Byron Beez celebrate after clinching the Sunshine Conference championship with a 70-68 win over the Grafton Vikings in the final at the Grafton Sports Centre on Saturday night.
Byron Beez celebrate after clinching the Sunshine Conference championship with a 70-68 win over the Grafton Vikings in the final at the Grafton Sports Centre on Saturday night. Matthew Elkerton

Sweet victory for the Beez

THE Byron Bay Beez survived a late scare for a thrilling 70-68 win over the Grafton Vikings in the Frigid Air Sunshine Conference basketball final.

Trailing by four points with less than a minute on the clock, Vikings shooter Sam Wicks pulled up at the three-point line and let fly.

It dropped but the Beez hung on.

Earlier, an impassioned half-time plea from Byron Bay coach Alvin Caoyonan had the desired effect as his players began to turn around a six-point deficit, with Spanish recruit Michael Rossignuolo leading the way.

The veteran Beez line-up worked itself back into contention with a strong 17-point third quarter.

They took a one-point advantage into the final period, then finished on top after the lead changed four more times.

"That was unreal," Caoyonan said. "I looked up during that last quarter and we were down by six, but we just clawed our way back.

"We got a lot of shots, we got a lot of looks in the early stages but they just weren't dropping. The message to our guys was just keep shooting. Don't stop shooting.

"Holy cow, the boys just came back there with a fire burning in their belly.

"My heart rate still hasn't gone down. I might need a beverage or two to settle."

In a tug-o-war style final, the Vikings blasted out of the blocks early but despite lacklustre first quarter shooting from the Beez the home side could manage only a four-point lead at the first break.

Grafton continued to dominate on the defensive end in the second, pressuring the Beez shooters and turning over possession for their fast break options.

 

Rossignuolo was named player of the final and Grafton centre Hamish Denshire the conference MVP for his consistent performances over the 10 weeks.



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