Despite forcing a fatigued Launceston Tornadoes into more turnovers, the Integra Ballarat Rush were unable to get over the line last Sunday at the MARS® MINERDOME, falling to the Tornadoes 62-55.
The Rush were shorthanded from the start – absences through injury were not able to be filled by Youth League Rush players as they were playing in a Youth League finals game, leaving the senior side with just seven players.
The collaborative defensive effort by the Rush to start the game saw the Tornadoes held to a 9-point first quarter, at 21% shooting from the field. The Rush’s aggression on offence also seemed to play in their favour, as all five of the starters were able to get on the board in the first quarter. With a Launceston team on their heels, the Rush looked to have a stronghold on the match.
The Tornadoes would go on a scoring rampage in the second quarter to get the game within two going into the main break. With Launceston’s Lauren Mansfield leading the way, the Tornadoes would raise their shooting percentage significantly, while simultaneously upping their defensive pressure to hold the Rush to a 10-point second term.
The Rush would maintain their lead for most of the third quarter before the Abby Bishop/Mansfield duo became too much for the Rush to handle. The Tornadoes went on a 13-2 run shortly after the main break to take the lead and would not lose that lead for the remainder of the game.
The Rush gave their best efforts in the final term to be in position to win the game, putting a stifling defensive pressure on the Tornadoes to allow for four steals in the fourth quarter alone, and getting within two points with just under two minutes remaining in the contest, but the Tornadoes were able to hold on in the end, getting the win, 62-55.
Bishop and Mansfield were clearly the best on court for the Tornadoes. Combining for 52 of the team’s 65 points, they were an unstoppable pair that caused a lot of problems for the Rush. Bishop also chipped in for 16 rebounds, while Mansfield shot 55% from the field.
Shooting woes plagued the Rush for a second weekend in a row, shooting just 30% from the field for the game. Steph Cumming struggled offensively but was still able to contribute 17 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals to the total. Captain Kristy Rinaldi continued her season of solild play with 13 points, six rebounds and four assists. Rush young gun Abbey Wehrung and import Nya Mason led the team in rebounds with seven apiece; Wehrung with nine points and Mason with eight.
Upcoming for the Rush is a bye weekend before a doubleheader weekend that sees them travelling to the State Basketball Centre Saturday, 2 August, to take on the Knox Raiders, then returning to the MARS® MINERDOME the next day to take on the Kilsyth Cobras from midday.