If Shepparton Lady Gators’ presence in Saturday night’s Country Basketball League north east conference final was a surprise, what unfolded at Wodonga YMCA was nothing short of astonishing.By Damen Francis
If Shepparton Lady Gators’ presence in Saturday night’s Country Basketball League north east conference final was a surprise, what unfolded at Wodonga YMCA was nothing short of astonishing.
The Lady Gators’ transformation from league strugglers to champions was completed in devastating fashion as they dismantled reigning and minor premier Wodonga Lady Wolves 62-40.
The enormity of the victory stunned even coach Chris Judd, who had boldly set his sights on the title way back in July last year.
‘‘That’s the biggest thing for me, I didn’t expect that margin,’’ Judd said.
‘‘The way the girls applied themselves was fantastic, they dug deep and forced Wodonga into so many turnovers.
‘‘Everyone played their role and they thoroughly deserve it for the work they have put in.’’
Shepparton only returned to the court last season and initially struggled to compete with the league’s benchmark sides.
All that changed this season, as a young group, complemented with experienced campaigners like Jacqui Kitto and Deanna Cook, stood up to every opponent with a game plan built on relentless and uncompromising defence.
Despite entering the Lady Wolves’ den, Shepparton never allowed the home side into the game, bossing the first two quarters and crushing an attempted comeback with 20 points to 12 in the third.
While Wodonga won the last quarter, it was clear the Lady Gators would not be denied.
Led by 16-year-old centre Rhianna Barton, who tallied a game-high 20 points, Shepparton outshone the star-studded local line-up.
‘‘They didn’t let anyone to get away from them,’’ Judd said.
‘‘Rachel Jeffery, who I rate as their best player, had six points early, but we moved Jac Kitto onto her in the second quarter and she only scored another nine.
‘‘Grace (Hide) shut down (Stacey) De Koeyer and Christina Reynolds played some of the best defence I’ve seen from her.
‘‘We forced them to go to a zone late in the third quarter as they tried to come back and in three-and-a-half minutes we went from 14 points up to 22 points up and they couldn’t recover from that.’’
That lead was still intact late in the final term and it was at that point Judd knew they were home.
Hide finished with nine points in one of her quietest offensive outputs of the season, but few would accuse her of a limited contribution.
Kitto also dropped nine points, while junior point guard Shelby Britten and improving big Tamica Roy combined for 18 points off the bench.
The Lady Gators will now travel to Bendigo next week for a tilt at the CBL state title against Gippsland conference champion Traralgon.
A Tamleugh North farmer has described the theft of four sheep fences from his tornado-damaged property ''a low act''.
Most people at the J C Lowe Oval left on Saturday evening talking about the game but not the result. Pigeon Coach Chris Kennedy summed up the feeling adequately when he said after the game; “it was a frustrating game, but my players weren’t responsible for the frustration.”
The move to extend the Tatura War Memorial area and honour Victoria Cross hero Robert Mactier with the erection of a statue in the Hogan St gardens named in his honour, continues.
A Kyabram man who struck a cyclist on Echuca-Moama bridge with a beer can thrown from the vehicle he was in was convicted and fined $400 in Moama Local Court on Wednesday.
A Rochester mother told a health forum about the devastating effect drugs have had on her family.
Over six hours of junior football is scheduled for Kyabram Recreation Reserve this Sunday.
Ten people were injured after Two Australian Light Armoured Vehicles (ASLAV) collided during a training course at the Puckapunyal Military Training Range in on Wednesday, May 22.
The Finley Apex Sports and Community Centre has secured a $500,000 grant from Regional Development Australia.
A purpose-built bike, equipped with amateur radio, will be on the O'Keefe Rail Trail tomorrow.
Cobram residents John Anderson and Ian Cobb will race down memory lane this weekend when they compete in the annual Historic Winton.
Deniliquin Fire and Rescue's open day has been hailed a success by captain Bill Muirhead.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) is investigating incidents of abortion or still-births under the Lamb and Kid Mortality Surveillance Project.(LKSMP).
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