Basketball: Curtain-raiser tournament semifinals |23 May 2023
Beau Vallon Heat, PLS Hawks to clash in men’s division one final
- PLS derby to decide men’s division two champions
The final scenes for the finals of this season’s Curtain-raiser tournament have been set, following the semifinals which took place over the weekend, with top flight favourites Beau Vallon Heat and PLS Hawks booking their spots, while the second division champions will be decided through a Plaisance derby between the youngsters of PLS Suns and their elders of the PLS Legends.
In the women’s final, the title will be contested between Bel Air-based B Challenge and HotShots from Anse Boileau.
Initially drawn in pool B for the preliminaries alongside Baya, Drifters, AB Boys and MBU Rockers, Beau Vallon Heat top the group on maximum eight points from four wins in as many matches played, setting up a semifinal match-up against Mont Fleuri Dawgz who finished as runners-up in pool A.
Against Dawgz, Beau Vallon Heat met some resistance in the first quarter which ended 21-21, before switching to a stronger gear in the second quarter, winning it 23-11 for a 44-32 half-time lead.
The northern Mahé side remained dominant in the third quarter of the match which they won 18-14, before imposing their game in the fourth and last quarter, winning 26-14 and the match 88-60 to book a place in the final.
In the second semifinal in the division, the Hawks who topped group A consisting of Mont Fleuri Dawgz, Anse Etoile, Premium Cobras and Cascade Bullets, also on maximum eight points from four wins to book their semifinal spot against Drifters who finished as runners-up in group B.
In the semifinal, the Hawks were up against a young and agile Drifters side and they edged their opponents 18-17 in the first quarter, before Drifters clinch the second quarter 25-17 for a 42-36 lead at half-time.
Not wanting to start their season on a bad note after losing the league and the Land Marine Cup to rivals Beau Vallon Heat last season, PLS Hawks stepped up their game in the third quarter, outscoring Drifters 26-12 for a 62-54 lead at the end of the period.
Also eyeing for a place in the final, Drifters came out stronger in the last quarter of the match, scoring 16 points, compared to 11 for the Hawks, but thanks to a big advantage from their exploit in the third quarter, Hawks managed to get away with a narrow 73-70 win and place in the final.
In the men’s division two competition, the winners will be decided in the Plaisance derby between PLS Legends who topped group A with four wins in as many matches played – beating PLS Suns 67-53, Mont Fleuri Ballerz 74-61, Anse Royale 112-45, and PTL Thunder 111-28 – and Suns who finished as the group’s runners-up.
In the semifinal, a more experienced PLS Legends were up against a young St Louis Saints team who managed to finish second in group A behind winners Praslin Boys.
Legend won the first quarter 21-07, before toning down their game in the second, allowing St Louis Saints to narrowly outscore them 19-17.
PLS Legends switched back to a strong gear in the third quarter of the match, scoring 27 points, compared to 15 for Saints, extending their lead to 65-41 at the end of the period.
Already comfortably in front, PLS Legends slowed down their pace in the fourth and final quarter where St Louis Saints seized the opportunity to score 23 points, while Legends chipped in another 17 to win the match 82-64, booking their final berth.
In the other semifinal in the division, PLS Suns who finished second in group A were up against group B winners inner islanders Praslin Boys for a place in the final.
Suns, under the guidance of coach Alain Estro, brought the game to their opponents early on, winning the first quarter 28-18.
It was in the second quarter of the match that Praslin Boys stepped up their game to outscore PLS Suns 19-15, with the latter leading 43-37 at half-time.
Already in the lead, PLS Suns managed to protect their advantage by outscoring Praslin Boys 14-12 in the third quarter, extending their lead to 57-49 at the end of the period.
Despite winning the fourth and final quarter 19-15, Praslin Boys could not cover the point deficit, allowing PLS Suns to win the match 72-68.
In the women’s competition, HotShots who finished on top of the classification league on five points from two wins and a defeat – the same statistic as second-placed B Challenge – were up against fourth-placed finishers Mont Fleuri Ladies in the semifinal.
A more dominant HotShots won all four quarters – 20-11, 18-11, 13-11, and 10-3 – for an easy 61-36 victory over Mont Fleuri, while in the other semifinal B Challenge defeated Anse Etoile Stars who finished third overall in the classification league.
B Challenge won the first three quarters of the match – 7-6, 19-7, and 19-4 – before Stars threw everything in the match to win the fourth and final quarter 11-8, which was not enough, allowing B Challenge to get away with a comfortable 53-28 victory and a place in the final.
All the final matches are scheduled to take place on Saturday at the Victoria Gymnasium.