Gold Coast, AUSTRALIA (Sept 21) - Chris Sneed won everything on offer, including the Continental Basketball Association's national championship with the Cairns Marlins over the weekend.

Sneed's 29 points and 17 rebounds gave him the National Grand Final MVP award, and the Marlins' their first national title after finishing as runners-up twice before - in 1994 and 1997 - extending the championship dominance of Queensland to a second year.

Cairns have now appeared in more national championship games (3) than any other team, and Sneed has won more national awards than any player - he captured both the National MVP and the grand final MVP awards, and was named All-CBA.

Add to that his North Conference MVP award, All-Conference honours, and Sunshine Allstar status, and Sneed is the most decorated player for a single year in CBA history. (Remarkably, he was also East Conference MVP with Dandenong Rangers last year.)

Cairns beat Frankston Blues 88-74 in the national grand final, after trailing at the end of every previous quarter.

In a frenetic start to the game, both teams were trading baskets at breakneck pace with Frankston's better outside shooting (6-11) giving them an 8 point half time advantage.

Early in the second half the game began to turn sour for Cairns when guard George Butler picked up his 5th foul for the game.

Not wishing to risk his early exit, Cairns coach Rod Popp turned to his bench in Aaron Fearne (7pts) and Chris Higginson (6pts) to fill the void.

Their intensity lifted the Marlins as they began to find the net with big shots and shut down Frankston (12 points for the Quarter) to reduce the deficit to 1 point at the last change.

With the momentum behind them, the Marlins continued to push the Blues and after taking the lead with eight minutes to go never looked back. Tim Duggan's consecutive three pointers sealing the issue.

Cairns rebounding advantage (50-38) demonstrated by Chris Sneed's haul of 17 for the match.

Go to the CBA Mens Finals Homepage for full scoring details and 1998 national awards.

In the womens grand final, Kilsyth Cobras secured their first CBA national championship by beating perennial powers Knox Raiders 87-69 on the Gold Coast.

In the second term Kilsyth made the match winning move as Cobras guard Andrea Cartledge lit up for seven points to take the half time break to 13 points.

Cartledge won the grand final MVP award after recording 21 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Also over the weekend, she was named All-CBA.

Go to the CBA Womens Finals Homepage for full scoring details and 1998 national awards.

Perth, AUSTRALIA (Sept 21) - Cockburn Cougars and Bunbury Slammers swept their way over the weekend into the Western Australia State League grand final.

Go to the SBL Mens Results for the WA semi final scores and NSW round 19.

Cockburn, led by Alan Erickson's 27ppg, have beaten Bunbury on both occasions this year, but both times only by single figure margins.

James Fitch will lead Bunbury with his 24ppg.

Just one week remains in the New South Wales State League regular season, with all four play-off berths secured.

In the womens WA State League grand final, Australian Opal Jenny Whittle will lead Perry Lakes Lady Hawks after they also swept their way into the season decider. They play Willetton Tigers who won their semi final series 2-1.

Go to the SBL Womens Results for the WA semi final scores and NSW round 19.

Los Angeles, USA (Sept 21) - The NBA's locked out, but you can still buy the new NBA Official Rules and 1998-99 Official Guide among the 20 new listings right here at Australia Hoops' The Bookstore.

Larry Bird's new Autobiography and the latest info' on Collecting Basketball Cards are also now available, in the latest books expected to be released this month.

Buy these recommended basketball books and more, and save up to 40%, at The Bookstore.

Sydney, AUSTRALIA (Sept 20) - The Australian Opals took out their series 3-2 over the United States despite losing to world and olympic champions in the final two games.

USA won game #5 in Sydney 71-53.

The loss of Michele Timms to an ankle injury in game two and Annie LaFleur to a back injury prior to game three, left coach Tom Maher with reduced fire power in the back court, reports Basketball Australia.

Despite an impressive display by Kristi Harrower and a serviceable job by the late replacement Tully Bevilaqua, the US backcourt combination of Katie Smith, Nikki McCray and Shannon Johnson proved too big a burden in the final two matches.

