Shyla Heal produced another scintillating shooting display to lead the Townsville Fire to a thrilling 65-62 win over the Melbourne Boomers in Friday night's WNBL preliminary final.
Just two days after scoring 30 points in a 106-93 semi-final loss to the Southside Flyers, Heal drained 28 points on 11-of-14 shooting against the Boomers to lead her side to victory.
The result sets up a re-match against the Flyers in Sunday's grand final in Townsville.
But the Fire's preliminary final victory didn't come without drama.
Townsville looked to have the result in the bag after opening up a nine-point lead with just four minutes remaining.
The Boomers produced an 8-0 run to close the margin to one point, before two free-throws from Heal gave Townsville a three-point buffer with 21 seconds to go.
Melbourne had two opportunities to level the scores, but both Ezi Magbegor and Madeleine Garrick missed their long-range attempts.
Magbegor scored 19 points in a strong display and Cayla George was influential for the Boomers with 15 points.
But it was Heal who proved the ultimate difference.
The daughter of former Boomer Shane Heal was on fire from the outset, nailing a series of key shots to help her team overcome an early five-point deficit on the way to a 22-17 lead at quarter time.
Melbourne's Tess Madgen sunk two three-pointers in the opening term, and she drilled another early in the second quarter to keep her side within striking distance at the long break.
Heal starred during the third quarter, scoring 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting to help the Fire open up a 54-47 advantage at three-quarter time.
The margin would have been even bigger if it wasn't for some important baskets from George.
But the Boomers had a big problem entering the last quarter - how to stop Heal.
The 19-year-old produced arguably the moment of the match early in the final quarter when she wrestled the ball off an opponent and sunk a long bomb from well beyond the arc.
That move gave Townsville a 59-50 lead with less than seven minutes remaining.
And when the Boomers threatened to snatch victory at the death, Heal stepped up again to nail two clutch free-throws.
"That's why we recruited her," Fire coach Shannon Seebohm told Fox Sports after the match.
"I know people like to think she's 19, but I've seen her since she was five years old and I know how hard she works.
"I couldn't be happier for her. She has such a bright future and I'm so happy she's on our team."
The Fire collected the wooden spoon last season, and will start as underdogs against the Opal-laden Flyers.
Australian Associated Press