Match Report- Saturday 13 July 2019
The OneFortyOne Pioneers held on for a famous victory over the visiting Forestville Eagles on Saturday night with a late Mel Russell layup proving the difference between the two sides. The match between the top two sides in the competition was always going to be a tight tussle and a strong last quarter from the Pioneers saw them go to the top of the ladder as they ended their debut regular season on a high.
The opening term was a low-scoring dogged fight with neither side able to gain any form of separation and baskets were hard to come by. Ambah Kowcun kicked the match off with a three-point play before the Pioneers got on an early run and put up the next eight points in succession. Amanda Frost and Pachis Roberts were in the thick of the action as per usual and it appeared the Pioneers were going to put their opponents to the sword. With the post-season looming, the Eagles were not about to surrender and answered with successive baskets to bridge the gap to a solitary point. Ill-discipline from Kowcun saw Maddy Wormald make the trip to the line for three charity shots and she made no mistake, nailing all three attempts to stretch the Pioneers lead to five points. Neither side could get a handle on the ball as costly turnovers mounted up and fouls became the order of the day. After 3:38 without any field goals in the match, Oceana Hamilton found time and space inside to lay in the easy two and the Eagles went into the first change trailing 12-10.
The momentum in the match began to shift towards the Eagles in the second term as Aimee Brett and Megan Quinn scored baskets to give their side a two-point advantage. The Pioneers were struggling to find contributors on the offensive end and Hamilton’s three blocked shots for the quarter did not help the Pioneers cause. The home side fought to get back within three points halfway through the quarter but the Eagles answered every challenge that was thrown their way to win the quarter 20-13 on the back of some outstanding offence from Megan Quinn and Oceana Hamilton who each put up six points in the term. As the two sides headed into the lockers for the main break, the Eagles held a five-point lead with everything to play for in the second half. The Pioneers were led by Pachis Roberts with 7 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists whilst Amanda Frost had 7 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists. The Eagles were reliant on Megan Quinn who had 8 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists and Oceana Hamilton was sensational with 8 points, 4 rebounds and 3 blocks.
The third quarter is commonly known as the championship quarter but it did very little to separate these two title contenders as the Eagles slightly edged out the Pioneers by a solitary point. Chelsea Roberts got the Eagles off to the perfect start with the first points of the term before Quinn and Hamilton both added baskets of their own to establish a commanding 11-point lead for the visitors. The Pioneers needed to find something and it would be their import tandem that would answer as Pachis Roberts and Amanda Frost went to work to score the next seven points of the match before a Maddy Wormald layup brought the Pioneers back within a basket of the lead. The Pioneers’ 9-0 run was extinguished by an Ambah Kowcun trey but the Pioneers were not going to be denied and another trey from Frost saw the Pioneers maintain pace with their opponents as the third term wound to a close. Jemma Westhoff scored the last four points of the quarter to give the Eagles a six-point lead heading into the final term.
With the game on a knife’s edge, early buckets would be crucial in shaping the outcome of this contest. The Pioneers flew out of the blocks to put up the first six points of the quarter and suddenly the scores were level. It appeared that the Eagles had all the answers with massive threes to Kowcun and Quinn ensuring the Eagles held a six-point lead with five minutes still to play. As the scoring dried up, every point became crucial and it was a Maddy Wormald triple with 2:07 remaining that got the crowd on their feet and cut the Pioneers’ deficit to a single point. With the weight of the world on her shoulders, Emily Winter stepped to the line and tried to put the Pioneers in front but she split her attempts and could only level the scores at 53 apiece with 41 seconds remaining. The Pioneers called a timeout with 18 seconds left and it would prove to be a masterstroke from rookie coach Matt Sutton who received the perfect birthday present when Amanda Frost found Mel Russell inside for the layup and with just seven seconds left to play the Pioneers were on the cusp of victory. In the dying seconds of the match Ambah Kowcun had one last attempt to win the game for the Eagles but her three-point attempt missed the mark and the Pioneers held on for a memorable two-point victory, 55-53. Pachis Roberts led all scorers with 18 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals for the Pioneers whilst Amanda Frost provided 17 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds. For the Eagles, Megan Quinn had 13 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists, Ambah Kowcun had 11 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks and Oceana Hamilton finished with 10 points, 9 rebounds and 5 blocks.
The Pioneers have completed their regular season and will now wait to see who they face in the first week of the finals whilst Forestville will look to regain momentum when they face off against the Southern Tigers at home next Saturday night.