Playoff Finals 2024: NBL2 & 3, WNBL2 winners, recaps, gallery & reaction

Day one of the Senior NBL Playoff Finals didn't disappoint, with three worthy champions named for 2023/24.

The NBL Division Three final went the way of Essex Rebels II as they beat Barnet Bulldogs 85-62 before Sheffield Hatters II sealed back-to-back-to back WNBL Division Two titles as they eased past Cobham Cobras 77-66.

The day came to a close with the much-anticipated clash between NBL Division Two's Milton Keynes Breakers and Team Solent Kestrels, with the Breakers coming through as 86-68 winners.

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

NBL3 Playoff Final: Essex Rebels II 85-62 Barnet Bulldogs

Essex Rebels II capped off a perfect campaign, adding playoff success to an 18-0 regular season by beating Barnet Bulldogs 85-62.

After an even opening quarter, the Bulldogs lost their way in the second as their turnovers mounted up, their offence stalled and the Rebels broke the game open with a 20-11 period.

Leading 44-31 at the half, Essex pressed home their advantage with the first six points of the second half, with the difference between the sides hitting 20 more than once in the quarter.

The South winners battled in the fourth but the damage was already done, leaving the Rebels to celebrate all the way to the buzzer.

MVP honours went to Essex forward Daljang Wol, who led all scorers for a game-high 23 points on 8/10 shooting that included a perfect 8/8 from 2pt.

Wol also added nine boards and three assists, with Jordan Ashley (14pts), Alvin Fleming (12pts, 6reb) and Fredrik Wilson (12pts) rounding out the scoring.

It was a polished performance from the Rebels, who shot 54% (32/59) to the Bulldogs' 33% (23/68), capitalising on 26 Barnet turnovers and turning them into 31 points.

The Londoners were led by player/coach Chuck Duru (15pts) with Conor O'Reilly adding 13 more, though both players would hit fewer than 30% of their shots as the Rebels' defence proved a tough one to crack.


WNBL2 Playoff Final: Sheffield Hatters II 77-66 Cobham Cobras

Sheffield Hatters II claimed a stunning three-peat as they beat Cobham Cobras 77-66 in the WNBL Division Two Final.

Back-to-back champions coming into the game, Sheffield led from practically tip to buzzer, though the Cobras fought hard to get within a single basket down the stretch after trailing by as many as 18 points in the third.

Sheffield were able to get the key scores when they needed them most, thanks in part to a highly-efficient MVP performance from veteran Steph Gandy.

Announcing her retirement following the game along with teammates Lisa Riches, Sarah Cooney and Helen Naylor, Gandy added one more award to a glittering career as she dropped 24 points on 9/12 shooting to go with seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Cooney (25pts, 6reb, 5ast, 4stl, 3blk) and Naylor (15pts, 5reb) also played their part as Riches added an 11-rebound, 11-assist double-double.

Pool II winners Cobham refused to go quietly, showing tremendous character to push a team winning their 48th-straight league and playoff game right to the end.

The Cobras were led by captain Emma Delea and Sophie Khalaf (13pts each), as Modiegi Mokoka and Freya Bayne both added 11 points.


NBL2 Playoff Final: Milton Keynes Breakers 86-68 Team Solent Kestrels

Milton Keynes took the epic third match-up between these two sides, beating Team Solent Kestrels 86-68 to seal NBL Division Two glory.

For two teams who topped the league's scoring charts this season and combined for 200 points in their previous meeting last month, this clash lacked that offensive might as both teams shot below 40% from the floor.

Still, it was South champions MK who we left standing tall come the final buzzer thanks to a standout one-two punch from Chris Tawiah and Jordan Spencer.

Either would have been a worthy MVP selection but it was Spencer's triple-double of 26 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists that got the nod over the forward's 21/15 double-double.

Coach Guymon's side shaded the first half, leading by eight late in the opening quarter, but a 23-12 third swung the game in the Breakers' favour before taking the fourth 25-18.

Solent were led by double-doubles from Isa Brandon (21pts, 12reb) and Ashley Briggs (19pts, 12reb), Russell Gariepy (10pts) was the only other Kestrel to make it to double digits on the scoreboard.