In a cliffhanger Senior A Grand Final St Peter’s College needed overtime to see off the challenge of Avondale College before eventually winning 104-99.
In a game of see-sawing fortunes Avondale boasted a 78-67 lead early in the fourth quarter, were still 92-86 ahead with 90 seconds to play and looked destined for an upset win.
However, with their unbeaten record on the line Scott Errey, headed for a game high 43 points, halved the deficit before a Milan Tolich free-throw and an Andrei Manio two tied proceedings.
Blaze Murphy restored the Avondale advantage with 21 seconds remaining only for Dorian Sula to tie proceedings once more and send the game into an additional five minutes.
Errey and Bailey Smith put the Saints 5 points up in the extra spell before the excellent Jimitose Iosia-Sipeli (41 points) trimmed the deficit once more. However another Errey basket and a Manio free-throw sealed the deal for St Peter’s – a 16th straight win.
Earlier it was Avondale that made most the early running as they claimed an 18-16 first quarter lead and stretched the advantage to a 42-36 half time advantage with Iosia-Sipeli and Kabir Bhargava (28) causing most the headaches for the St Peter’s defence.
Manio gave the St Peter’s offence some impetus at the beginning of the third only for Avondale to unleash five threes, in a similar number of minutes, four of them from the hot hands of Bhargava.
St Peter’s preferred to accumulate points in the more orthodox fashion – Smith, Errey and Gus Dallow but Avondale were still in the box seat at three-quarter time ahead 73-68.
The sharp shooting Bhargava made his seventh three of the game to proceed the St Peter’s fight back and a fitting climax to an exciting final.
Both teams will now set their sights on claiming a spot at the Secondary Schools National Champs. Their qualifying campaigns begins on Wednesday.
St Peter’s 104 – Scott Errey 43, Andrei Manio 26, Bailey Smith 12, Dorian Sula 7, Gus Dallow 6, Milan Tolich 6
Avondale 99 – Jimitose Iosia-Sipeli 41, Kabir Bhargava 28, Connor Gleeson 10, Kaliomiha Talamahina 7