As we get set for Premier League 1 Preliminary Finals on Wednesday – 6 September – here are match reviews of two of our Week 1 Finals games, prepared by University of Canberra Sports Media students, to get you in the mood.

Prem 1 Women – Dodgers v Norths

By Brodie Campbell

BATTLE OF THE HEAVYWEIGHTS: Determined Dodgers Defence Not Enough for Tenacious Norths

Norths Basketball has emerged victorious in their Senior Premier League Qualifying Final against the No. 1 ranked Weston Creek Dodgers, securing their spot in the Grand Final with a thrilling 74-71 victory on Wednesday night.

After trailing 16-14 in the 1st quarter off the back of an incredible defensive display by Weston Creek, Norths quickly found their groove on the offensive end, knocking down eight 3-pointers and dominating Weston Creek in the paint through their scoring and rebounding. Despite trailing 32-40 at halftime, the Dodgers kept themselves in the contest right to the very end, with star Jasmyn Boutzos leading the way with a game high of 20 points. Ultimately, Weston Creek’s downfall was their turnovers in important moments.

After a back-and-forth 4th quarter, which lead to the Dodgers going up 67-63 with 3 1/2 minutes remaining, two bad possessions lead to Norths’ Bianca Dufelmeier scoring back-to-back layups to tie the game at 67-all, before hitting two clutch free throws to put Norths up by two. With 18.2 seconds remaining, Weston Creek had one last chance to put themselves in front. However, it was yet another missed opportunity that cost them their chances at victory, being forced to foul Norths on the defensive end, with Grace Kent’s two free throws putting the result beyond doubt.

With both teams coming into the match sitting 1st and 2nd on the ladder with the same record, it was a game worthy of the hype it generated. Bianca Dufelmeier of Norths Basketball expressed her relief post-game of walking away with a win, saying “I honestly thought we would lose tonight. Because three of our players left last week to go to college, and they were our main scorers, so I definitely anticipated for them [Dodgers] to get up a lot more.”

Despite the defeat, Weston Creek’s Jasmyn Boutzos was still full of optimism that their side could book a spot in the grand final, stating that after two weeks off the court, the loss was a wakeup call. “This is for a lot of us our weekly game, this is where we get our gameplay, where we get to play as a team. So not having that coming up into this game hurt us a little, we were a bit out of line, we forgot a few of our key plays or things in the game and it showed tonight.”

Norths now get the week off as Weston Creek have one more shot at redemption in a preliminary final blockbuster against the Ginninderra Rats on Wednesday 6 September, to see who will challenge Norths in the grand final.

Prem 1 Men – Vikings v Norths

By Reuben Mudge

A Tuggeranong Vikings loss, or a blue supermoon…. both were rare before tonight!

        Glenn Morison at the line for a free-throw. (Photo by Reuben Mudge)

Norths Basketball Club have produced a major upset, seeing themselves through to the grand final in two weeks.

After losing to the Tuggeranong Vikings in the final round of the regular season, Norths delivered the Vikings only their second loss of the season, 88-114.

A perfect 3 from 3 start on the floor, saw Norths gain an early lead. Norths shooting continued on an upward trajectory, with Mitchell Robinson starring with 31 points, 18 of which came from beyond the 3-point line.

For Tuggeranong, their defence never looked settled, effecting their two-way-play, leaving them over reliant on offence. Norths negated any offensive threats too, with 44 defensive rebounds, and 7 blocked shots, never allowing for any fluency through Tuggeranong’s game.

After scoring 42 points in their previous match-up, Vikings centre Glenn Morison was guarded heavily throughout the game, a plan Norths had highlighted to being key in their upset victory. “We knew he was going to score a lot of points regardless… trying to get the ball out of his hands when we can,” Zac MacDermott mentioned of Norths game plan leading in.

Confusion set in over the arena to start the second quarter, with questions around Jack Bartholomeusz availability for the finals being raised. Speaking on the matter, James Toohey of the Vikings stated, “it’s obviously not typical to stop for about 10-15 minutes in the middle of the second quarter”, however denied any implications the break may have had on their 26-point loss.

The frustration amongst the Vikings became obvious as the game continued, with Toohey highlighting this as being pivotal to the outcome, “we let the refs get to us, we were complaining a lot.”

On the other side of the ball, Zac MacDermott was constantly seen hyping up his teammates, something he views as being integral to Norths performance, “the best feeling is hitting a shot on your side, and you turn around and you’ve got all the boys there…. they’re all up and about…. bringing that energy is really good.”

Norths be sweating on any injury concerns going in to the grand final, raised by MacDermott’s late exit from the game with a rolled ankle, “for the next week I’ll probably just be resting.”

Tuggeranong will now have to regroup before their preliminary final against the Belconnen Ramblers on Wednesday 6 September, if they are to be any chance of meeting Norths again in the final on Saturday the 16th of September.