WEDNESDAY GRAND FINAL PREVIEWS SUMMER 2020/21

WEDNESDAY GRAND FINAL PREVIEWS SUMMER 2020/21

The following previews were written by FDBA staff member and current university student (Bachelor of Sports Media) Dylan Smith.

His thoughts and opinions may not be shared by the FDBA Front Office.

Wednesday Mixed A

When: Wednesday, March 31st – 8:00pm

Where: Frankston Basketball Stadium – Court 1

Who: Space Jam vs Kobe Kwan Kanobi

Last time they met: Space Jam-69 defeat Kobe Kwan Kanobi-52

Can they do the impossible? Kobe Kwan Kanobi come up against Space Jam who have not lost a game all season and are scoring 74 points per game.

Kobe Kwan Kanobi have had a very tidy season too, winning eight games this season by an average margin of 12.1 points and finishing second on the ladder.

Jarryd Caithness has led the way for Kobe Kwan Kanobi, averaging 9.7 points per game for a talented team that has averaged 49 across the season.

It is hard to see a way for Kobe Kwan Kanobi to match it with the firepower that Space Jam possesses.

However, if there was ever a good time for two of their players to go off for 20 plus points then this is definitely the time.

As for Space Jam, Kieran McQueen is the man to stop.

McQueen’s 22.6 points per game this season is an unreal accomplishment and is a league best average.

While it may seem obvious for Kobe Kwan Kanobi to try and do everything they can to stop McQueen, Space Jam have other scorers they can count on.

In the qualifying final, Rachael Wansbrough put up 27 points and four threes in Space Jam’s 17-point win over Kobe Kwan Kanobi.

Everybody loves an underdog, can Kobe Kwan Kanobi pull off the upset of the decade on Wednesday night? Anything is possible.

Prediction: Space Jam by 9


Wednesday Mixed B

When: Wednesday, March 31st – 8:10pm

Where: Frankston Basketball Stadium – Court 2

Who: Grizzlies vs Backcourt Violaters

Last time they met: Grizzlies- 45 defeat Backcourt Violaters- 42

Both the Grizzlies and Backcourt Violaters have battled mightily this season, earning four wins and five wins respectively in a highly competitive A/B grade.

The Grizzlies can score with the best of them, coming third in the league for points per game at 47.2.

A lot of this scoring has come from Daniel Hardt who has been elite this season, averaging 12.8 points and 2.5 threes per game for the Grizzlies.

Backcourt Violaters have been a little inconsistent on the offensive end this season, finishing with the 5th most points in the league at 40.1 points per game.

However, their defence has held them in good stead, allowing 45.2 points per game which is three points better than the Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies and Backcourt Violaters have played each other three times this season, with the Grizzlies edging them out with two victories.

The Backcourt Violaters 11-point win against the Grizzlies in round 12 was impressive as it included a 25-point showing from Ross Savage.

Savage has been nothing short of amazing this season, putting up 15.1 points per game throughout the summer.

He has also performed well in finals too, scoring 15.5 points per game in Backcourt Violaters two postseason games.

While many would lean towards the Grizzlies being favourites, if Hardt can be restricted to two or less threes, the Backcourt Violaters could make this game a lot closer than some would predict.

Prediction: Backcourt Violaters by 3


Wednesday Mixed C

When: Wednesday, March 31st – 8:20pm

Where: Frankston Basketball Stadium – Court 3

Who: Ravens vs Chicken Dippers

Last time they met: Ravens- 37 defeat Chicken Dippers- 30

The Ravens finished the season winning four straight games and are perched nicely on top of the league ladder on eight total wins.

Shaun Smithers’ 11.1 points per game is a team best for the Ravens who are looking to beat the Chicken Dippers for a second time this season.

A 12-point performance from Smithers in a seven-point victory in round eight against the Chicken Dippers proved that they were one of the top teams for a reason.

The Chicken Dippers won seven games from 11 appearances this season, including a drawn game which helped them sneak into fourth position on the ladder.

