Law Partners' Saints slay the competition to snare the championship.
It may have been a frosty winter’s weekend across the state, but that did little to halt the red hot Law Partners sponsored St George Saints from storming to Waratah League Men’s Division 1 glory.
Having blitzed the regular season with an astonishing 15-1 record to claim the north conference title, the Saints carried the weight of expectation on their shoulders coming into the all-important finals.
However, in the opening minutes of their semi final against Tamworth it was evident that the pressure of finals basketball certainly wasn’t about to get to them as they dismantled their north east NSW counterparts 96-78 to book their place in the decider against Sutherland in what would be a grand final with a local derby flavour.
In the final the rivalry between these two proud clubs was certainly on display as each side traded baskets through the first two quarters, with the Saints carrying a narrow 41-36 advantage at the main break.
But that was as close as Sutherland got as the Saints, spurred on by their sensational American import, Cameron Coleman, produced a second half masterclass to run out winners 104-79, and capture the championship in front of a loud and appreciative crowd at Hills Basketball Stadium, Castle Hill.
California native, Coleman, deservedly took out the finals MVP award for his playoff heroics – racking up back-to-back 32-point games including an incredible 26-point explosion in the third quarter of the semi finals against Tamworth.
Coleman’s stellar efforts this season certainly didn’t go unnoticed. The 26-year-old has this week boarded a flight to Europe after agreeing terms with a club in Germany where he’ll play professional basketball in one of the nation’s lower leagues.
Coleman was just one of many success stories to come out of the Saints’ spectacular 2018 season. Player-coach, Demarcus Berry, was quick to praise the commitment and efforts of his entire squad, which included the likes of point guard Pranaya Sakya (12 points in the GF), sharpshooter and captain Sean Albert (hit five threes in the GF), explosive sixth man John ‘The Right Hand Bandit’ Taglini (scored 19 points in eight minutes in the GF) and power forward extraordinaire Aaron Nancarrow. The latter of which will link with American NCAA Division two college Southeastern Oklahoma University, after securing a full athletic scholarship.
Berry also heaped praise on sponsors Law Partners for all their support throughout the season.
“I want to give a special shout out to our sponsors, Law Partners. Without them, the season wouldn’t have been possible,” Berry said.
Law Partners paralegal and shooting guard, David Ghebranious, could never have imagined his first season with the club to be such a memorable one both on and off the court.
Reflecting on the season after the win, Ghebranious, whose campaign was cruelly cut short by a serious finger injury, praised his coach and teammates for aiding his own development – vowing to come back bigger and better in 2019.
“Joining this team in January as a development player has been an absolutely amazing experience, and my first taste of organised basketball,” Ghebranious revealed.
“I’m blessed to have shared the court with each of my teammates, and I’m so proud of what we have accomplished as a family.
“Unfortunately my season was cut short when I broke my finger and needed to have surgery, but I was blessed to have been able to play in six of our matches and scored a total of 26 points across the minutes I had in these games. I’m very grateful to Coach Demarcus and to all of my teammates and I’m looking forward to coming back as a completely different player after this off-season.”