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Highland Bears secure place in Scottish play-offs after victory against Inverness Lions

By Will Clark

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Highland Bears
Highland Bears

Highland Bears Under-14 girls secured the Scottish National Gold Section Play-off Championship with one of their most dominant displays of the season beating Inverness Lions 108 – 56.

Having finished the regular season undefeated, the Bears were favourites even against rivals who had finished second.

With the Lions needing to only win by nine points to secure the Gold and a one-point win to finish second and get an invite to the national showcase game during the Senior men's final fours there was a lot was on the line for both teams and the large excited crowd.

It was the Bears who opened the scoring through their dominant centre Chloe Sanderson whose inside game was hard to stop as she finished on 21 points.

Grace Alexander, having been rested for the Bears previous game, who having just been called up for the Scotland Under-16 squad demonstrated why she is that league’s top scorer.

She scored 44 points while only playing half of the game helped her team to dominate the opening period with the visiting Bears finishing well in front at 33 - 4.

The second period saw a resurgent home team with Lions future star Millie Grant getting the first two baskets for them, demonstrating all her individual moves that secured her the Highland primary skills championship the previous week, while on her way to eight personal points.

Bears internationalist Emily Seago whose own intricate and fast dribbling skills was hard to stop getting to the basket for 11 points in this period on her way to an impressive 23 points personally.

Along with Bears guard Esmee Wilson (4 points) whose secure dribbling and passing into forward Isla Devlin for 4 points both teams were on top form and it was no surprise the period ended 24-22 to the Lions but still a long way behind the Bears overall score at the half of 55-28.

Strong play from Bears captain Lexi Kershaw (4 points) whose inspiration kept the Bears on top.

Olivia MacLennan’s eight points off powerful drives to the hoop stretched the Bears lead even further before a late 8 point run from the home side led by Jessica Gibson (8 points) kept the score now at 87 – 46.

A final period was well matched for a while as Lions Katie Beaton (6 points) showing again all her mothers skills and footwork along with team mate Darcey Levens (8 points) demonstrating the potential the Lions have for next season.

Though the Bears still have nine of their existing squad available next season. Head Coach Ross Waldie said: “I am so proud of what the girls have achieved this season, everything we ask of them they produce over the full court and along with looking forward to the showcase game, next season can’t come soon enough for us all.”

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