Strong effort from depleted Lady Warriors
THEY may have registered their first loss of the season but Wangaratta Lady Warriors were upbeat with their performance against Wodonga Lady Wolves on Sunday.
The Lady Warriors played without experienced pair Chloe Storer and Catherine Guest, they were playing their first game in three weeks and they remained within touch of the Lady Wolves even after a 13-point third quarter explosion from Wolves star Sarah Mellington.
Mellington hit four three-pointers in the third term, and five for the match, to finish with 25 points leading her Wolves side to victory.
Pleasingly for the Lady Warriors the Wolves were only able to add one point to their half time lead.
Wangaratta led by five points at quarter time with both former Wolves Jade McCowan and Rachel Jeffery hitting a shot early with Jeffery’s two-point shot giving the Warriors their quarter time lead.
The Wolves stormed back in the second term to snatch a six-point half time lead and were up by seven with a quarter to play.
The Lady Warriors were still an outside chance to win with two minutes on the clock and down by eight points but couldn’t hit another shot down the stretch to fall by ten points, 60-50.
“I would have preferred to win, but it is a big turnaround from this time last year,” Lady Warriors coach Craig Northey said.
“We know we can match it with them now; it is even more pleasing that the rest of the team stepped up when Catherine (Guest), Chloe (Storer) and Nikita (Brown) were unavailable.
“Loni Strickland, Abbey Chapman and Zara Berry were all fantastic for us; Zara especially, she is only 14 years old and the girls asked her to continue to train with the squad.”
Northey said his side lacked defensive presence at times.
“The three week break between games was a killer,” he said.
“People commented that we looked flat and that flowed into our defensive sets later in the game.
“We must work hard at training to improve the defensive aspects of our game.”
Wangaratta Warriors men remain winless in the 2017-18 season after going down to Wodonga by five points.
Jake Bowen got the Warriors off to a flying start hitting a three pointer for the game’s first score.
Hitting that first shot set the tone for Bowen for the remainder of the match as he scored a gamehigh 17 points and registered four three-pointers in a breakout game for the athletic guard.
Liam Wright scored 12 points including backto-back three pointers to give Wangaratta a fourpoint lead with six and a half minutes to go.
Bowen’s fourth and last three pointer with just under four minutes to go in the final quarter was also Wangaratta’s last score giving the Warriors an eight-point lead.
The Warriors couldn’t maintain their pressure and allowed the Wolves to reel off 13 unanswered points to win the game.