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Taunton Dragons advance to Playoff Final with win over Bridgwater Bucs

271Tags: 23/24, Playoffs, Report, SBL

Taunton Dragons have booked a place in the 2024 Playoff Final after defeating Bridgwater Bucs 48 – 68 at B&T College Bridgwater Centre in the first Semi-final match of the Playoffs.

The match was a replay of last years 2nd vs 3rd semi-final which was won by Bucs, who went on to become 22/23 Playoff Champions. This season Bucs finished 1st in the league whilst Dragons came in 4th and with Bucs winning both league matches between these sides, potential for an upset was there.

Dragons seized the opportunity with a 20-point victory, claiming a place in the final where they will face the winner of the semi-final between Bridgwater Blackhawks and Huish Tigers.

Dragons got off to a good start, jumping out to a 16-point lead in the first quarter with Bucs failing to find their scoring touch, managing just 1 field goal. Nash was able to get to the free-throw line early for Dragons whilst Celeste, who finished with 20 points (leading all scorers), contributed 7 in the period.

Bucs bounced back in the second with a rounded scoring effort, winning the quarter but still facing a 14-point deficit at half time 20 – 34. In the third Bucs made a run early scoring 11 unanswered and drawing within 7 points but Dragons fought back with a 10 – 2 run of their own.

Dragons held a commanding lead heading into the final quarter 33 – 48 and Bucs were unable to make in-roads with the two teams trading baskets to the final whistle. J. Celeste and G. Siwicki led the scoring for Dragons with 20 and 18 respectively whilst Bucs struggled to find their form, T. Botelho and I. Kuznecovs finishing with 11 points each.

A disappointing loss to end the season for league winners Bridgwater Bucs but a buoyant redemption win for Taunton Dragons who reach the SBL Playoff Final for the third time in the club’s history.