NT News

Rebels keen to reward captain

- JOSH SPASARO

NOW with a full-strength lineup, Rebels captain Chantelle Lee was confident her team could give the undefeated Tracy Village a good run for its money in the Darwin Basketball League women’s major semi-final on Thursday night.

Lee’s team had added motivation to topple the powerhouse side in this game.

“If we win, then I’ll play my 700th top-league game in the final,” she said.

And with Adelaide Crows star Danielle Ponter in excellent form, Uni went in backing its chances. Ponter is averaging almost 14 points per game.

“Danielle was stuck in Melbourne (in lockdown conditions) during the June-July school holidays, but she’s back now,” Lee said.

Rebels pushed the Jets last time both teams met, losing 55-45 in round 17. Ponter scored 24 points in that game.

“We’ve been on and off all season, but our past few weeks we’ve played really well as a team,” Lee said.

“A lot of the time now we can just read each other and where each player will go on the court because we know each other so well.”

The other women’s semifinal will see Ansett face threetime reigning champions Lightning in the eliminatio­n match on Friday night.

Meanwhile, it lost its “Big Four” over the off-season, but the Ansett club is as strong as ever. Steve Toohey’s side has just celebrated a men’s minor premiershi­p in the 2021 Darwin Basketball League.

That is despite losing stars Fred Williams, James Toohey, Freddy Webb and Joel De Barros to bigger interstate clubs.

However, a stack of young local juniors have stepped up this year, and Ansett lost just two regular-season games.

The team will stay alive if it lost its major semi-final against Palmerston on Thursday night. While Ansett’s objective for this year – winning the final – is not yet complete, Toohey has been delighted with his side’s consistenc­y.

“We lost four or five great players from last year, so we’ve called upon our local juniors,” he said. “We needed them to perform for us and they’ve done a great job.

“We’ve got a minor premiershi­p title to show for it.

“Kane Toohey and Anthony Rowse are averaging 10 to 12 points per game, and they’re both still eligible to play under-18s.

“Josh Turner has been fantastic for us. He pops up just when we need him to score.

“Lachie Shipway has been a superstar for us this year with his size and strength. He’s a great rebounder.”

The other semi-final will see Ellas clash with Tracy Village in an eliminatio­n clash on Friday night.

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