KNOX Raiders women's season came to a shattering end on Saturday afternoon against Dandenong Rangers in the South East Australian Basketball League championship game at the State Basketball Centre in Wantirna South.
The Raiders lost 65-48 to the Rangers who became the first team to claim three straight SEABL championships.
The game started off well for the Raiders who built a 5-0 lead, but the Rangers found their form, led by Amelia Todhunter (15 points, 8 rebounds, six assists) and managed to trail by only two leading into quarter-time.
The game remained tight in a fast-paced and physical match. While Dandenong hit the boards pretty hard, Knox shot impressively from long range managing 7-17 from the three-point line.
While the tied 26-all score at the beginning of the second half meant a fresh start for both teams, it only went downhill for the Raiders from there. The third quarter had Dandenong putting 19 points on the scoreboard while Knox managed only seven.
Rangers guard Steph Cumming put on a small display in this quarter with seven points for her team who shot at 50 per cent for the quarter compared to Knox's discouraging 23 per cent.
However, to the Raiders' credit, they did not go away in the fourth quarter, playing every last second as if it really counted.
While Knox won the rebounding competition led by Emily Fryters (14 rebounds), this wasn't enough to make up for its 22 turnovers which resulted in 30 easy points for the Rangers.
Todhunter claimed the Barbara Barton medal as game most valuable player while Cumming added 14 points and six assists while playing the full 40 minutes. For the Raiders, Kelly Wilson (20 points, six rebounds) and Amy Denson (13 points, 10 rebounds) were outstanding, as was Emily Fryters.
Wilson and Denson won selection in the 10-player SEABL all-star team at the SEABL awards on Saturday night and Fryters won defensive player of the year for the women's league.
Raiders coach Cheryl Chambers should be proud of what she has done with the young team, some of who were very inexperienced in the finals series.
The players also thank Raider Nation for its support this season.