Port wins overtime thriller over Grafton Vikings
PORT Macquarie Dolphins prevailed in an overtime thriller to win the Under-14 Girls competition at the Northern Junior League Basketball Division One finals at Grafton Sports Centre at the weekend.
The Dolphins fought back from a 10-point deficit to down hosts Grafton Vikings in the final.
It was the Dolphins' second win of the weekend against the Vikings, having clawed their way back from an eight-point deficit to win the major semi-final on Saturday.
In both matches the Dolphins were boosted by Elise Smith and inspired by the skills Lani Grainger. The smallest player on court, Grainger provided plenty of assists and produced some big plays at crucial moments.
Dolphins coach Nathan Lyon was full of praise for his girls.
"We went the whole of last season without a win so to compete like we are is pretty special," he said.
After the early setback on Saturday, Vikings rebounded to down Coffs Harbour Suns 44-37 in the preliminary final. Coffs had earlier beaten Quirindi 44-18 in the minor semi-final.
After booking a place in the decider, Grafton coach Dan Boorman said the Vikings would have to play like they did against Coffs to be a chance in the final.
"I thought we were a bit nervous this morning," Boorman said after securing a grand final spot.
"But our effort was much better in our second game."
Vikings started strongly in the final, shooting out to an early lead but fell into foul trouble late in the game.
The scores were level at the end of regulation time but Dolphins snuck ahead in overtime.
The Vikings were the only Grafton side to make the finals across six divisions.
Kate Stacey, Alex Dahl, Grace Boorman and Jade McDonogh stood out for the Vikings. Kyra Predo, Anaya Reimer, Ella Sear, Sophia Aranz and Kate McLachlan also impressed.
The winners of each division progress to the State Shield to be played at Sutherland on August 16-17.
Under-14 Girls: Port Macquarie 47 Grafton 45