By Kasey Cornwell
The Ballarat Skoda Rush came away with a 9-point win over the Frankston Lady Blues, Friday night at the MARS Minerdome, 73 – 64.
Ballarat’s Jaterra Bonds was almost unstoppable with 16 points, 9 assists and 11 boards. Ashleigh Splash Spencer with a solid 19 points and Molly Matthews played a stellar game with 18 points and 4 assists. The tall, Joy Burke was dependable once more with 10 points and 13 boards.
Despite having the talented, Carley Mijovic scoring 29 points and 7 rebounds and Chelsea Snyder with 12 points, Frankston could not steal the win away from Ballarat on their home court.
Offensively, Ballarat was cohesive as soon as the game commenced and Molly Mattthews showed the crowd her extra practice this week, opening the score. At the first timeout, Head Coach Dave Flint, reminded his side to not let Frankston get to the basket so easily, by increasing their intensity on the defense.
At the first break, Ballarat led by 5 points, 19 – 14. Frankston’s Head Coach Michael Brookens was cool, calm and collected and focused on the positives. His side was defensively doing well, much better at closing out. He told his side that they are getting some great looks, but a bit more movement on the offense should improve their scoring prowess.
Claire Constable, got a run early in the second term, and quickly delivered with a deep 2, to extend the Rush lead to 7. Joy Burke was getting plenty of attention in the key, and notched up her second personal foul at the 8:38 mark of the term. Frankston kept chipping away, and by the mid point of the term, had leveled the scores at 23 a piece. This appeared to be a change in ball movement offensively for them selected their shot well.
Coach Flint called for a timeout at the 5:36 mark, as his side was now 6 points down, 23 – 29. He spoke about defense, perhaps switching to a man and the importance of boxing out. Offensively, he asked his side to utilise Splash on the high post.
Jaterra took back the lead at the 3 minute mark and Frankston quickly called a timeout. Brookens’ message was simple, his side are just not working quick enough on offense and urged the Lady Blues to pick up the tempo.
Kristy Rinaldi ended the first half with a long 3, to ensure that Ballarat led, 37 – 36 at the main break.
Into the third, Jaterra exploded with a fast break and Rinaldi was strong against Mijovic. Coach Brookens told Frankston at the first timeout for the term (7:30) that he needs them to use Mijovic more, create space offensively and do not rely on the one-shot offence.
Burke was dominant at the 6 minute mark, with a rare 3 point shot and 2 impressive steals, all in a matter of 30 seconds. Frankston switched to a small lineup in the last 2 minutes, and Joy was almost alone in the key, doing plenty of work for the Rush.
Taylah Wynne stepped onto the court and quickly delivered with an open look, and with 30 seconds to go levelled the scores on 49 all. However, at the third quarter break Frankston had the lead, 51 – 49.
Flint congratulated his side on keeping their opponents score lower in that term, and urged them to continue this into the fourth. He noted the small things off the ball really help in the long run, he asked his side to continue to box out, and block the bigs from the key to help out Burke.
A tight fourth quarter, saw Spencer, Bonds and Burke all contribute offensively early, and with just over 5 minutes remaining Coach Brookens told Frankston at the timeout to put more pressure on Ballarat, to attack the basket and push the ball through transition.
Late in the fourth, Matthews’ big 3 excited the home crowd, to push the lead to 5 (65 – 60). Flint commended his side on their defense and encouraged them to continue their hard work. He spoke about them offensively spreading it out and not getting caught in traffic. He asked the side to continue to move the ball around and to not get lazy with the one pass and just shoot.
Matthews, Spencer and Rinaldi were excellent in the dying seconds, securing their home win by 9 points.
Such an important win at home, Ashleigh Spencer said how great it is, confidence boosting for her and the team. She noted the team has been working so hard and its nice for it to pay off with a pivotal win at home, its so much fun, said Splash.