A foul-induced final quarter fadeout against Seymour Lady Blasters on Saturday night has left Shepparton Lady Gators with plenty of work to do this weekend.By Damen Francis
A foul-induced final quarter fadeout against Seymour Lady Blasters on Saturday night has left Shepparton Lady Gators with plenty of work to do this weekend.
The Lady Gators led for the first three quarters of the Country Basketball League north east clash, only to drop 13 points in the last and come up short 64-58.
Ash Rae, Grace Hide, Deanne Cook and Meg Hanna were all fouled out of the game as the visitors chalked up 32 fouls for the night.
The Lady Blasters accumulated 28 of their own as officials were quick on the whistle from the outset.
Lady Gators coach Chris Judd said both sides were frustrated and it made defending difficult.
‘‘You can’t maintain your presence and your work ethic when you’ve got people continually coming off the court because they are fouled out,’’ Judd said.
‘‘Then you have other players carrying four fouls, so you drop off.
‘‘Kathryn Hard was a big body and she picked up quite a few points in the last quarter purely as a result of the fact we had Rhianna Barton on four fouls and the way the umpires were calling it Rhianna couldn’t physically guard her.’’
Having said that, Judd admitted his side let itself down on offence.
After starting the game in impressive fashion, the Lady Gators found it increasingly difficult to get much going, as the Lady Blasters chipped away at the lead.
With less than two minutes on the clock, Nikita McDonald hit a go-ahead three-pointer, before a turnover forced the Lady Gators to deliberately foul in a bid to remain in the game.
However, Tess Feery held her nerve from the line to hit three of four free throws and the home side held on.
‘‘We were on top all game, but we went away from our offence and we had been doing so particularly well with that lately,’’ Judd said.
‘‘As soon as we went away from that, the turnovers came and the poor shots came, but it’s certainly something we can fix.
‘‘(Seymour) will push everybody in this league.’’
Hide once again led the scoring for the Lady Gators, with 19 points and multiple steals, while Barton contributed 12 points despite being in foul trouble from the opening quarter.
Hard and Feery had 14 points each for Seymour.
Christina Reynolds returned to the line-up and while she was a little bit rusty, she played well at the point, particularly with Shelby Britten struggling after wearing an early bump.
The Lady Gators head into this weekend’s double-header against Maryborough Lady Blazers and Echuca Lady Pirates needing one win to be assured of a finals spot and two to book a home final.
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