The Youth League Ballarat Rush looked to make it back-to-back wins on Sunday afternoon as they took on the Kilsyth Cobras at the MARS® MINERDOME.
The Rush faced an uphill battle as they were without star forward Kasey Burton due to SEABL commitments. However in the early going it was clear that this wouldn’t be an issue as Ballarat had multiple avenues to the basket.
Breanna Mackenzie held up the Cobras’ offense in the first quarter, connecting on a multitude of tough layups and jumpers.
Ballarat’s Molly Mathews (pictured) had an answer for everything Kilsyth threw at her, creating good looks for herself and others of the dribble, especially in low shot-clock situations.
With both teams putting on a good offensive display throughout the first period, scores were tied with just seconds remaining. A Ballarat foul in the backcourt put Elise Dykes at the line to break the deadlock and give the visitors a slim one-point lead at quarter time.
The Rush’s Lydia Brooks proved to be the difference maker as the home squad started to create a buffer. Kilsyth couldn’t do anything to stop Brooks on the boards at both ends. A seemingly endless amount of offensive rebounds saw Brooks scoring on second chance opportunities and getting to the charity stripe.
Facing a seven-point deficit to start the second half, the Cobras turned to their lively young point guard, Taylah Black off the bench to provide some energy.
Black proved essential in kick-starting the visitors offense as she consistently got good penetration and either finished at the rim or dished to a teammate for quality looks.
A swift rush timeout quelled this potential momentum shift, and a focus on defense saw Ballarat close out the quarter and take what seemed like an insurmountable lead into the final stanza.
Black and Mackenzie continued to grind for the Cobras, but Ballarat were relentless. Claire Constable got going in the closing stages to stick the nail in Kilsyth’s coffin.
With time running short and the game’s result beyond doubt, it gave Rush coach Darren Govan a chance to empty his bench and give the younger girls some valuable playing time. Jess Tempany looked good in just under four minutes of action, competing hard on the defensive end and providing quick points.
Ballarat inevitably took the victory comfortably, 60-42 in a very successful day’s play.
Lydia Brooks led the way with 13 points and an astonishing 18 rebounds, while Molly Matthews also notched a double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds)