Tigers claw back deficit

STRETCH: North Gambier's Macey Griffith uses her height to advantage. (Tyler Redway 418153)

NORTH GAMBIER 64 d WEST GAMBIER 59

WEST Gambier dropped its first game of the Limestone Coast netball season, toppled by North Gambier in a tight contest and wonderful preview of what could be in store for the 2024 finals series.

Missing star shooter Sarah Ritter, the Roos again opted for Tahlia Bradley under the post and her opening quarter saw her turning back the clock as she netted 11 goals from 13 attempts as she proved a focal point.

But the Tigers were also on song, with Kelly Lockwood converting 12 from 13 and eventually taking a five-goal lead into the first break.

Not surprisingly, the top-ranked Roos responded swiftly to the deficit.

Defensively they upped the ante, with Mikaela Horrigan tightening the screws on Lockwood to deny her as much possession and at the other end of the court Lisa McGregor went to work.

Not only was she controlling the offensive ball movement, she had a perfect scoring quarter with 13 straight as West turned that quarter time deficit into a three-goal half-time lead.

North reacted to West’s stunning second quarter by injecting State 15 and Under shooter Mischa Human into the contest and it paid dividends as she netted 23 from 23 in the second half.

Just as West had increased its defensive intensity in the second, North did the same in the third, restricting the scoring opportunities and fighting their way back to a one goal three quarter time lead.

The final quarter was an arm wrestle as both sides looked to gain momentum and in the end, courtesy in no small part to Human’s accuracy, it was North that took the premiership points.

Jess Holmes was best for West with her work rate and ability to find her goalers in space, while McGregor was also a workhorse and finished accurately and Horrigan and Amy Cram certainly did not let North have it all their own way.

Macey Griffith has basically been in North’s best for the majority of the season and the weekend was no different as she not only converted 25 from 30 but also continually connected well with both Lockwood and Human with her precision feeding.

And much like Holmes just ran all day for West, Brianna Walters did the same for North, continually working high up the court as a connection player between the defence and shooters, as well as hitting the circle hard, delivering the ball with her trademark precision.