20 year old point guard Adam Doyle has led the Forestville Eagles to a come-from-behind 86-78 overtime victory against the Sturt Sabres in the Central ABL men’s Grand Final at Adelaide Arena on Saturday.
Only the most psychic of spectators could have predicted the Eagles would successfully defend their 2011 title, after the Sabres had dominated for the best part of two and a half quarters.
When Tom Daly hit a long three late in the shot clock with 7.28 remaining, the Sabres looked home at 65-50.
The Eagles almost turned a large deficit into a victory two weeks prior, but they were performing at a much lower level this time and there was no Majok Deng to lift the side.
Up until Tom Daly’s trey, Doyle, who had done a great job defending the league MVP Tom Daly, was the Eagles’ only winner on an otherwise lacklustre night for the best offensive team in the competition.
Trailing 17-22 at quarter-time, the Sabres took total control, outscoring the Eagles 42-24 over the second and third periods.
They did a particularly good job in shutting down the 2011 Grand Final MVP Rashad Tucker, who had just a solitary point to his name.
Yet, in the final seven and a half minutes, Doyle and co. turned the game on its head, despite Tucker on the bench.
The Eagles moved into a 2-3 zone, before Ng suddenly started missing, Tom Daly got frustrated, and every inside shot was challenged and off the money.
At the other end, Doyle tore the Sabres to shreds, scoring nine points while creating many an opportunity for his teammates.
When Doyle made 2/2 free throws with 1.24 remaining, the Eagles were on an 18-2 run, and had taken the lead for the first time since the early moments of the second quarter.
That was the last time the Eagles touched the ball in regulation, with the Sabres forcing up four unsuccessful shots in their bid for a regulation win.
In added time, Mottram joined Doyle on centre stage with five points and a block in four minutes.
The Eagles scored seven straight points and despite threes from both Tom Daly and his brother Sam, the Eagles had all the answers; Brad Haydon putting the nail in the coffin with six consecutive made free throws in the final 34 seconds.
Doyle never left the court, finishing with 23 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
Mottram had 17 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 steals, while Fildes scored 7 of his twelve points in the opening stanza.
Ng hit five threes and ended the night with 21 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals.
Tom Daly added 16 points, while Klaosen and Bauer registered 12 apiece.
The Eagles scored 46 points in the paint, compared to just 20 from the Sabres.
They had +23 advantage at the foul-line, knocking down 25/32 free throws compared to just 2/7 from the Sabres.
The Sabres had 17 second chance points to four and dished off 26 assists to 17.
This truly was one that got away for the Sabres.
By James Woite