NBL Playoff Finals - Day 2: CoLA win WNBL1 crown, Solent NBL1 champs

Day Two of the NBL Playoff Finals didn't disappoint, with Team Solent Kestrels and CoLA Southwark Pride claiming wins at the National Basketball Performance Centre in Manchester.

Both games came down to the final play, creating an incredible atmosphere throughout and providing a treat for fans to close the 2021/22 season.

Recaps and reaction are available below, along with streams and stats links.

WNBL1 Final: CoLA Southwark Pride 55-53 Team Solent Kestrels

In a nail biting final that went down to its final possession, CoLA Southwark Pride secured a league and playoff double as they beat Team Solent Kestrels 55-53.

The South Coast side led 43-37 heading into the final quarter but CoLA stole the fourth 18-10 to come from behind and seal their first D1W playoff title since 2016/17.

MVP honours went to CoLA's Funmi Amode, who came alive in the fourth quarter at both ends of the court to close with 23 points, seven rebounds and an assist. Team mate Isi Ozzy-Momodu played her part after collecting a raft of regular season awards, she had a massive 25 rebounds to go with eight points.

In a scrappy final where both teams struggled for a cutting edge on offence, the game appeared to be slipping away from league winners as Solent built a double-digit lead late in the third.

That simply set the scene for a comeback win from coach Gibbons' programme, who built momentum and slowly reeled their opponents in.

Eventually moving ahead with just over 4 minutes remaining, Amode was at the centre of things with baskets and stops, though the Kestrels still had a chance to snatch the glory late.

Trailing 54-52 with just seconds remaining, Faye Endean was sent to the line for three free throws but could only hit one of the trio to force TSK into a foul. Emily O'Connell would only hit one of her two shots in reply, but the seventh seeds couldn't get off one final shot to win or force OT.

Taylor Gaffney top scored for Solent with 12 points to go with four rebounds and four assists. Fellow guard Krisztina Velkey-Cleeve added eight points and nine boards.


NBL1 Final: Team Solent Kestrels 71-69 Hemel Storm

Team Solent Kestrels sealed their third straight playoff title as they beat Hemel Storm 71-69.

In a fitting way to end the 2021/22 season, both teams left it all out on the court but it was Solent would have their noses in front when the final buzzer sounded in Manchester.

American guard Cole Gentry added to his recent Player of the Year award with a Playoff final MVP nod, closing with 19 points, four rebounds and four steals.

Hemel needed to come back from an 11 point deficit to start the final frame but that difference was soon erased following a stunning 12-1 run to start the fourth quarter.

With the tension inside the National Basketball Performance Centre edging up a notch with every basket, both sets of fans tried to will their team over the line, creating an incredible atmosphere for the season's finale.

Tied at 69-69, MVP Gentry would make his play of the game, landing an improbable up-and-under finish on the drive despite heavy pressure from a number of Storm defenders.

Hemel would never get a chance to reply as Taylor Johnson's inbound pass could only find the finger tips of team mate Greg Poleon before evading the American's grasp, and with it went Hemel's chances of a comeback.

Johnson pulled out all the stops for Storm, closing with 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assist. Poleon had a 22-point, 14-rebound double-double, but despite the American duo combining for 45 of Hemel's 69 points, it wouldn't be enough.


All image credits below - Basketball England