who delivered on all three occasions, as Forestville went up by 13.
When Keith Krause nailed a three with little over a minute remaining, the Flames had scored their first field goal for almost seven minutes.
During that time, the Eagles had scored 18 points to two to take the game away from Norwood and win their first premiership since 2006.
By James Woite