By Trevor Jackson
A HUGE final term almost saw a dream come-from-behind win for the One Forty One Pioneers women against Sandringham Sabres on Saturday night, but ultimately the chase fell two points short.
The Pioneers trailed by 13 points at the final change, then finished strong with a 29-18 last quarter.
In the end Sandringham claimed the honours 72-70 in the entertaining contest.
The third term hurt the Pioneers, with the Sabres winning the quarter 21-13 to open the handy margin.
Hannah Young topped the Pioneers score sheets with 17 points, while Jasmin Howe (15) and Shakera Reilly (11) also reached double figures.
Coach Matt Sutton said it was a tough loss to take, but he said the side placed itself in a hard position to fight back from.
“I am still proud they could give themselves a chance to win,” he said.
Sutton said the second and third quarters hurt the side, with not a lot of action generated in offence.
“We had too many mental lapses,” he said.
“I thought the effort was good all night, but our thoughts to do some of the things we were trying to achieve was inconsistent.”
The final term saw a big fight back, but the side fell just short chasing the deficit.
“We changed the game plan a little bit in the last quarter and to the girls’ credit they shot the ball with confidence,” Sutton said.
“The way we share the basketball around, when we piece 40 minutes together we are hard to defend.
“We just have to learn to do that for 40 minutes.”
As for Ringwood on Saturday night, Sutton expects a tough contest, with four players claiming WNBL experience.
However, he said his side was up for the challenge and reveled in the chance to play at such a high level.
“We are excited for the opportunity we had to play against an Opals player in Round 1, then again in Round 2,” Sutton said.
“It is pleasing our girls are not bashful against such great players, but at the same time there are still some opportunities we let slip.
“It is exciting to have Tess Madgen from Bendigo play against us in the Icehouse, so all the young girls watch an Opals-level player.
“It is a cool experience and I hope everyone appreciates what we are in for.
“From what our locals have ever experienced, the gap is massive.
“Playing in a Limestone Coast competition is so far away from playing against an Opals player.
“Getting their habits right and getting them to a level is challenging, but we just have to get it right and get a win.”
The women’s game tips off tomorrow night at 6.30pm.