Fire’s des­per­ate fi­nals bid con­tin­ues tonight

Townsville Bulletin - - Basketball - By KATE JACKA

THE Townsville Fire’s des­per­ate fi­nals bid con­tin­ues tonight when they host the Aus­tralian In­sti­tute of Sport in round 12 of the Women’s Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League.

Townsville have been con­vinc­ing against the AIS this sea­son, de­feat­ing the stu­dents 94-63 in round eight and 90-65 in round nine.

Any­thing short of vic­tory tonight would not only be a dis­ap­point­ment, it would al­most cer­tainly put an end to the club’s play­offs hopes.

Coach David Her­bert said to make the fi­nals, Townsville needed to take the rest of their sea­son pos­ses­sion by pos­ses­sion.

‘‘We’re pretty much fo­cused on the first quar­ter, the first pos­ses­sion,’’ he said.

‘‘If we don’t play for pos­ses­sion there’s ev­ery like­li­hood we won’t win the game.

‘‘We’re not com­pla­cent at all be­cause if (the AIS) are pos­i­tive and fired up, there’s ev­ery chance they could steal the win (then) we’d be in a lot of trou­ble.’’

As re­ported in yes­ter­day’s TownsvilleBul­letin, the Fire will be do­ing it a lit­tle tougher than usual with up to five play­ers set to miss the con­test.

Star guard Ro­ha­nee Cox and An­drea Walsh are both out with fam­ily com­mit­ments while Kelly Wil­son is still side­lined with an an­kle in­jury.

Still nurs­ing the foot in­jury which kept her out of round 11, for­ward Bian­cia Ab­bott is un­likely to play while cap­tain Clau­dia Bras­sard has been struck down with a virus but is ex­pected to suit up.

‘‘At the mo­ment, if Clau­dia doesn’t play, along with Bian­cia and Ro­ha­nee out, we would have the short­est team in the com­pe­ti­tion and the AIS have the tallest,’’ Her­bert said. ‘‘Height is al­ways a ma­jor chal­lenge with the AIS but it is even more so now.

‘‘Jen­nifer Crouse (192cm) will have a pretty ma­jor role in this game and we need her to play smart and keep out of foul trou­ble.’’

Her­bert said he ex­pected the likes of Ta­nia Her­itage and Rachael Flana­gan to step up and sup­port Renae Camino in the ab­sence of her scor­ing part­ner Cox.

He also hoped to see young­sters Lisa Braun­berger and Kirby Dal­gleish make the most of the op­por­tu­nity.

Mean­while, in Ade­laide, the Light­ning host the Bulleen Boomers and Townsville are bank­ing on a favourable re­sult.

If the Light­ning can record a win, and the Fire also get up, the gap be­tween Bulleen and Townsville will be re­duced to one game.

From five games re­main­ing af­ter round 12 for each side, the Boomers and Townsville meet twice, once at SeaFM Sta­dium and once in Bulleen. The Fire also play Ade­laide, Dan­de­nong and Can­berra while Bulleen meet Syd­ney, Can­berra and the AIS.

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