Stone in doubt for finals

THE Warrnambool Seahawks’ elation of hosting a Big V Basketball final for the first time in three seasons is being tempered by the prospect star import Sai’quon Stone’s season is over.

The Seahawks guaranteed themselves a home division-one quarter-final on Saturday night with a dramatic last-play win in yesterday’s second match of an away double-header to end the regular season. The Bobby Cunningham-coached side entered the weekend’s daunting road trip needing two victories. After claiming a 66-62 win over Melbourne University Black Angels on Saturday night, they found themselves tied with Blackburn Vikings with eight seconds left in regular time.

Cunningham used a time out to draw a play from the sideline throw-in that bypassed expected receivers.

“We just threw the ball to Liam Killey under the basket, he got a deep catch and got a jump hook shot away that went in,” Cunningham said.

The 88-86 victory was achieved without Stone, who played only 15 minutes in Saturday’s night’s match before suffering a lower leg injury at the start of the third quarter.

“He lunged like he was going to turn and run and when he planted that right foot it just gave way under him,” Cunningham said. “We don’t like our chances of having him for the finals series.”

Cunningham said Stone had suffered either an Achilles or calf injury.

 He said Stone would consult experts today and expected a scan this week would be needed to properly assess the injury. 

“I guess teams will be thinking ‘they are undermanned’ but everybody who took the floor for us was good. We did what we had to do to get a home court final. It’s been a while.” The Seahawks, who finished second in the Terrill conference, will host Chelsea, which finished third in the Watson conference, in the cut-throat quarter-final.

“I seriously doubt he (Stone) will be able to play. If he’s not 80-90 per cent, I will just play the cards we are dealt.”

Cunningham was delighted with the performances of Josh Dean, who stepped up to fill Stone’s void as a guard.

“The outstanding performer on the weekend was Josh Dean,” he said. “He was absolutely sensational. He was a having a down year in terms of his productivity and output and he came out playing and didn’t worry about mistakes.”

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