Wallan's Cameron Creasy puts pressure on Seymour's Tom O'Connor to get to the basket. The Blasters won 88-61 on their home court.

By Colin MacGillivray

SEYMOUR Blasters and Wallan Panthers each finished the Country Basketball League season with a minor premiership – Seymour men and Wallan women finishing atop their respective division ladders.

The Blasters’ men defeated Wallan in a blockbuster Saturday night game at Seymour Sports and Aquatic Centre, winning every quarter en route to an 88-61 victory.

The win wrapped up top spot for the Blasters and relegated the Panthers, who had been in second place entering the final round, to third.

In addition to a solid defensive effort, the Blasters rode the hot hand of Jack Murphy, who netted six three-pointers on his way to a game-high 25 points.

Seymour coach Craig Hockley said it was a good win in difficult circumstances.

“The scores probably don’t reflect how tough the game was. It was a good, physical, hard game that played out,” he said.

“Our guys executed on offence pretty well and played really good defence, which contained their guys pretty well.

“It was just Jack’s night on Saturday. He hit six three-pointers and he was hot for the night. We looked to give him the ball a little bit more as the game went on and he hit a lot of his shots, so it worked out well for him.”

The Panthers were led by Ryan Philippe, who scored 20 points including four three-pointers, but were missing key player Max Viitala.

Seymour hit the road on Sunday to face the Myrtleford Saints, whose strong challenge to the Blaster belied their lowly ladder position.

Hockley said he was pleased to escape with a victory, giving the Blazers a record of 9-1.

“It was tough going at Myrtleford. We had some sore bodies and we were down to eight players. We had a couple who pulled up really sore and couldn’t play. It was very humid up there as well, so we just had to get a win on the board any way we could,” he said.

“Our guys just gutted it out, and in the last quarter we pulled away.

“Tyler Best found some form coming into finals, which was good, and Keenan Gorski was good again offensively for us.”

Seymour will now host Wodonga Wolves in a semi final on Saturday night, while Wallan will travel to take on Benalla Breakers in the other semi final.

Hockley said the Wolves presented a big challenge for his team.

“We played Wodonga recently at home. They were a few numbers short and we won quite comfortably, but I think this time will be different with their full squad,” he said.

“They’re going to be pretty tough to beat. They’re really well drilled. They have a lot of length. They beat us just before Christmas up there, and we had trouble matching up with that length of their guys.

“The key, like all our games, is going to be our defence and making sure we put their guys under pressure. We want to box out, put them under pressure, force turnovers and do the little one-percenters defensively.”

Wallan finished the season on top of the women’s north-east division ladder despite forfeiting a game against Seymour on Saturday.

The Panthers were able to take care of business when they played Benalla Lady Breakers on Sunday, winning 75-50.

Shona Brooks, 22 points, Kaitlyn Wakartschuk, 17, and Carley Cranston, 14, led the way, while Ruby Pantisano added nine.

Seymour, meanwhile, lost its Sunday game against Myrtleford, going down 64-76 despite 20 points from Leah Swain and 18 from Dyani Ananiev.

The results set up a pair of intriguing semi finals, with Seymour hosting Myrtleford at 6pm on Saturday and Wallan at home to Wodonga at 12pm on Sunday.

Panther Ryan Philippe, who scored 20 points for the match, at full stretch.