Launceston Lightning just survived a comeback in Sunday’s must-win game, but missed the cut for the State League men’s semi-finals.
And it was a number of Launceston’s next generation of homebred talent that nearly caused the boilover.
When Ben Rigby sunk a second three-pointer for the day, the Lightning’s top-four prospects looked assured.
They comfortably pushed out to a 16-point lead over Basketball Tasmania High Performance’s side with only five and a half minutes left on the clock in Hobart.
But entering the final 30 seconds, Riverside 16-year-old Angus Kitson’s clutch two points for the emerging teenagers left the Lightning up by just a solitary point.
Launceston were forced to grit out the final moments for a 77-76 win.
But that wasn’t enough as Clarence United Cubs advanced on points difference during the last term fadeout.
Morgan Lockwood led the scoring for the winners with 18 points, Troy Schaeche had 16, Bradley Templar 15 and Rigby finished with 14.
But the clash belonged to Launceston-raised Jackson Lowe, who put away a statewide season-best 26 points to push his league average this year to 14.7 points per game.
Under-15 Oceania Cup-bound Sejr Deans, also from Riverside, shot 15 points, while Ulverstone’s Reyne Smith hit 14 and Kitson 11.
Clarence United did their part earlier on Sunday to have one foot in the finals.
That’s where the Lightning had put their spot in serious jeopardy after copping a 71-59 loss to the Cubs.
Templar scored 19 points and Hugh King added 18 during the Lightning’s third defeat of the league. They finished with a 4-3 record.
Clarence United are set to meet Glenorchy Spartans (7-0) for a place in the final, joining Wynyard Wildcats (5-2) and Penguin Blues (5-2) in an all North-West semi-final.
Wynyard had a 65-54 win over the Basketball Tasmania High Performance side, which had Tre Armstrong score a definitive game-high 23 points for the Wildcats.
Lowe knocked down 14 points, Smith 13 and Deans 11 amid a winless campaign.
Penguin went on to finish its round-robin series with an emphatic 110-76 victory over Hobart Phoenix.
Zachary White shot 27 points, Cam Brown 23 and Jaylen White 22 for the Blues.
Glenorchy is coming off red-hot form with a 120-77 win over Somerset Heat.
In what was a disappointing end to their stumbling women’s season, Launceston Lightning proved no match for league minor premiers Kingborough-Huon Kings in a 70-33 trouncing.
Tornadoes rookie Sophie Ackerly top-scored for the Lightning with 10 points to finish with a nine-point average from six matches, following a season-best tally of 17 points against Penguin in Saturday’s encounter.
Only AFLW-bound Chloe Haines with 12.8 and SEABL teammate Samantha Chilcott’s 12.2 averaged more.
- Wynyard Wildcats 65-54 Basketball Tasmania High Performance
- Launceston Lightning 59-71 Clarence United Cubs
- Somerset Heat 77-120 Glenorchy Spartans
- Penguin Blues 110-76 Hobart Phoenix
- Launceston Lightning 77-76 Basketball Tasmania High Performance
- Devonport Warriors 54-78 Glenorchy Spartans
- Penguin Blues 88-80 Hobart Phoenix
- Launceston Lightning 33-70 Kingborough-Huon Kings