Lightning strike down Hawks and swoop on third SBL Championship
The Lakeside Lightning has claimed their third SBL Championship in dramatic fashions at the 21st SBL Grand Final on Saturday night. The Lightning struck down the Hawks in the SBL's farewell to Perry Lakes Stadium game, coming out 85-77 winners.
The Lightning were dominant in the first quarter, led by US import Luke Payne (9 points) and Captain Jarrad Prue (8 points) the Lightning went into the first break with a 30-18 lead. The Hawks turned the ball over 9 times in the first period which resulted in an extra 7 shot attempts for the Lightning.
The Lightning went on a 20-4 run to start the second quarter which saw the Lakeside crowd raise the roof as their team extended its lead to a game high 28 points with 6:09 before half time. The Hawks managed to string a few defensive stops that they capitalised on just before half time to go into the major break down by 18, 60-42.
2007 Head Coach of the Year, Andy Stewart had his team in prime position at the half while first year Head Coach Dion Dagostino rallied his charges for the second half.
The third quarter was a low scoring period that the Hawks won 15-11; both teams’ scores combined not equalling the offensive output for the Lightning in period one or two.
Hawks import Daniel Hawkins worked hard along with former Wildcat Tom Garlepp, the two combining for 25 points up to three quarter time helping the Hawks slowly chip away at the lead. By the last change it was back to 14 points and the 1,000 plus crowd that had jammed into the stadium were in full voice.
The fourth quarter saw the Hawks continue to break into the Lightning lead. At 5:27 minutes Tom Garlepp hit a three off a Ben Purser assist, reducing the deficit to single figures for the first time since the two minutes mark of the first quarter.
The Hawks got as close as four points when Tom Garlepp went 1/2 from the free throw line with 1:51 remaining. An instant reply from Luke Payne at the other end gave the Lightning a six point buffer and the Hawks had to call a time out to set up the next play.
The Hawks had to foul and put the Lightning to the free throw line to have any chance to win. The Lightning’s Ryan Sofoulis connected on 2/2 free throws to seal the game at 85-77 with 22 seconds remaining. In doing so Sofoulis became the last player to ever score a point in an SBL game at Perry Lakes Stadium.
US Import Luke Payne was named the Grand Final MVP for his effort of 29 points (41 shooting) and 6 rebounds. He was ably backed up young gun Ryan Sofoulis with 15 points and Captain Jarrad Prue who finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The Hawks finished strong however could not get over the line, Tom Garlepp leading the way with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists. Martin Vahala was the next best with 16, while US import Daniel Hawkins was reliable with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
The young Hawks fought hard and are sure to be one of the teams to beat in the future; ultimately Andy Stewart and his charges were just too strong for the Lightning.
Lakeside Lightning 85 (L Payne 29; R Sofoulis 15; J Prue 14) def.
Perry Lakes Hawks 77 (T Garlepp 17; M Vahala 16; Daniel Hawkins 15).
@ Perry Lakes Stadium. Crowd approx 1,100.
Photos by Marg Prior