Sturt Sabres 86 | Central Districts Lions 72
Sturt has strung together back-to-back wins for the first time this season, edging out a gallant Central Districts side, 86-72, in a physical contest at Pasadena.
The game was very tightly fought, especially in the first half where little separated the two sides.
Both sides traded baskets in a frenetic flurry, with offence seemingly the order of the night. Nelson Larkins was impressive on the break, using the lanes effectively to help the Lions transition.
Meanwhile, Max Calligeros was working hard in the key, providing a target and six points for the quarter for Sturt. It was evident how much a win meant to each team, with a minor scrimmage breaking out- with neither side willing to take a backwards step.
Some late baskets on the back of fighting for loose balls, gave the Sabres a narrow six point advantage at the first change.
As the second quarter progressed, it was the sharp shooting from a few key players that really stood out. Centrals’ Captain Jordan Centenera was making a big impact from limited minutes with nine points at 100% accuracy, whilst Hamish Burns knocked down some crucial jumpers (3/3) for Sturt.
The Sabres looked like breaking the game open, but Centrals clawed the margin back- with just a single basket between the teams at halftime, 45-43.
The tight tussle continued in the third, Larkins was again prominent was two three-pointers to give the Lions a slight edge.
However, Sturt responded as Centrals pushed hard. Ben Carter was instrumental with a number of important second-chance points and a strong presence in the key.
David Humphries was a constant all night, doing his best keep the Lions in touch with a gusty double-double, 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Just five points separated the sides, setting an intriguing last term.
Whilst Centrals never gave up, even in the final few minutes, Sturt seized the momentum early in the last and did not look back.
Jacob Rigoni had a special second half, collecting a game high 20 points and seven boards, proving to be a reliable fixture when the going gets tough. When he knocked down a long three and celebrated in style, the Sabres were home.
Jan Warbout also had a commendable game for Sturt, bringing his team mates into play with seven assists and six rebounds to go with a handy 12 points.
Larkins was ever-reliable with 16 points for the Lions, but costly errors and undisciplined play meant that a last ditch challenge was halted.
Sturt now sit comfortably at 4-2, whilst Central Districts will need to quickly improve their 1-5 ledger to be a finals contender this season.