While clawing their way into the grand final from fourth spot may seem lucky, there is a statistical analysis that backs why this team is better than they appear.

Their defence is elite, allowing just .1 more points per game than the Ravens across the season, which accounts for third in the league.

These teams are also well matched offensively, with the Chicken Dippers ahead by just .3 points per game in that category, led by Tessa Matthews who has put up 9.1 points on a weekly basis.

Matthews is not the only weapon the Ravens will have to stop though.

Scott Chittleborough played like a man possessed in the preliminary final for the Chicken Dippers, scoring 33 points and knocking in two triples.

This match shapes up to be an intense arm-wrestle with many back and forth scoring runs.

While the Ravens have shown to be a consistently strong team, the Chicken Dippers have the added experience of playing five games that have been decided by six points or less this season, which could prove to be crucial.

Prediction: Chicken Dippers by 2


Wednesday Mixed D

When: Wednesday, March 31st – 7:20pm

Where: Frankston Basketball Stadium – Court 3

Who: Pump vs Airball

Last time they met: Pump- 41 defeat Airball- 39

Pump are absolutely flying at the moment, winners of seven straight, including victories against Airball and ladder leaders, ‘Immabe’.

They cruised into the grand final in style, beating Immabe by 37 points in the qualifier and having four players crack double digit scoring.

Airball have been on a nice run too, winning five straight games of their own and defeating Immabe comfortably in the preliminary final by 23 points.

Andrew Clarke’s 24-point performance in the preliminary final was just another walk in the park.

Clarke has led all scorers for Airball this season, average 14 per game and helping the team secure a grand final berth.

Marson Kepae has led Pump to their own grand final appearance off the back of a 14.4 point per game average this season, including an 18-point game in the qualifying final.

These teams are very evenly matched, Pump scored 40.6 per game while Airball have averaged 40.8 points per contest this season.

In their earlier match this season, only one bucket could split the two teams with Pump prevailing by two points in round seven thanks to 18 points from Hannah Hayes.

If the round seven match is anything to go by, this should be a thrilling grand final that will be decided in the final minutes.

Prediction: Pump by 1


Wednesday Women A

When: Wednesday, March 31st – 7:00pm

Where: Frankston Basketball Stadium – Court 1

Who: Wiggles vs Gasbaggers

Last time they met: Wiggles- 30 defeat Gasbaggers– 28

What a juicy matchup this is, both the Wiggles and Gasbaggers have managed to not play each other once during the regular season and both emerge undefeated.

The Wiggles and Gasbaggers put up 57 and 51 points per game respectively, the next closest team was Kruger Enterprises with 49.9 and then the Splash Sisters with 38.1.

It is no surprise that the only time when these teams fell to a 30-point game or below was when they played each other in the qualifying final a fortnight ago.

The Wiggles prevailed by two points in that game thanks to Frankston Blues’ very own Courtney Wilkins who rained in 18 of the Wiggles 30 points for the match.

Wilkins has had a stellar season, averaging 18.8 points per game.

The leading scorer for the Gasbaggers this season has been Jess Bean who has scored 15.7 points per contest and led their team in scoring with 10 against the Wiggles in the qualifier.

If the Gasbaggers are to get the result they want on Wednesday night, it may come down to whether Bean can replicate what she did in the preliminary final and score upwards of her season average.

This should be a cracker of a game and is likely to come down to which teams’ star player scores the more points in what will be a very defensive minded match.

Prediction: Wiggles by 2


Wednesday Women B

When: Wednesday, March 31st – 7:30pm

Where: Frankston Basketball Stadium – Court 5

Who: AllStars vs The Tropics

Last time they met: N/A

The Tropics have done the unthinkable, winning one game in the regular season and clawing their way to the B grade grand final.

Credit where credit is due though for the Tropics, they have had to battle teams like the Wiggles and the Gasbaggers in the A and B merged grade which is no easy task.

Plus, they have played very well in the elimination and preliminary finals to be able to get where they are.

