Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Brave effort ends Lady Gators' season

Shepparton Lady Gators fought hard on Saturday night, but couldn't haul in Western Port Steelers in what was the Gators' last game of the Big V division two season.

OLIVER CAFFREY July 22, 2014 3:10am

Shepparton Lady Gators star Rhianna Barton will undergo knee surgery after continuing to play well for her Big V division two women’s side.

Shepparton Lady Gators finished their Big V division two women’s basketball season with a brave effort against ladder-leader Western Port Steelers on Saturday night.

The Gators were blown away early, with the home side opening up an 11-point buffer at quarter-time at The Steelerdome.

But the Gators stuck with the Steelers for the next two terms, before taking out the final quarter 20-11.

Gators coach Chris Judd said he couldn’t have been prouder of the performance, with all eight players making important contributions.

‘‘The girls went in with a fair bit of determination to have a good final game, unfortunately we got jumped early, but after quarter-time we contained them for the most part,’’ Judd said.

‘‘Across the board all the girls contributed, we took the game right up to them, we had a couple of runs at them, but unfortunately we came away with a loss.

‘‘We had basically just as many shots as they did, they were just able to convert better — they are a really well balanced side that’s going to go well in finals.’’

Judd was pleased with limiting Steelers’ star captain-coach Lauren Cooper to 15 points.

Gators star Rhianna Barton performed exceptionally well under duress.

She has played out the season despite carrying a knee injury and will undergo post-season surgery.

Barton shot 13 points and brought in an incredible 17 rebounds, with 10 defensive.

Mia Beks will also go under the knife after continuing to play on with a foot complaint.

Beks saw 21 minutes of court time and gave it her all until the end.

Captain Tamica Roy shot 10 points, while Marni Sharp and the three Owens — Mikaela, Maddison and Morgan — continued to develop.

Meg Hanna worked hard in 26 minutes on court, finishing with four assists and three steals.

Judd said his young team had improved during the course of the season.

‘‘I’m very pleased with the effort this season, we pushed some really good sides, we’ve been a bit unlucky at times,’’ Judd said.

‘‘We’ve had seven games where we’ve lost by six points or under, so it’s a bit of bad luck, but it has given these girls a real good taste of the pressures of the Big V.’’

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