It will be a grand final rematch in both Ballarat’s men’s and women’s A grade basketball championship competition when the Celtic Tigers vie for the ultimate prize at the Minerdome on Monday.
The Tigers finished the men’s regular season at the top of the ladder and secured a grand final berth with a convincing 15-point victory to knock out the second-placed Saints.
But it took a full-team effort and an even spread of point scorers, something the Tigers hope to build on when they come up against finals surprise packet Wildcats Blue.
The fourth-placed Wildcats Blue sneaked into finals in the last round of the season after defeating the Exies Acmy.
The victory took Wildcats Gold out of contention, after it fell short to the Saints by six points to finish four points behind Blue.
Despite the last-ditch effort to clinch a finals spot, Wildcats have produced a strong campaign, defeating Phoenix by five points and Saints by 15 to lock in another grand final.
The grand final match up has the potential to be a high scoring affair with both teams capable of racking up big numbers.
It will come down to which team’s big defensive pillars can best shut down the opposition’s attack.
In the summer series, the Tigers won the grand final by 13 points over the Wildcats.
Meanwhile in the women’s competition, the first-placed Tigers have already squared off with grand final opponents the Exies in the opening week of finals, winning 56-45.
The top two teams have produced strong seasons with the Tigers losing just one game, after going down to the Saints in round nine.
Both boast star studded line ups and a good spread of scoring options.
The top four scorers in the league are evenly spread between the two sides.
The Tigers have the top scorer Sophie Alexander, who averages 14.5 goals per game, along with Claire Constable, averaging 13.5 goals per game, who also plays for Ballarat Rush in the South East Australian Basketball League.
While the Exies have Jane Douglass, averaging 14 goals per game, and Faith McKenzie, averaging 11.5 goals per game.
Similar to the men’s grand final, a strong defensive effort will be key to winning the match.
Entry to the grand finals is free with Ballarat Basketball expecting a packed house.