The 2018/19 SBL Playoff Final between Bridgwater Bucs and Taunton Dragons ended 85 – 72 in favour of Bucs who successfully defended their title for the 9th consecutive year whilst remaining undefeated for the season.
Both teams started the game tentatively with the score remaining low in the first quarter, Bucs 14 – 15 Dragons. Things picked up in the second as the players settled into the game. Bucs pushed their lead to 19 – 16 before Dragons made their own run, scoring 12 points to 1 and taking an 8 point lead.
Dragons weren’t able to capitalise on their strong offensive play and were let down by defensive fouls, sending Bucs to the free-throw line and allowing them to claw back the lead. The Bucs come back was aided by good shooting with 3 pointers from Phil Rogers and Jack Roberts. Dragons went to the free-throw line themselves three times at the end of the quarter but were only able to convert 50%. The first half finished Bucs 35 – 33 Dragons.
In the third quarter the teams continued to trade mini-runs. For Bucs, Jack Roberts scored 11 in the quarter, with Tim Gumbs adding 6 and Rich Nurse knocking down a long-range 3 pointer. For Dragons, Jonathan Iji poured in 10 points with Grzegorz Siwicki adding 6 and Captain Matt Robins scoring from behind the 3-point line.
Going into the fourth Bucs held a narrow lead (61 – 55) but Dragons were still very much in the game and were first to strike, scoring 4 points unanswered and reducing the lead to just 2. However, Tim Gumbs continued his good play from the third quarter and was able to find his way to the basket on multiple occasions, scoring and getting to the free-throw line, followed by a big three-pointer to push the Bucs lead back up to 6 (70 – 64).
Matt Robins was sent to the free-throw line where he made 1 of 2 for Dragons but Bucs then scored 7 unanswered, including a three-point play by Jack Roberts, extending their lead to 12. Siwicki knocked down another 3 pointer for Dragons and Sokolowski made a free-throw to reduce the deficit to 9 but it wasn’t enough. As time ran out, Dragons failed to convert their free-throw attempts whilst Liam Vickery finished strong for Bucs adding a further 6 points to help secure the victory. Final score Bucs 85 – 72 Dragons.
Top scorers for Bridgwater Bucs: Jack Roberts 25, Tim Gumbs 19 and Liam Vickery 16.
Top scorers for Taunton Dragons: Lukasz Sokolowski 23, Grzegorz Siwicki 14 and Jonathan Iji 13
Another great SBL season comes to an end with an exciting and competitive final. Thanks to all teams and players who have taken part this year. Congratulations to Taunton Dragons for finishing runners up and to the 2018/19 SBL Champions, Bridgwater Bucs!