The star combo of Mitch Creek and Alexander Starling proved to be too much for the Norwood Flames to handle, going down by 21 points at Morphett Vale on Saturday night.

Southern Tigers 84 | Norwood Flames 63

Despite the outcome, it was relatively even from the start. Both sides were quick to etch their name on the scoreboard making for a fast paced first quarter. Starling quickly showed his intentions to impress on the night with an exciting slam-dunk out of nowhere, instantly firing up his side and the crowd. Notwithstanding, Norwood managed to keep their composure and sink the baskets they needed, closing out the first quarter as leaders by 5 points.

Unlike the start of the first period, it was fairly tight in the early stages of the second quarter. The defensive work from both Norwood and Southern kept each other from scoring due to several consistent blocks. Benjamin Howell managed to break the trend off a defensive rebound and score first for the period. Shortly thereafter, Starling retaliated with a solid basket of his own. Noticeably quiet in the first period, Mitch Creek exploded in the second with a trio of baskets in a row.  With 7 points being scored within mere seconds for the Tigers, Norwood Head Coach, David Cooper called for a timeout. Unfortunately for his side, not much changed afterwards as the Tigers continued their impressive ways in the remaining minutes of the period. Their teamwork and swift ball movement allowed them to level the score at halftime setting up for a major second half.

The momentum instantly carried over to the Tigers corner as Jordan Dodman was first to score a basket and another slam dunk by Starling who was on fire. Creek also played exceptionally well, shooting several three pointers to boost his sides’ already favourable lead. The Flames were trying their hardest to handle the immense pressure brought to them by the Tigers and their home court advantage but still found themselves trailing by 12 points at three quarter time.

In what was a fast paced and exciting first three quarters, the final period was anything but the same. Fouls were being handed out for physical contact and free-throws were being rewarded all too often making for a slow ending to what was a phenomenal match. Eventually the final whistle blew and the score was set in stone seeing the Tigers claim victory 84-63 in a red hot semi-final.

Mitch Creek and Alexander Starling played exceptional basketball on the night. Creek had 31 points to his name while Starling had 20 rebounds. It was clear these two stars were a major reason for their side being victorious.

Regardless of the loss, Jacob Holmes played well for his Flames scoring 20 points and 15 rebounds and the Flames face Sturt Sabres in the Preliminary Final next week. Southern Tigers will meet the winner in the Grand Final in two weeks’ time.

By Jake Stoubos

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