NOT even false fire alarms at Warwick Basketball Stadium couldn’t stop the red hot rampage from Victoria Metropolitan girls on Tuesday night.
VICTORIA METROPOLITAN GIRLS
The under-16 action claimed its first victim on Tuesday evening – an accidental setting off of the court’s fire alarms, leaving everyone to evacuate and halt play between Victoria Metropolitan girls and Queensland South.
But Metro intensity never slowed on court as they weathered QLD South’s best in the first half before unleashing in the third. Their defence proved problematic for the Queenslanders to handle. With a whopping 23 steals to the roster’s name, Alexandra Keating (16 points, Gemma Potter (14 points, seven rebounds, seven steals), Erin Riley (12 points, six steals) gave no inch to the opposition.
There were no free transitions for the maroons – every possession, every attempted exit from the Vic Metro half created more headaches.
QLD South pushed the press back onto our girls, but it was too little too late as our guards found the narrowest of gaps in the defence.
Sharing the workload, Courtney Willemse (11 points) and Chelsea Valenti-Paea (10 points, seven rebounds) also found their range to push Metro across the line emphatically.
While the final score-line is always pleasing, Metro’s relentless defence and willingness to scrap for any possession – even 30 points up in the dying seconds – speaks volumes of their focus this week. Wins will be celebrated after the fact; there’s no time to slow down on court until the job is done.
Vic Metro girls head coach Sam Thornton was impressed with all aspects of her roster’s Tuesday – handling the back-to-back fixture, added workload and returning focused following the fire alarm delay.
“We got a bit of a spell, a bit of a rest, some of the girls had played some pretty big minutes this morning and today – so we took them aside, kept them warm and had a bit of a talk about how you don’t have control over these things – the uncontrollable things,” Thornton said. “We didn’t want them to get that nervous energy about it – so we just kept it very low key and talked about the next play we’d use when we came in and just left them to it.
“They came out ready to play which I was very impressed with and our support staff were terrific.”
Even the nearly-voiceless Chelsea Suemai – who might have to rest from her mighty MVP cheering efforts courtside – popped up in the final seconds and had her head rattled in an accidental clash – as the side stuck to the overall team ethos and team effort to clamp down on the Queenslanders.
“Chelsea is getting her head smashed in, but we play with a lot of passion,” Thornton said. “We play with relentless defence and I know 58 points, you might think that’s quite a fair bit, but we didn’t give them an easy shot at any point and showed them how we play our best defence.
“We’ve still a long way to go – but we talk about 24 seconds in games. Just taking it one 24-second clock at a time, one quarter at a time and not looking any further ahead… and the girls did us proud today.”
The Vic Metro efforts on Tuesday night were made even more impressive after seeing off SA Country 79-52 in their morning clash.
Gemma Potter (22 points, 10 rebounds) had a field day alongside Alexandra Keating (11 points), Erin Riley (11 points) and Georgia Baldwin (eight points, 11 rebounds).
Metro Girls will front up for the late clash on Court 1, squaring off against the home side WA Metro.
VICTORIA COUNTRY GIRLS
HEARTBREAK on Court 4 left Vic Country girls to taste their first defeat of the under-16 championships in a 67-70 epic against SA Metro.
South Australia Metro was dotted with amazing talls, but it’s safe to say Jade Melbourne (15 points, eight assists, six rebounds) stood tallest. Melbourne’s attack on the basket left SA Metro to double down… and leave the lanes wide open. Piper Dunlop (18 points, eight rebounds) and Alisha Knights (17 points, six rebounds) thrived on the open looks Melbourne and the whole roster took it to the SA Metro side early.
But the height never wavered and SA Metro started to gain aerial ascendancy, taking the lead to start the fourth.
— Basketball Victoria (@Basketball_Vic) July 11, 2017
From there the lead was up for grabs as both sides had a crack at breaking it open. Pollerd and Melbourne made their shots in the clinch moments – especially Melbourne’s clutch three in the dying seconds to keep the clash alive… but in the end the clock put our girls out of the reckoning.
Keeping the high-calibre clashes going, our Pool B second-ranked Country girls will battle NSW Metro, which sits atop the table. Buckle in for another thriller from 1pm on Court 4.
VICTORIA METROPOLITAN BOYS
They had to cool down and take the tape off in the carpark, but it was all in a day’s work for Metro’s youngest men following their 93-74 win over QLD South. They reigned on the glass – snatching 53 rebounds through the likes of Paul Tsapatolis (18 points, 13 rebounds), Fraser Elliot (nine points, seven rebounds) and Leyi Adebayo (four points, seven rebounds) – and followed it up on the perimeter. Luke Cleary (18 points) and Josh Woodford (16 points) knocked in the treys and kept the screws tightened on the Queenslanders.
The undefeated Metro boys also face WA Metro today, setting up a first vs third clash in Pool A.
VICTORIA COUNTRY BOYS
The country boys were left to lick their wounds following another heartbreaker for the Country contingent in Perth. A 73-79 loss to WA Country has pushed the Vic Country boys down the ranks, despite the best efforts of Ethan Fiegert (24 points, 10 rebounds), Dyson Daniels (10 points, eight rebounds) and Luis D’Angelo (10 points, five assists, five rebounds).
But today is another day and the Country boys will look to put the start of the week behind them in their clash against QLD North from 3pm.
AUSTRALIAN JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS – DAY 5 FIXTURE
Vic Country Girls v NSW Metro, Court 4, 1pm (Perth time)
Vic Country Boys v QLD North, Court 5, 3pm
Vic Metro Boys v WA Metro, Court 1, 3.30pm
Vic Metro Girls v WA Metro, Court 1, 7.30pm