This scenario was exemplified in game five where McCray, Smith and Johnson combined for (38) of the USA's (71) points.

For Australia 17-year-old Lauren Jackson was the standout of the series leading all scores to average 15.8 points, 1.8 blocks and 6 rebounds.

For the USA, Katie Smith and Nikki McCray averages 12.2 and 11.6 points per game respectively followed closely by Tina Thompson who averaged 8 points and 8 rebounds over the five game series.

McCray and Smith have already been selected as two of six representatives in the USA's 2000 Olympic team and Tina Thompson is sure to figure in one of the remaining spots.

Melbourne, AUSTRALIA (Sep 14) - Strong second half performances by both winners in the Continental Basketball Association semi finals over the weekend have assured that a new national champion will be crowned after next weekends CTC National Championship Grand Final on the Gold Coast.

Both teams have appeared in the national title game before without success - Frankston losing to Ballarat in '95 while Cairns lost to Ballarat in '94 & Suncoast by 2 in '97.

Fans are guaranteed a first time champion - will it be East Conference first ever title or will it be third time lucky for Cairns from the North Conference.

See the Cairns Semi Final report. Go to the CBA Mens Finals Homepage

In the Womens finals, Both South Conference qualifiers earnt their way through to the CTC Resources National Womens Championship Grand Final by easily winning their respective semi finals.

Knox Raiders won a strongly contested game eliminated Brisbane based Southern District Spartans who are still to reach the big game after four consecutive national semi final apperances. See the Southern Districts Semi Final report.

Kilsyth Cobras (South conference champs) progressed with a strong performance putting the fire out on Central Conference's Norwood Flames.

Can the Cobras repeat their conference title performance or will Knox add to their 3 from 3 National titles by getting revenge?

Go to the CBA Womens Finals Homepage.

Perth, AUSTRALIA (Sep 14) - Bunbury Slammers provided the upset in the opening game of Western Australia's State League semi final series over the weekend, by snatching a 1-0 series lead against home side Burswood Redbacks.

In the other semi final, Cockburn Cougars, who finished well clear at the top in WA at end of the regular season, easily accounted for Perry Lakes Hawks.

Tickets for the SBL grand final in a fortnight are selling fast - already 1,100 of the 2,600 available have sold, even before the combatants are known.

Game #2 and #3 if required of the semi final series continue this weekend.

In the New South Wales State League, Bankstown Bruins and Illawarra Hawks are the only two mens teams to have secured their semi final berths, with just two weeks of the regular season left.

Go to the latest SBL Mens Scores and the latest SBL Womens Scores from across the country.

Adelaide, AUSTRALIA (Sep 14) - The Australian Opals defeated the USA 70-67 in Adelaide to grab a 3-0 lead and clinch the five game series against the World and Olympic champions.

The Opals have now played seven games in twelve days with Lauren Jackson being the leading scorer for all of the games to date. This time she top scored with (24) points and (10) rebounds before being forced out of the game with a shoulder injury late in the second half, reports Basketball Australia.

The USA held a four-point lead at the half after the Opals trailed by as much as nine points at one stage during the first half. However, within one minute of the second half, the Opals took the lead and the final minutes went down to the wire.

Both teams had opportunities throughout the second half but a desperation 3-pointer by Kristi Harrower with one minute left in the game broke the deadlock between the two teams.

Allison Cook got the starting nod in game three of the series and led the team for the first minutes of the game, finishing with (8) first half points.

Tully Bevilaqua flew into Adelaide today to join the Opals after a back injury at this morning's training forced Annie La Fleur out of the line up.

Bevilaqua was called into the squad only due to La Fleur's injury, despite Bevilaqua being good enough to be drafted by the ABL this year, and earn a contract in the WNBA.

The quality and depth of womens basketball in Australia at present really is something to behold.

The series moves to Wollongong and then Sydney.

