By Daniel Wood
After a historically dominant
season, the Southern Tigers have fought hard to claim their second Premiership
in three years after out-muscling the Forestville Eagles by 6 points at
Titanium Security Arena.
The Tigers were out for
redemption after their close loss in last year’s grand final to the Bearcats,
and the tone was set early with a tight defensive battle ensuing from tip off.
It took nearly three whole
minutes for either team to put points on the board with the pressure high and
the nerves following suit.
Daniel Johnson (21 points, 7
rebounds) was on fire early for the Eagles, lighting up the paint and bringing
down the boards, but the Tigers picked up their usual offensive game and ran
away to a somewhat comfortable 22-15 lead at quarter time.
MVP Calvin Turnage (23
points, 12 rebounds) was sitting pretty with 7 rebounds at quarter time.
At this point the Tigers
could have blown the game out, but the Eagles took charge and fired back with
high-pressure defence and well-run offence.
Despite Brendan Teys’ (3-19
FG) struggles on offence, the Eagles found scoring options in Daniel Johnson
and Captain Adam Doyle (16 points).
were once again slow out of the blocks offensively in the second quarter, with
a relatively low scoring game transpiring.
It became a
seesaw battle for most of the second quarter with each team trading blows,
leaving it neck a neck with 2 points between them at the half time break.
quarter brought the game to a new level, with both teams coming out firing.
Eagle Jalen Richard, who was quiet on the night, opened the scoring for the half with a strong bucket, soon to be replied by yet another Brandon Brine 3-pointer for the Tigers.
pressed on with their hustle and intensity, continuing to hold the Tigers back
from any offensive breakout that we’ve seen them do all year.
Forestville was strong in the
paint all night, with Daniel Johnson fighting his way to buckets over the big
The highlight of the night
came late in the third as Greg Mays (15 rebounds) slammed down an emphatic
alley-oop that had the crowd pumping.
Another tight quarter came to a close with the Tigers holding on by 4 points.
The Eagles knew this was
their time to step it up and so they did, hitting the lead at the 5-minute mark
of the last quarter after a Teys’ jump shot.
The Tigers had all the
answers though, with Brine hitting clutch 3-pointers to bury the Eagles after a
The Eagles wasted late opportunities
to catch up, with missed three point attempts and turnovers.
The Tigers’ victory is well
deserved after an impressive regular season, showing they truly were the most
dominant team in the competition this year.
As for the Eagles, they can hold their heads high having even made it to the night, after moments during the year where their season looked lost - they clawed their way into the top 5 and took some monumental scalps as the underdogs.