The Lady Supercats have bounced back strongly from last weekend’s double-header defeat in Tasmania to conquer SEABL newcomer Diamond Valley in thrilling circumstances at the Geelong Arena on Saturday night.
Supporters of both sides witnessed an entertaining contest as momentum ebbed and flowed across the 40 minutes with Geelong ultimately prevailing by just one point, 67-66.
The visitors to the home of the reigning champions started best, opening up a four-point break at quarter time, 21-17. Such was the evenness of the two sides they were square at 36 points apiece at the main interval. A dour, low-scoring third quarter ensued as both sides struggled to find the basket, although the home side edged ahead by two points at the last change, 48-46.
“One of the key focuses for us was trying to keep them to no more than 12 points in both the third and fourth quarters,” acting coach Glenn Sharp said, filling in for the absent David Herbert.
“We did that in both quarters, limiting them to 10, so that was really pleasing.”
Imports Chelsea Poppens and Daniela Wallen showcased their immense talents for the first time in front of the appreciative hometown crowd, also delighting the stand-in coach.
“They’re getting better every game, if you have a look at how they were in Tassie, we were really trying to get the feelers out for them and then this week I think they’ll really started to play our brand of basketball,” Sharp said.
“I think every week they’ll get better and we’ll get stronger.
“Popps (Poppens, 20 points) made some really good baskets, while Danny (Daniela Wallen) just kept running hard towards the end of the game as well.
“So it was just really good to be able to keep them on during that clutch stage of the game.”
Geelong entered the game wary of the influence of the visitor’s powerhouse centre Lauren Scherf, and, not surprisingly she proved the biggest obstacle to the Supercats’ progress pouring in a game high 23 points.
“She had a blinder of a game and certainly got the upperhand on us,” Sharp said.
“We had to make a few adjustments and we trained all week figuring out how we were going to contend with the ball going in and ultimately prevent it going in.
“Except tonight they still got it in and then once she caught it we had to re-adjust and then when we made the adjustment, and made her play off that catch we were able to slow her down a bit.”
Sharp singled out Ebony Rolph for special mention in his post-game appraisal.
“She was terrific in getting some critical rebounds at the defensive end for us,” he said.
“Then just keeping the ball alive.
“Offensively she made some good baskets and kept going strong towards the end of the game, too.”
Captain Alex Duck was her effervescent self, providing great on-court leadership, along with scoring 15 points, while sisters Charlie and Isa Brancatisano impacted the game from outside the arc with eight and nine points respectively.