By Kasey Cornwell
The Harvey Norman Ballarat Rush stormed home with an 8 point win over Nunawading Lady Spectres 66 – 58.
The Rush side looked strong and focused for their final home game. Olivia Thompson contributed 23 points to the Rush total. Co-captains; Abbey Wehrung with 14 points, 4 assists and Kristy Rinaldi on 10 points, 9 rebounds.
Ballarat Rush came out of the blocks firing on Saturday night with a smooth fast paced brand of basketball. The side had great shot selection, finishing the quarter on 68% from the field.
Nunawading took the lead for the first time early in the second term, after a period of missed opportunities from both sides. Midway through the term Olivia Thompson broke this drought and the Rush side lifted their defensive pressure, and forced Nunawading to use all of the shot clock. Sophie Alexander and Shanae Greaves combined to provide some spark offensively late in the term.
The Rush entered the main break 7 points up, 39 – 32, with the Ballarat forwards chipping in 16 points in the paint. The side continued to force Nunawading to use all of the shot clock and looked intimidating defensively. Nunawading responded and imposed a double team on the Rush ball carrier, and this forced some bad passes. Even so, Rush finished the period 54 – 46.
The fourth, was a hard fought physical battle and the Rush team looked connected and ended the final term leading 66 – 58, shooting 49.1% from the field.
Head Coach Peter Cunningham was really pleased with his side, as the Rush have really improved over the course of the season, and were able to stand up physically and mentally to a side that kept fighting.
Cunningham, noted he wanted the team to focus on defence, and keep Nunawading under 60 points. He also wanted the team to assist others more and engage everyone in the play. It was evident Saturday night that the side has gelled really well together over the season.
The Rush side was incredibly happy to get the win for the last home game in front of a supportive home crowd. Cunningham is proud of his team this season and knows that next year will bring exciting things. He is delighted to see young team members like Molly Matthews, Sophie Alexander and Kasey Burton look like they belong out on the court and the experienced players of Kristy Rinaldi and Abbey Wehrung bringing others into the game.
The Harvey Norman Ballarat Rush will meet Kilsyth next Saturday, 22 August 2015 at 6:00pm at Kilsyth for their last appearance of the season.