Cairns, AUSTRALIA (Sep 13) - Cairns Marlins have blasted into their third Continental Basketball Association national championship game, to become the most successful CBA team in the country. Well sort of.

Only one other team has played in two National grand finals - Ballarat Miners in 1994-95, winning them both. Cairns, however, lost their two previous appearances, in 1994 against Ballarat, and last year against Suncoast Clippers.

Win this time, and their place in history is assured, just 12 months before the Cairns franchise enters the National Basketball League for its 1999-2000 season.

The Marlins' national grand final berth came thanks to their 105-84 win over Geelong Supercats in Cairns last night.

After the scores were tied 50-all at the half, the famed Marlins defence kicked in to restrict the visitors to just 34 points after the main break.

George Butler again led the Marlins , this time with a national finals high 44-points, 24 of which came in that decisive second half.

Rodney "Sky" Walker led the Supercats with 26 points for the game.

Cairns Basketball Inc. is currently seeking expressions of interest for a new CBA Head Coach. What they aren't saying is that there will be mighty big shoes to fill, with current coach Rod Popp moving to the NBL coaching duties.

See the CBA Mens Finals Homepage.

Brisbane, AUSTRALIA (Sep 13) - While their North Conference mens counterparts Cairns Marlins were making themselves the most successful team ever (sort of), the Southern Districts Spartans womens team were becoming the biggest failures.

Spartans lost their fourth consecutive National Semi Final (three of them at home)- more than any other club in CBA history - when they went down to (Australian Hoops' new) title favourites Knox Raiders in Brisbane tonight.

The visiting Raiders beat Spartans 89-79 after leading 42-34 at half time.

Raiders were led by Carleigh Evans with 21 points, but the game-high score was posted by Trina Roberts with 34 points for the Spartans.

See the CBA Womens National Finals Homepage.

Melbourne, AUSTRALIA (Sep 13) - In Melbourne's Glasshouse, the Australian Opals grabbed their second straight win over world champions USA in game two their five-game series.

Australia won 62-51 as Lauren Jackson and Rachael Sporn led with (12) points each, Jackson also adding (8) rebounds and Sporn (4).

The first half showed a tight struggle between the two teams with the scores being kept within four points for the majority of the half, reports Basketball Australia.

However, with turnovers going Australia's way and a strong first half effort from 17 year old Jackson (9 points), the Australians went into the half-time break leading 34-30.

During the second half the USA found themselves in foul trouble, losing key players Natalie Williams and Delisha Milton. The Americans also had difficultly from the field with 23.5% of shots made in the second half as compared to the Australian who shot at 40%.

Katie Smith top scored for the USA with (15) points and Nikki McCray supported her teammate with (13) points.

Tragically Australian star Michele Timms is not expected to return to play in the remaining three games of the series after injuring her right ankle late in the second half. Gina Stevens is expected to step up to take Timms' place in the line up.

Townsville, AUSTRALIA (Sep 12) - The Townsville team in the National Basketball League have a new coach, a new name, and have now finalised their new roster, with foundation player Jason Cameron agreeing to continue his association with the team.

Last night the Townsville Crocodiles played their first serious match before the NBL's inaugural summer season next month, beating CBA side Townsville Heat 140-102.

New signing Andrew Goodwin, who comes to the team from the now-defunct North Melbourne Giants, says he is focused on making it to the championships with the Townsville Crocodiles, reports the ABC.

"Providing our team sticks together and gels really well I see the future of the Crocodiles as being a very strong franchise," he said.

In the pre-season match against the Heat, the Crocodiles won by 38 points after leading 73-50 at half time.

Simon Kerle led the Croc's with 33 points, including 23 in the first half. Chris Hall led the Heat with 19 points.

Brisbane, AUSTRALIA (Sep 12) - The failure of the Brisbane Blazers to remain solvent in the Womens National Basketball League is adding to a continuing loss of national league teams from the Queensland capital.

