THE Blacktown Storm Youth League men's team qualified for its third consecutive grand final of the Waratah Youth League Division One Men's competition, out-playing the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 75-66 in an elimination semi-final on Saturday afternoon at the Sutherland Basketball Stadium.
The Storm appear to "have the wood" on the Sea Eagles, defeating the the team from the northern beaches three times in play-off games in the past three years, including last year's grand final.
That win set up an enthralling re-match between the 2012 premiers (Storm) and 2011 premiers and 2013 minor premiers (Crusaders), with Blacktown hoping to avoid the one-sided result of 2011.
Central Coast, however, had the best of circumstances on the day, with their game plan falling into place with ease and the two referees providing a benign eye to the Crusaders' often physical style — a benefit which was not available for the underdogs.
Both teams began the game in pedestrian style, tied 15-15 at the first break before the Crusaders upped the ante to lead 39-25 at half-time.
Central Coast maintained that advantage to lead 61-41 at the final break, then push home relentlessly to record a 82-58 win.
Central Coast Crusaders 82 def Blacktown Storm 58 (Krenz Carlos 11 points, Chier Maker 11, Ben Elliott 8).