The THUNDER THRILLER
The game V Thunder was our most consistent game yet of the season. It’s what we have been building towards. There were still the ebbs and flows that we have had in all of our matches, but the impact of the lapses was minimal. At one point in the match we were 8 goals down. For the girls to dig deep and recover from this to bring the score back to even is testament to their grit and determination.
In the final two minutes of the game, when the margin was seesawing between one down and even, we cherished our possession of the ball and worked hard in full court defensive pressure. We had three scoring opportunities in the final 30 seconds that we just didn’t capitalize on. That’s the bit we need to continue to work on; it’s not so much physical in these moments, it’s the mental capacity to know how to win. There were a couple of tears after the game. Not sooky la la tears……..just that disappointment that the opportunities were there and we didn’t make them ours. This is where they need to use that disappointment and turn it into a positive; that they are capable and they will finish it.
What I really loved was the feedback from coaches and players of other franchises that were watching the game. They were genuinely disappointed for us, and that makes me value those relationships that get developed, even though we are adversaries on court, an appreciation of healthy competition a whole lot more.
Best on court for the Panthers was Kalei Brighton. She has this ability to turn the ball over at the most crucial times. Usually back in GK, I ran her at GD for the second half. Kalei is a player who is fearless, and hard to the ball. She has a never say die attitude and leaves it all on the court. She is a player that always seems to be overlooked for next level opportunities, I think due to her unorthodox playing style. There are passages of play I watch roll down the court, and suddenly out pops Kalei for cracking intercept, or defensive pressure that has impacted a turnover or gain for us. Her statistics tell a fantastic story of a player who grinds down her opponents, and makes a positive impact on the court. I would dearly love to see her have the opportunity of working within the next level, with some specialist defensive coaching, as I believe there is still so much untapped potential there waiting to be bought out. Her pairing with Courtney Bailey is coming along nicely, Courtney’s speed and agility is coming back stronger with each and every game play opportunity. These girls do the work, they grind it out and the rewards come with it.
Looking at our game against Tigers this weekend, I have some difficult decisions to make when naming our 10. Our last hit out against them showed promise, again recovering from a near 20 point margin to bringing it back to 11 goals. I think we are building some nice connections through the mid court, and we have really worked hard on the attack end becoming a unit, reading play, identifying space and having dynamic movement and timing. I will sit down today and watch our last match up, and address those holes that cause us to let the score creep out too far.
I love that we are at home too.
We love to have the support of our home crowd, even in limited numbers due to restrictions. Sometimes it’s just what we need to get ourselves over the line.