The Queensland Academy of Sport has expressed concern at the number of Brisbane's national sporting teams that have collapsed in the last month, reports the ABC.

The Brisbane Bandits mens team this week announced they are withdrawing from the Australian Baseball League, while the Brisbane Diamonds womens softball and Brisbane Blazers womens basketball teams have also disbanded.

QAS director Wilma Shakespeare says national teams are needed to help athletes progress to an international standard.

"Often it's the national league that provides a very important pathway to the development process for athletes," she said.

"I'd have to say it is a concern not only in this State but it's a concern across the country - how to keep national leagues financially viable."

Ipswich, AUSTRALIA (Sep 12) - The Brisbane Bullets are getting ready for the NBL season with a match against a team of Continental Basketball Association all-stars in Ipswich tonight.

It's the first major pre-season game for the Bullets, with tickets expected to be at a premium.

The match at Bundamba Stadium starts at 7:00pm, selling at $10 and $5.

Go to the Ipswich CBA team page for Venue address and details.

Perth, AUSTRALIA (Sep 11) - State Basketball League semi finals will be played in Western Australia this weekend, but in New South Wales things are really hotting up.

Bankstown Bruins became the first SBL team in New South Wales to clinch a play-off berth, when they took over top spot from Illawarra Hawks with an 81-80 win at Beaton Park.

Bruins got 15 points from former Sydney Kings NBL guard Jodie Austin, while the Hawks' former Kings and Australian Boomers guard Greg Hubbard was restricted to just 12 points.

See all the latest WA and NSW State League scores through the Australian Hoops Results Page.

Hobart, AUSTRALIA (Sep 11) - The Australian Opals took out game one against womens world champions USA in Hobart this week.

Australia won 68-63, led by teenage sensation Lauren Jackson with (20) points. Jo Hill also added (11) points to the Aussies total.

The first half was a tight struggle between the teams with the USA taking the lead early on. A two-pointer by Rachael Sporn leveled the teams with 2:25 remaining in the first half, inspiring the Opals to take charge, going into the break leading 41-36.

A strong defensive rebounding effort from the Opals kept them ahead of the world champions in the second half. The USA came within four points of the Opals with 1:30 remaining in the game but the Australian answered by keeping up the defensive pressure.

DeLisha Milton top scored for the USA with (17) points and Tina Thompson kept the world champions in touch with (15) rebounds.

The five game series now moves to Melbourne, Adelaide, Wollongong and Sydney.

Melbourne, AUSTRALIA (Sep 7) - The long-standing prediction remains that Cairns Marlins will play Frankston Blues in the CBA National mens grand final, and Southern Districts Spartans will qualify for the womens, with all the semi final action this Saturday night.

Check the Mens Quarter Finals scores and Womens Quarter Finals scores from this past weekend, and then read the summation direct from the CBA office:

After four tough games in the CTC Resources National championship quarter finals the survivors in the Mens Series are Hobart, Frankston, Cairns & Geelong as we head to the Final Four.

South Conference qualifiers had their National Title dominance broken last year when North Conference team Suncoast Clippers took the honours.

The South still have two contenders in the race in Hobart & Geelong. Sole North Conference survivor Cairns, last years runner up, are still in the race and very hungry as are East Conference qualifiers Frankston.

East teams have been eliminated in the quarters the last two years, but now the Blues are in good form reaching their first National semi since their 1995 grand final appearance, hoping to bring home the bacon for the East.

In their first season in the CBA format, both Central Conference teams Noarlunga & South Adelaide were eliminated in the first round of the Championship series.

In the womens National Finals, Central Conference qualifiers Norwood progressed through to the Semi finals with a strong second half performance eliminating North Conference runner up Ipswich.

Dual national title Champs Knox Raiders from the South continued their chances as they defeated Central champs North Adelaide, again with a dominant second half to keep their chances alive to secure an unprecedented third national championship.

A featured CBA National Semi Final will be updated on Australian Hoops as soon as the match finished this Saturday night, with all the scores available Monday night.

