Heat cling to lead as Metro hit back
THE Townsville Heat have e survived a fourth- quarter r lapse to beat South Westst Metro 92- 89 in their QBL quarter- final at Townsville Basketball Stadium.
The Heat looked well in n control as they led by 21 points early in the final quarrter before South West guard Jeremy Kendle ( 31 points, 10 rebounds) sparked his side’s stunning fightback.
Kendle dropped 18 points in the fourth quarter alone as the visitors drew level twice before a pair of free throws from Peter Crawford ( 15 points) just before the buzzer saw Townsville home.
Point guard Josh Wilcher was immense for the Heat with 27 points, five rebounds, and seven assists, but it was import Jamell Anderson ( 10 points, 6 rebounds) who set the tone early.
Anderson failed to return in the second half as he succumbed to an abdominal strain and Heat coach Rodney Anderson felt his absence was a big factor in Townsville’s late struggles.
“We played so well for the first three quarters and just let them get back into the game which gave them a little bit of confidence and energy,” he said.
“I thought we controlled the game almost right from start and stuck it to them in defence which helped us get everything rolling.
“Jamell Anderson was definitely the guy who led us in energy and set the tone defensively and the rest of guys jumped on his back, but he didn’t play second half due to abdominal strain.
“That didn’t help us because he was playing such great ‘ D’ on Jeremy Kendle and held him to eight points at halftime, but it was just good to see our leadership group come up with some big plays.
“South West are a good team and they were always going to make a run at us. It shouldn’t have got that close, but I’m really proud we dug in and got the win even though let a big lead slip.”
The Heat now have a date with archrivals Cairns in Townsville next weekend and the coach was hopeful Jamell Anderson will be fit to take the floor.
“He’s getting a scan tomorrow just in case, but he’s pretty confident he’ll play,” Anderson said.
Meanwhile, the season is over for the Townsville Flames after going down to Gladstone 78- 74. The Flames were without MVP Darcee Garbin for Saturday’s final, but they were still up for the contest as the lead changed hands an incredible 15 times in the first half.
Gladstone pulled away to be in front by 10 points early in the fourth quarter before the Flames came storming back to tie the game with just over a minute left, but they couldn’t finish it off.
Mia Murray ( above) has been battling a back injury all season, but the WNBL star was sensational as she dropped 32 points, including 8/ 11 threes, along with eight rebounds.
Flames coach Mike StMaurice said Gladstone made the most of chances.
“It was a great battle and I have a lot of respect for Ray ( Cooper, Gladstone coach) and his group, but I guess when it mattered most, they made some shots,” StMaurice said.