date_range Published 08 Aug 2018
The Andy Bay Falcons and City Rise Bombers played out their second thriller of the season on Saturday.
A mid-range turnaround jump shot from Hamish Robertson with three seconds left handed the Falcons a 71-69 win in the last round of Dunedin club basketball.
That followed a buzzer-beater win for the Falcons over the Bombers a month ago.
The reality is there was little on the line this time around — although there will be everything to play for this coming weekend.
Heading into the last round, the sides were guaranteed to play each other in the do-or-die 3v4 playoff match — the only thing to decide being who finished third and who finished fourth.
The Bombers were without shooting threats Olly Smith and Steve Robinson and the Falcons without in-form guard Emerson Watson.
However, they did not let that get in the way of producing another nail-biter.
Bombers duo Anton Hughes (19 points) and Matt Bardsley (12 points) proved difficult to stop getting to the hoop to give their side the early edge.
However, the Falcons settled after a nervy start and two Tyler Lapham (nine points) three-pointers helped them lead 22-20 at the first break.
Paden Kennedy (10 points) hit two of his own from deep in the second quarter for the Falcons, but Bardsley and Hughes continued to get to the hoop to take the Bombers back in front.
That left the Bombers ahead 42-40 at halftime, but a big defensive third quarter proved key for the Falcons. They held the Bombers to just six points, preventing their dangerous duo from getting to the hoop.
At the other end they piled on 19 points — 11 by Matt Stevenson (20 points) — as they began to create scoring opportunities out of their stops.
That left them ahead 59-48 at the end of the third quarter.
However, the Bombers came roaring back in typical fashion.
They stopped the bleeding in transition and found scoring from a range of players. That enabled them to tie the score at 69-69 going into the final 20 seconds.
However, Robertson (12 points) was able to create a one-on-one situation and after dribbling inside, spun back to hit the match-winner in the high post.
In the other games, the top two teams, Mid City Magic and St Kilda Saints, claimed comfortable wins. The Magic beat Varsity 94-66 to clinch top spot with a 13-2 record, having been upset by the Magic Lions on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Saints beat the Lions 95-66 to move to 9-6, having also beaten the Bombers 93-73 on Thursday.
They will meet each other next weekend in the 1v2 playoff.
The winner advances directly to the final, while the loser plays the winner of the Falcons v Bombers match for the second final spot.
Story: Otago Daily Times