CBA Finals Homepages

Moscow, RUSSIA (Sep 7) - The Sydney Olympics will showcase some of the world's best basketballers, but not necessarilly on the basketball court.

American athlete Marion Jones may have given up a lot of money when she turned her back on a potential professional basketball career to concentrate on athletics, but she discovered this weekendthat her preferred sport can also offer rich rewards, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

Jones, once a promising college basketballer, walked away from the IAAF grand prix finals in Moscow more than $1.07 million richer after victories in the 100m and long jump.

The American was one of four athletes undefeated in the grand prix series and with a chance of sharing the $1.7 million Golden League jackpot.

One of the four - hurdler Bryan Bronson (US) - was beaten, leaving Jones to share the booty with Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj and Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie.

Jones's 3m victory in the 100m and 14cm margin in the long jump at the Luzhnicky Stadium netted her another $170,000. And to top it all off, Jones also accumulated the highest points in the series, thus earning another $340,000 as overall women's champion.

Jones is talking up the prospect of five gold medals at Sydney 2000 - the 100m and 200m, the long jump and the 4x100 and 4x200m relays. If she achieves that, there might be a few others leaving basketball for athletics.

Sydney, AUSTRALIA (Sep 7) - Australian women's basketball faces its moment of truth when it hosts reigning Olympic and world champions the United States in a five-match series starting in Hobart this week, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Opals won Australia's first senior medal at a world championship when they claimed bronze in Berlin three months ago, losing just one of nine matches - to Russia, in a semi-final.

The only leading nation Australia did not meet at the championship was the US, which has brought one of its strongest sides to this series.

Opals centre Rachel Sporn said Australia had been looking forward to the match-up with great anticipation and plenty of confidence after making a clean sweep of the four-match series against China this week.

"It's a little hard to gauge how we are playing, but the series against China has been good for our confidence and shows again that we have got great depth."

The Opals will call on their rising stars and some veterans to play out of position against the US, with four of their likely starters for the 2000 Olympics unavailable through European club commitments.

Forwards Carla Porter, Michelle Griffiths and Trish Fallon and starting guard Sandy Brondello are unavailable, while veteran Michele Timms and her understudy, Kristi Harrower, return after finishing second with Phoenix in the American WNBA.

Coach Tom Maher will have to use Sporn, skipper Robyn Maher, Jo Hill and Allison Cook to fill the void left by Griffiths, Porter and Fallon.

Sporn has been in top form since returning from a season with WNBA side Detroit Shock and said she had regained her confidence after an ankle injury in the last domestic WNBL season.

The Opals defeated China by 45 points in Dandenong over the weekend to make a clean sweep of the four-game series.

The final score was 119 to 74, with youngster Lauren Jackson shooting 27 and Alison Cook scoring 18.

Brisbane, AUSTRALIA (Sep 7) - It may be an inspired appointment, but historically speaking, sunstroke has hit the Brisbane Bullets in the lead-up to the inaugural National Basketball League summer season.

This reads like a TV soap - Bullets dump Kerle, Kerle replaced by Palmer, Bullets dump Palmer, Bullets re-appoint Kerle, Kerle hires Palmer as his assistant - but it's real.

The Brisbane Bullets now have the most experienced coaching staff in the NBL, following the signing of Bruce Palmer and Wayne Larkins as assistant coaches, reports the ABC.

Palmer, who was the Bullets' head coach from 1993 to 1995, and Larkins, a former player, have joined boss Brian Kerle and assistant Trevor Gleeson on the staff.

Palmer says the Bullets will benefit from the experience of the coaching team.

"Well, yes, I think the more people you get involved, the more you can do individually, and the more as a team," Palmer said.

"Full credit to Brian [Kerle]. He has given some responsibilities to both myself and Wayne [Larkins] and we've got Trevor Gleeson involved as well.

"I think one of Brian's strengths is giving them a task and allowing them to do it," he said.


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