Penrith’s roller coast ride in the 2013 Waratah Championship League (WCL) competition has come to a sudden end, following a heart-breaking 85-83 loss to the Central Coast Crusaders on Sunday afternoon at the Penrith Valley Regional Sports Centre - in an elimination quarter final.
There was only a maximum of two points between the two teams at every break in play but it would be the Crusaders, under the guiding hand of former Sydney Kings NBL head coach Ian (Moose) Robilliard, who would make the biggest plays in the deciding fourth quarter.
Former WCL Player of the Year Stefan Blaszczynski and Crusaders team-mate Jason Taylor were superb in the clutch, guiding their team to victory and now on to the Finals Weekend, which will be held at the Sutherland Basketball Stadium this weekend.
The Crusaders meet the minor premiers Manly Warringah in one elimination semi-final, whilst the Northern Suburbs Bears take on the Sydney City Comets in the other semi-final.
Central Coast Crusaders (Stefan Blaszczynski 32 points; Jason Taylor 22 points, 9 boards; Tim Hudson 12 points; Callum Jenkins 10 points, 8 boards) def Penrith Panthers 83 (Ben Ellsworth 21 points; Sean Albert 18; Ben Kearins 16; Louis Brandt 10 points, 11 boards, 3 assists, 6 steals).
Local interest in the playoffs now rests with the Blacktown Storm Youth League Men’s team, which has qualified for the semi-finals with a stirring 1-point win over the Illawarra Hawks in an elimination quarter final.