NEWCASTLE Hunters will play Manly Warringah in a Waratah Basketball League men’s semi-final at Hills Basketball Stadium next Saturday after the Sea Eagles defeated Sydney Comets 82-71 at Northern Beaches Indoor Sports Centre on Saturday.
Manly were one of only three teams to defeat the minor premiers this season and the last side to do so, having hung on to win 79-77 at Broadmeadow on July 14.
The other two teams to have lowered Newcastle’s colours this year – second-placed Norths Bears and third-placed Hills Hornets – will meet in the other semi-final at Hills next Saturday after the Hornets downed Central Coast Crusaders 85-61 in the other elimination play-off at Hills on Saturday.
Newcastle coach Darren Nichols was not surprised by the result and said the Hunters would have to be at their best to beat Manly, the 2017 runners-up, and qualify for the final on Sunday.
The Hunters are chasing their first Waratah men’s championship since 2000, when it was known as the NSW Premier League.
“Manly are a good side and were a little bit too good for us on our court a few weeks ago, but we’ll do our homework on them this week and review the video of that game and their win against Sydney and come up with a game plan for Saturday,” Nichols said.
“It will be tough but that’s what you expect when you’re in the semi-finals of this league and it’s a challenge the boys have been preparing for all season, so we’re looking forward to it.”
The Hunters women’s team will play minor premiers Norths in a semi-final at Hills on Saturday.
Newcastle’s Division One Youth League men’s team will join the senior men and women in the semi-finals on Saturday after defeating Hills Hornets 81-62 in an elimination play-off at Broadmeadow on Saturday night. Newcastle will play Central Coast Crusaders.