Southside flies late to fire back at Townsville
IN a grand final rematch between two teams looking to maintain momentum after respective Round 1 wins, the Southside Flyers got revenge on the Townsville Fire for last season’s WNBL Grand Final result.
Trailing for the majority of the match, the Flyers came up with some clutch plays late in the game to claim an inspired comeback victory, 75-74 at the Townsville Entertainment Centre. The result puts an end to a 17-game winning streak for the Fire in a statement performance from Southside.
For the majority of the first quarter, both teams were efficient with their scoring and applying the defensive pressure at a high pace.
Whilst the Fire’s ball movement and the flow of the offensive end was free flowing, the Flyers found momentum in the second quarter, lifting their defence and getting stops.
Steph Reid was instrumental in the first half, driving to the basket in transition, shooting the ball with confidence from the field, and instrumental on the defensive end.
Zitina Aokuso continued her brilliant form from Round 1, being a key figure in the post and also a presence on the boards.
For the Flyers, Mercedes Russell was influential, having an impact on both ends of the floor, whilst Jasmine Dickey made her opportunities count off the bench, making some great plays for her side and opening up opportunities for others on the perimeter.
Most categories were even in the first half, with their shooting percentages from the field, the Fire shot 18/34 at 52 per cent, compared to the Flyers’ 19/33 at 57 per cent. The Flyers were efficient on the defensive rebounds, 13-9, while both teams were even turnovers wise, 6-4 to the Flyers.
It was a grind for both teams offensively in the third quarter, and was much the same in the last term. The likes of Courtney Woods had a blinder throughout the game, making her opportunities and hitting some clutch baskets to give the Fire the lead. However it was Nyadiew Puoch who lifted, hitting some clutch free throws to put the Flyers back in front and Russell with the crucial rebound to seal victory for Southside.
For the Flyers, Russell finished the game with 22 points, six rebounds and one assist. Maddison Rocci stepped up in the absence of Rebecca Cole in the point guard position, posting 13 points, six assists and three rebounds. Carley Ernst was influential off the bench, finishing the game with 12 points, three rebounds and one assists while Puoch had 10 points, four rebounds and two assists.
For the Fire, Reid finished the game with 18 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Woods was also influential off the bench, finishing the game with 15 points, four rebounds and one assist. Aokuso delivered 14 points and three rebounds while Sami Whitcomb had a double-double of 11 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.