USQ down Warwick in Big Q grand final
BASKETBALL: The USQ Dragons have capped off a flawless Big Q season, defeating the Warwick Wildcats 77-50 overnight at WIRAC.
The Wildcats found themselves behind the eight-ball early on, and were never able to cut into the sizeable margin.
USQ built their lead through transition offence, continually finding open floor after crashing the boards.
Starting USQ centre Paul Aleer said the up-tempo game put his side in their element.
"We're a better team when we're on the fast break, so we tried to push the ball as much as possible,” he said.
"We've got guys that are athletic and quick, and if we can get that going from the start, it makes it a hell of a lot easier for our team.”
The Dragons raced out to an early advantage, leading 25-7 after one quarter.
Early in the second, the competition's leading scorer Josh Cremasco suffered a hamstring injury after a rough landing on a lay-up attempt.
In the blink of an eye the margin stretched beyond 20, as Dom Cremasco picked up five points late in the term to try and keep his side in the game.
The second half was much tighter, with Kade Hobman attacking the basket and Dom Cremasco continuing to keep the score ticking over, but ultimately it was the Dragons night, prevailing by 27.
Wildcats coach Jeff Clark said the side struggled to find their range early in the contest.
"The first quarter went how I planned, the only problem is we weren't hitting any shots,” Clark said.
"We had our chances to be right up there with them. We created open shots, but we just weren't putting them in.
"Once they got over 10 points and we lost Josh, it affected our scoring.
"There were a few times where we got caught with too many bigs on the court or too many guards.
Despite the defeat, Clark is hopeful to keep the core of the side intact as they push on to next year's competition.
"These are all the boys we've brought up through U18s and U19s who have won a few regional leagues together.
"The problem is a few of the boys have moved to Brisbane. They love coming back to Warwick to play, but not being able to train together has hurt the chemistry.
"The core is good, we just need to get the chemistry right.”
Chris Kita led all scorers with 17 points, while Aleer had 12, and was a constant menance on the offensive glass.
Dom Cremasco and Kade Hobman both had 13 points for the Wildcats.
Aleer was named as the league's MVP, and he took the chance to recognise the league.
"This league is good for the regions like Toowoomba, Warwick and Stanthorpe,” he said.
"I'm fortunate that I did get the MVP, and my team put me in that position. I love playing with them, and they're a great bunch of guys. I'm definitely coming back next season.”