Tornadoes win grand final thriller

Headshot of Justin Fris
Justin FrisSouth Western Times
VideoBBA A-Women's grand final closing stages

Tornadoes Black capped off a dominating season in the Bunbury Basketball Association’s A-Women competition with a 71-67 grand final victory over the Dunsborough Oilers on Saturday night at the South West Sports Centre.

It was a match where all members of Julieann Bissaker’s side made plays at critical moments – a trend which the Black coach was pleased to see in the decider.

“The great thing about my team is that when you come to a game, you don’t know which player is going to be the one who will step up on the night,” Bissaker said.

“And I think that is what makes a great team. If you get four or five players scoring double figures, you are very hard to beat.”

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Black dominated early and created several quality offensive looks during the opening five minutes of the game.

Unfortunately for them at the time, these looks failed to translate into a healthy lead – going 4/10 from the field and 0/4 from beyond the three point line.

Starved of possession – and with poor passes not aiding their plight – the Oilers capitalised when they were presented with inside scoring opportunities, however their reliance on the three-point shot became apparent early on.

Black managed to secure multiple stops on the defensive end and ended the quarter with a 10-2 offensive run – putting them in the clear by double digits.

The experience of Jasmine Barrett (22 points) and Ebony Bilcich (16 points) was telling for Black, who found an extra gear of hustle while motoring around the youthful visitors.

Heading into the half and holding a commanding 20 point lead, Black could arguably have sealed the result.

However a lack of offensive execution (1/6 from the field, 0/5 from beyond the three point line) in the final five minutes of the half ensured the visitors remained in the rearview mirror.

With a vocal crowd cheering them on, the Oilers took inspiration from Dana East (25 points) and forced Black’s hand throughout the second half.

But whenever they appeared to have generated enough momentum, Black would counter with brilliance of its own.

Whether it was Javene Fitch forcing defenders to guard tightly under the post or Kelly Bastow draining a three pointer from down town, the Oilers defence was on high alert at all times.

Bastow might have scored only six points on the stat sheet – but these points were comprised of two clutch long-range shots in the second half which brought the spectators to their feet.

The Oilers tied the game with two minutes and change left in the game before Barrett countered with a three pointer to put Black in front.

Superior clock management from the home side in the closing seconds ensured they capped off a memorable year with the ultimate prize.

Barrett and Dana East tied for grand final MVP honours.

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