Playoff Finals 2024: NBL1, WNBL1 winners, recaps, gallery & reaction

The curtain falls on another NBL season, with CoLA and Hemel both ending the year with a playoff title.

The WNBL Division One Final between old rivals Endeavour Ipswich Basketball and CoLA Southwark Pride went the way of the Londoners 72-56, before Hemel Storm made it back-to-back NBL Division One titles with an 87-84 victory over Reading Rockets.

Recaps for both games are below, with a gallery of images at the foot of this article.

WNBL1 Playoff Final: Endeavour Ipswich Basketball 56-72 CoLA Southwark Pride

CoLA Southwark Pride claimed their fourth WNBL Division One playoff title as they beat Endeavour Ipswich Basketball 72-56.

After an even first half in which neither team would lead by more than nine, a 20-7 third frame where CoLA cranked up their defensive effort made all the difference. Pride also dominated the rebounding battle 70-47, racking up 24 second-chance points in the process.

For all their offensive firepower, the Suffolk outfit were kept in check as Coach Gibbons' team held Ipswich to nearly half of their regular season average of 88.0PPG.

MVP Felicia Jacobs used timely baskets and a strong presence on the glass to keep CoLA ticking over in the low-scoring contest, finishing with 12 points and 13 rebounds (five on offence), plus three steals and an assist.

It was a typical team effort from Pride though, with Violet Stutz (15pts, 5stl), Glory Kabia (11pts), Ayla Habbal (11pts, 5ast) and Adaora Dioramma (7pts, 16reb) all doing their bit.

The loss meant Ipswich were unable to seal what would have been a first WNBL league, Cup and Playoff treble since 2012/13 as Harriet Welham (21pts, 6reb), Liv Forster (13pts) and Christabel Osarobo (12pts, 11reb) rounded out the bulk of their scoring.

An emotional Coach Gibbons' used his post-game interview to break the news that he would be stepping back from coaching CoLA's D1 and WEABL side going forward, moving into a different role with the programme as he hands the reins over to Brian Nguru on a high.


NBL1 Playoff Final: Reading Rockets 84-87 Hemel Storm

Hemel Storm put an exclamation mark on the final action of the NBL season, claiming a thrilling playoff final against Reading Rockets 87-84.

Only taking their first lead of the contest with the opening bucket of the fourth quarter, Storm retained their playoff crown in a game of fine margins, none perhaps finer than Elijah Maynard's corner three on the buzzer that rattled the rim before rebounding out.

As the ball fell to the floor, Storm players, coaches and fans alike leapt to their feet, celebrating the end of another successful season and back-to-back playoff titles.

The contest bubbled along nicely throughout, with Rockets retaining a slim advantage without ever being able to put themselves out of reach. That would eventually come back to haunt them as the #3 seeds surged ahead late before hanging on in a nervy finish.

Reading were left wondering what might have been as Maynard's final effort came up short, ensuring the Rockets' wait for a first playoff title since 2012/13 goes on.

The MVP award went to guard Sam Newman (18pts, 8ast, 5ast, 5stl) for an all-round performance that also pulled the best from forward Darien Nelson-Henry (17pts, 11reb) and fellow guard Taylor Johnson (26pts, 5reb, 4ast).

Reading were led by 16 points apiece from Mitch Clarke and Lewis Champion, with Maynard adding 15 more.