It was a heartbreaking end to the season for Keilor Thunder in the Big V basketball women’s division 1.
The Thunder was just one hoop from an unlikely title on Saturday night before they were blown out by the Chelsea Gulls on Sunday.
Leading 1-0 in a best-of-three grand final series, the underdog Keilor went into the weekend full of optimism, knowing a single win from the remaining two games would crown them champions.
When the series shifted to Patterson River Stadium, game two was the Thunder’s best chance of closing out the series.
They started promisingly, leading by three points after the first period, trailed at the half and pegged it back to a manageable margin by three-quarter time.
When guard Aneta Bandilovski connected on a field goal with 9.36 to go in the fourth quarter, Keilor was in front on the scoreboard, but it would be for the last time.
The Thunder did not score for the next three minutes and the Gulls opened up a handy seven-point advantage.
Keilor refused to wave the white flag, getting to within one point with 1.13 left on the clock, but it did not score thereafter and the Gulls went on to win 58-55 and level the series.
Bandilovski (15 points), Amy Smith (15) and Genna Anderson (12) were the leading scorers for the Thunder in game two.
It all came down to game three on Sunday back at the Patterson River Stadium, but Keilor hardly landed a blow in a 75-63 loss.
The Thunder was down by 14 points at quarter-time and the margin had inflated to 20 by the end of the third period. Nothing the Thunder could do in the fourth quarter could stop Chelsea from snatching the title.
The Tom Bandilovski-coached Thunder should be proud of their efforts to make it so far with a young team, but Chelsea proved to be superior of the two teams.
The standout for Keilor in game three was Anderson with a double-double 21 points and 10 rebounds.
It was sweet payback for the Chelsea organisation, which a week earlier watched its men’s division 1 team blow a one-game lead to Keilor Thunder in a best-of-three grand final series.