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Hawks and Pumas meet in Geraldton Basketball Association grand final in battle of the Buccs

Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Flecther Klasztorny and Liam Hunt will lead their sides in Friday's GABA final.
Camera IconFlecther Klasztorny and Liam Hunt will lead their sides in Friday's GABA final. Credit: Jake Santa Maria

For those who can’t wait to see the Buccaneers in action, several players will be strutting their stuff in the Geraldton Amateur Basketball Association grand final.

In a battle of the Buccs the two in-form teams of the competition, the Hawks and the Pumas, will tip-off against each other from 8:30pm on Friday.

The Pumas are hoping to go one better after finishing runners-up to the Olympians the past two seasons while the Hawks are hoping to end two decades of pain in what is their first grand final appearance since 2003.

The Hawks finished at the top of the regular season ladder with a 13-2 record — one game better than the Pumas.

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However, the Hawks have lost back-to-back games against the Pumas by a convincing margin to probably put the Pumas as favourites though by a very narrow margin.

The key for both teams will be the performance of their Buccs players with eight Buccaneers lining up on the court.

The Pumas have five in their line-ups headlined by veteran Liam Hunt along with Harry Evans, Toby Gerreyn, William Galvin, Tomas Dobson and Clayton Parfitt.

The Hawks have their star trio of Fletcher Klasztorny, Ryan Blanchett and Robert Greichen who respectively occupy the top three spots on the points scoring charts this season with more than 300 points each and combined for 90 points against the Olympians.

It’s a tantalising match-up and an opportunity for the Buccs stars to build hype before the start of the NBL1West season but also for non-Buccs players to put their names out there.

Despite the close bond the Buccs share Klasztorny said there will be no love lost once they’re out on the court.

“It’s very good fun to go up against those fellas as competitors — everyone loves competing,” he said.

“We’re all very good friend off the court, you can’t have a successful Buccs season without being good mates off the floor.”

“But once we step over that white line it’s the same thing as training, when that ball is tossed we play hard.”

Hunt agreed with the sentiment saying getting to play against your mates is one of the joys of the league.

“It’s more fun to play against your friends who just want to go out there and play as hard as you can . . . really looking forward to Friday, it’s gonna be a great night,” he said.

“I’m sure whoever loses will get sick of hearing about it but that’s what we live for, it’s the best part to get a bit of bragging rights on your mates.

“At the end of the day, we’re going to spend about another six, seven months together so it’d be good to talk a bit of trash about that and keep bringing it up.”

Before the bragging rights are handed out, there is still a game to win with the two sides hoping to play their contrasting styles of basketball to take the win.

Klasztorny said the Hawks would rely on their explosive power to overcome the Pumas defences.

“We just have to play our brand of basketball, those boys are pretty good at getting back and clogging up the fairway so we got to make sure we go hard and keep pushing,” he said.

Hunt said the key would be in getting a good start and what he described as “boring” basketball.

“We’ll give it everything we got, play the Pumas way, play hard and have fun never quit and give it to them for the full 40 minutes,” he said.

“They’re not a small team, we have to establish our size early and if they get on a run they’re a pretty fun team to watch even as an opposition.”

“So we’re going to try and make it really boring nice and slow, the team that comes out firing first is going to have that mental advantage for the rest of the game so we’re gonna put a really really good game to beat them.”

The men’s grand final is scheduled to tip-off at Activewest Stadium at 8.30pm on Friday.

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