THE Wranglers have claimed a fourth-straight division one Warrnambool Basketball Association championship in a thrilling defensive battle at the Arc.
On Wednesday night players showed nerves for much of the low-scoring game, which was decided in overtime with the Wranglers holding on to win 64 to 57.
Wranglers stand-out Jake Spruhan, former Warrnambool Seahawks captain, started out hot from the field in his final local contest before moving to Melbourne -- but the Mbengas' James Mitchell was equally dangerous early on.
The Mbengas unsettled the Wranglers' offence with a full-court pressure defence and pulled away to lead by six points at the half, thanks to great inside play from Damian Gray and Josh Dean.
After half time an Adam Lawson three-pointer ballooned the lead out to 11 and the crowd of hundred were sensing an upset, willing the younger team home.
A strategic timeout was the catlyst for the Wranglers' Peter Stapleton to lift his game after playing quiet up to that point.
Stapleton hit the offensive boards and the Wranglers crawled back to be down by just two points with 30 seconds remaining.
A courageous steal from Rohan "Silk" Creed set up Stapleton for a driving layup to tie the scores, and a blocked shot on the other end sent the game into overtime.
Feeding off the Wranglers momentum, Spruhan opened the five-minute extra period with a three-pointer and the Mbengas were never able to lead again.
Creed, a Wranglers veteran, iced four free throws in the final minute to push the margin out to the seven-point final margin.
Post-game he told The Standard the experienced side had played in nine of 10 grand finals in the past five years.
"We're making a bit of a dynasty," he said.
"We've played together so long.
"Young teams struggle at first and as they mature and improve, get physically stronger, they start to challenge, but then they go off to Melbourne or uni for work, or they start playing footy more seriously.
"It looked like it was heading for an upset for part of the game - these young guys really pushed us and will probably give us a bit of trouble if they stick around."
The Mbengas' Damian Grays was rewarded for his consistent play, named grand final MVP after giving the Wranglers trouble all night.