The Melbourne Tigers Youth Women’s and Men’s sides have started their title defences with wins but for the Women it may have come at a cost.
The Youth Women came into their Grand Final rematch against Bulleen Boomers with pretty much all their players from last season. The Tigers and Boomers got off to scratchy starts but the Tigers were still able to get points on the board as they got out to a 10-0 in 4 minutes of play. The Boomers then steadied and scored 8 of the next 10 points before the Tigers got back on the board after a scoreless 4 minutes. The Tigers held control for the remainder of the quarter to lead 14-8. The Tigers fought hard in the 2nd quarter against the Boomers to try and extend the lead. The Tigers would have small runs of 4 or 5 straight points to help extend the lead. The Tigers would go into halftime leading 31-23. The second half began with the Tigers scorching the Boomers running off 17 straight points over the opening 5minutes before the Boomers scored. By the time the ¾ time buzzer went the Tigers were up 59-33. The final quarter was just the icing on the cake as the Tigers ran rampant on the Boomers. Unfortunately for the Tigers with 17 seconds to go in the game and the Tigers leading 86-39, Charlotte Letts went down with a serious knee injury and had to be helped off the court. Charlotte will be going in to have scans to see on the severity of the injury. Our thoughts are with Charlotte for a speedy recovery.
The Tigers had 4 players in double figures led by Briana Babic with 24 points. Jess Harley was a monster in the middle grabbing 11 boards and 3 blocks. The Tigers will kick off their home opener next weekend against the Kilsyth Cobras at Oakleigh at 5:30pm.
The Men were in for a tough battle against playoff foes from last season the Eltham Wildcats. After a tense few minutes, the scores were tied at 4 all before Eltham were able to get a small break on the Tigers going up 9-4. The Tigers though hit back in just over a minute to retake the lead 10-9. From there it was a see-saw affair that saw the Tigers take a 2 point lead off a Billy Hughes steal and layup with 6 seconds to go and send the Tigers to the break, up 20-18. The 2nd quarter started slowly taking almost 2 minutes for the 1st basket to be scored, courtesy of Jack Bines. After Eltham scored on their next trip down the court the Tigers went on a 9-0 run to extend their lead to 11 points before Eltham broke the run. The Tigers though would continue to push hard. The Tigers in the last 1:37 were able to go on another run this time 7-0 to open up a commanding 44-27 halftime lead. Early in the 3rd quarter the Tigers were able to open up a 20 point lead before the Wildcats had whittled it down to 10 with 4 minutes to go in the quarter. The Tigers though went on another 9-0 run over the next 3 minutes to extend the lead back to 19 before going into the last break leading by 18, 63-45. The opening of the last quarter saw the Tigers take a 20 point lead again, this time off a Daniel Sutcliffe basket. After Eltham scored next time down the court the Tigers turned the ball over 3 times all leading to baskets and were on a 9-0 run. The Tigers got a 3 back thanks to Jakob Cornellisen but that did little to stop the bleeding as Eltham went on another 10-2 run and cut the lead down to 6. Head coach Nick Abdicevic called a time-out with 2:48 left in the game. Whatever he said to his players during the timeout worked as the Tigers were able to steady and close out with a 9-3 run to win 79-67. The Tigers were led by Daniel Sutcliffe who had 13 points off the bench, with Jakob Cornellisen and Billy Hughes adding 10 each. Jack Bines only had the 5 points but added 9 rebounds and 5 assists.
The Men’s side will also kick off their home opener at Oakleigh next Saturday at 7:30pm against Kilsyth Cobras.