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Darren Snowdon

Proud Townsville Fire coach lauds WNBL champions

Townsville Fire's Shannon Seebohm has been left celebrating another WNBL triumph. (Morgan Hancock/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Townsville Fire coach Shannon Seebohm has expressed his pride in helping deliver the North Queensland franchise their fourth WNBL championship following their 2-0 grand-final series sweep over Southside Flyers.

Seebohm took the head coaching role at Townsville in 2020 and made an immediate impact, guiding the Fire to a grand final berth while winning the league's Coach of the Year award for the second time.

But a 17-point loss to Southside in the title decider on Wednesday meant the Fire would have to wait before adding another trophy to go alongside the three national league championships claimed between 2015 and 2018 during the era of club stalwart and six-time league MVP Suzy Batkovic.

After missing the finals in the 2021/22 campaign, Townsville's reconstructed roster came to life by winning their last 12 games of the regular season before sweeping Perth Lynx and Southside in the finals.

"We are so proud to have finally got over the line It's been a couple of years, a bit of a grind. I can't be happier for the team to have finally done it," Seebohm said following Townsville's 82-69 victory in game two at Melbourne's State Basketball Centre.

Seebohm brought in plenty of international experience during the off-season by adding WNBA champion Tianna Hawkins, fellow American Mikaela Ruef and Great Britain national team member Karlie Samuelson to a Townsville squad boasting Australian guards Lauren Nicholson and Steph Reid.

After an inconsistent start to the season, Townsville came alive once their star-studded line-up built some continuity and the late-season addition of Opals guard Shyla Heal helped bolster their bench scoring.

A scorching finish to the regular season resulted in honours for Hawkins (All-WNBL First Team), Nicholson (All-WNBL Second Team) and Reid (Golden Hands) at the league's awards night, while Seebohm claimed his third Coach of the Year gong.

But now the 34-year-old coach can add a national league title to his list of accomplishments after the minor premiers' successful post-season run.

After scoring 20 points in Townsville's record-setting 31-point home victory in game one of the series, Hawkins sat for most of the first half of game two due to foul trouble but came up big in the fourth quarter to help the Fire overcome a five-point deficit and secure grand final MVP honours.

An emotional Hawkins dedicated the victory to her seven-year-old son who returned home to America in December.

"I can't wait to get home and see him but this is for him," the 32-year-old centre as she collected her MVP award.

"It has not been easy but (Townsville) made it easy every single day so thank you and I cannot wait to get home."

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