Warrnambool Mermaids' Big V championship winning run came down to momentum, belief, and as it has all season, defence.
The Mermaids triumphed with a clean-sweep of the division one grand final, with an experienced trio lifting in game two to oust Sherbrooke 66-61.
It came off the back of a 69-61 away win in game one, with the Mermaids in the box seat to clinch the series in front of a passionate supporter base at the Arc.
And they wasted no time, dominating the first half with suffocating defence.
Coach Lee Primmer said the plan was to get a good start before holding their nerve during the Suns' late run.
"We did a good job defensively," he said. "They had the MVP of the league in Ariel Hearn, who is a star.
"She made some shots that not too many people can make and had a lot of good support.
"It did get scary at the end but I think with the experienced group we had on, we were able to hold our form and be steady down the line.
"Katie O'Keefe, Lou Brown, Amy Wormald, fantastic in the clutch late."
The Suns started quickly with the first baskets of the night, with Hearn looking in good touch. But a series of steals followed by danger-like threes from Lou Brown turned the game back in the Mermaids favour 20-16 at quarter time.
The home side continued to dominate, with Amy Wormald active under the boards and team defence in full swing to stretch the lead to 11 at half time.
Continuing their assent, the Mermaids' lead ballooned out to 21 in the third before the Suns sprung into action, garnering momentum late in the quarter to bring it back within 13.
The visitors continued their late run well into the fourth, inching within two points with 1.58 on the clock.
But with an experienced line-up on court, the Mermaids steadied with two crucial steals from O'Keefe and Brown to get to the line and ice the game.
Brown topped scoring with 18 points (including three threes) while O'Keefe, who had 16 points, eight rebounds and three steals, was rewarded with finals MVP honours. Wormald finished with a double-double consisting of 14 points and 18 rebounds.
The Mermaids have been on a tear in the later stretch of the season, winning their last seven games, with Primmer pleased with the tenacity his group showed in the face of early hurdles.
"We lost a couple early but probably since the middle of May, we've lost one game," he said. "We have been the form team in the league since then.
"We're not different to anyone else, we've had our health issues with COVID-19 and flu. We lost Alana Strom to an ACL and Liv Fuller to footy.
"In saying that, opportunities open up for other people and certainly Matilda Sewell took control of the five spot and her last month of basketball has been great."
Warrnambool's latest championship adds to a long lineage of success in the program, with Primmer confident the Mermaids are the greatest representative of sporting success in the town.
"If you look along (the rafters) Warrnambool Mermaids would have to be the most successful team to come out of this town," he said. "You just have to look at a state competition and the championships, you just keep seeing them up there.
"Our girls in this town are really great sports people and we've been fortunate enough that the Mermaids have won, I think it might be championship seven now."
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