Emma Findlay has put on a clinic in the finals series, averaging 15.5 points per game for the Tropics, improving on her regular season average of 8.9 points per game.

The AllStars have had a very solid season to date too, posting four wins from 10 appearances and beating The Jordies by 15 in the qualifying final.

Leah Davies has been outstanding, her 17.2 point per game average has carried the AllStars in the regular season.

In the qualifying final Davies got a helping hand from Demi Martin and Ash Hellyer who put up 10 points each in the win.

Another performance like that on Wednesday night would go a long way for the AllStars chances of winning.

While the AllStars look like the easy favourites on paper, ruling out the Tropics would be foolish, especially if Findlay and her supporting cast can follow up with another strong performance in the grand final.

Prediction: AllStars by 5


Wednesday Women C

When: Wednesday, March 31st – 8:30pm

Where: Frankston Basketball Stadium – Court 5

Who: Bin Chickens vs Mega Minx

Last time they met: Bin Chickens- 21 defeat Mega Minx- 19

Bin Chickens and Mega Minx with come into the grand final with seven wins apiece from 11 games played.

In hindsight, the Bin Chickens two-point win against Mega Minx in round 10 proved to be the difference in terms of ladder positioning and the all-important double-chance.

Bin Chickens sit atop of the ladder after showcasing their offensive talents throughout the year, averaging 28 points per game which is the best in the competition.

Maddie Olsen led the way for the Bin Chickens, scoring more than half of their points, arriving at a 14.6-point average for the season.

Their opponents, Mega Minx score just 21.9 points on average, however their stellar defence has allowed them to win game after game and eventually make the grand final from third spot on the ladder.

Mega Minx are the best defence in the league and it is not even close, they concede just 14 points per game, the next best squad is The Original Clueless who allow 18.9 points per contest.

Their two previous head-to-heads this season have been hard fought slogs, with both games being decided by single digits and the winning team scoring no more than 22 points in each contest.

Mega Minx prevailed by six in round five and Bin Chickens escaping with a two-point win in round 10.

While we know that Maddie Olsen is the go-to scorer for the Bin Chickens, it will be interesting to see who steps up for Mega Minx.

Becky Dixon has averaged 14.5 points per game for Mega Minx this finals series and will be a key cog in the offence once again on Wednesday night.

Considering the low scoring history between these two sides, it is likely that the team who can score 20 points has a pretty good shot at pulling out a victory.

Prediction: Mega Minx by 3


Wednesday Women D

When: Wednesday, March 31st – 7:10pm

Where: Frankston Basketball Stadium – Court 2

Who: Nightstalkers vs Raptors

Last time they met: Nightstalkers- 26 defeat Raptors- 8

Raptors and Nightwalkers have had extremely impressive campaigns to date, securing eight wins each this season.

Despite sitting at the top of the ladder, the Nightstalkers only two losses during the regular season came at the hands of the Raptors, losing by an average of 13.5 points.

Jasmine De Sair did most of the damage for the Raptors, scoring 14.5 points per game in their two matchups with the Nightstalkers.

Overall, she has averaged 10.8 points for the season which accounts for 39% of the Raptors total average which sits at 27.6.

While it appeared that the Raptors had the Nightstalkers number, De Sair and the Raptors could not get their shots to fall in the qualifying final.

De Sair was held to six points as the Nightstalkers advanced to the grand final after a 26-8 win.

Jessica Jones put up 10 points in the qualifier, a solid performance in a season that featured many high scoring outings for Jones.

In the league’s second-best offence (34 points per game), Jones averaged 14.3 points per game and will be looking to improve on that average come Wednesday night to ensure a grand final win for the Nightstalkers.

After suffering the qualifying final loss to the Nightstalkers, expect the Raptors fix their mistakes and exert more defensive attention on Jones and force her to miss more shots that usual.

However, it would not be surprising if the Nightstalkers executed that same strategy on De Sair in order to gain an advantage.

Depending on which teams’ leading scorer can break the shackles on Wednesday night may determine who wins the grand final.

Prediction: Raptors by 4