Declan Starasts for Warwick Wildcats was awarded Player of the Game in the Regional Basketball League grand final against Tenterfield Bullets at Downlands Indoor Sports Complex on Saturday.
Declan Starasts for Warwick Wildcats was awarded Player of the Game in the Regional Basketball League grand final against Tenterfield Bullets at Downlands Indoor Sports Complex on Saturday. Kevin Farmer / The Chronicle

Wildcats win grand final by one

THE crowd went wild as the final hooter sounded. The win by a single point belonged to the Warwick Wildcats.

Rumours had been flying all week that star import James Legan had been offered a contract to play in Singapore and had left the country on Friday afternoon.

The Wildcats knew differently but did nothing to quash these rumours until Saturday.

The Tenterfield Bullets could not be sure if he would make the game or not. Of course he did.

Rising star Dom 'DJ' Cremasco opened the scoring with a three point basket that was quickly balance by a sweet three pointer off the hands of Nate Wilkins for the Bullets.

The opening minutes were a tussle for the lead as the game went point for point. Neither team could get an initial advantage.

James Legan was once again hot from outside the three point line and Damien Quinn was hot inside. Tenterfield tried to get their measure but combining with the power and skill of Declan Starasts, Quinn and Legan simply took it to them.

A scare slowed the game down when Dom Cremasco was on the receiving end of some tough defence from the Bullets and ended up face down on the floor injured.

Young and strong it wasn't long before Cremasco was back on his feet.

Shannon Slater was once again a giant under the basket, stopping Tenterfield. Andy Rendalls was also key in the defensive line up, his energy once again creating opportunities.

The Wildcats went into the half time break with a 15 point lead over Tenterfield.

The second half started with the same intensity, Tenterfield had regrouped and quickly put 10 points on the score board compared to a mere two by the Wildcats.

Legan ran the lane to the basket being closely followed by Ryan Jefferies. With the basket open Legan went up for the dunk but a big hit from behind by Jefferies saw him hitting his head on the backboard and ending up on the floor.

He must have been seeing double when he went to the line as he very unusually missed the free throws.

Tenterfield threw everything they had at Warwick, tying up the score with a few minutes left in the game. The crowd at both ends of the court were going crazy, trying to cheer their team across the line.

A foul on Snowy Quinn in the last 23 seconds put him at the free throw line, after missing the first, Warwick fans held their breath and willed the ball to go through. And it did.

The end of the game came down to absolutely fierce defence from the Wildcats ensuring that Tenterfield could not get a shot off as two points would give them the win.

Fans were on their feet as the Warwick Wildcats finished out the season winning the Agricultural Requirements Regional Basketball League Grand Final 89 to 88.

Declan Starasts was awarded the Player of the Game and James Legan MVP for the season.

The Greens, undefeated for the entire season, went into their final firm favourites and they did not disappoint. Duncan McKenzie led the Greens to a 41 to 36 win over Dalby. He was in great form on the court and was ultimately awarded the Player of the Game for the Reserve grade.

Rob Wendt, playing his last game of basketball, was ferocious on the court rebounding like a demon and putting 100% into the game.



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