The Busselton Magpies travelled to Leschenault to battle it out against the Harvey/ Brunswick /Leschenault (HBL Lions). The Magpies reserves controlled all positions to be up 30-24 at three quarter time, but were overrun at the line by an intense HBL comeback, going down 37-39.
Magpie shooter Steph Millen was at her creative best controlling the flow and accurate with Souwest Jets defender Serena Nandapi looming.
The 18s had a depleted team with five players out with SW Jets commitments and injuries. The squad rallied and with a shuffled lineup they took to the court.
Centre court player Phoebe Pethybridge along with goalie Sunny Manners were moved into defence. Matilda Cann, who was making a welcome return, was in goals along with Brooke Gibson.
The Magpies took a while to adjust and managed a 12-9 lead which was only extended to 22-18 at half time as they struggled with the close attention and hands pressure.
At half time major changes were made with Gibson coming off and the youngster from 15s, Ruby Simonetti, moving into shooter while Cann was at goal attack. With Ella Taylor taking to the court at goal dfence this freed Pethybridge up to move back into the centre court along with Jaymee Dahlenberg.
With Taylor taking charge in the defensive end of the court and a quick transition through the centre court it was straight into the goalies who converted their shots as the Magpies raced to a 37-24 lead. HBL rallied in the last quarter but the Magpies were prepared and determinedly finished the game off 46-29.
In the open division, the game settled with Busselton taking a 15-9 lead into the quarter break over HBL. Led by the Souwest Jets defensive duo of Riley Culnane and Ella Taylor, the Magpies dominated the middle quarters.
The Magpies midcourt combination and timing with their shooters was impressive and resulted in a 13-goallead to the Magpies into half time. Changes to the Lions line-up had Giselle Taylor moved from shooter to keeper in an attempt to stem the Magpies goals.
Little could stop the determined Magpies and their lead blew out to 22. Changes throughout by both teams in the final quarter kick started the Lions into action. Some outstanding defensive work by Brooke Repacholi saw the Lions storming home.
Patient work by Repacholi and Elycce Webb in feeding the ball to their shooters saw them capitalise on turnovers won. Although HBL won the quarter 20-11 it was too little, too late, and Magpies won 60-47.
Magpies play at home on Saturday with 18s and reserves at 1.15pm followed by the league team at 2.45pm against the Augusta-Margaret River Hawks.
The 15s Magpies were prepared for a tough game and they weren’t disappointed. Both Magpies and HBL kept their defence strong making it difficult to get it past the defenders, the Magpies took the lead 15-8.
Quick changes in the second quarter saw Arielle Hockey, Ruby Simonetti and Perri Hathaway in defence resulting in many intercepts, rebounds and turnovers. The Magpies defence wasn’t letting any thing pass them.
With Ella Griffin and Jessica Schwier through the centre court the play flowed beautifully. HBL defence was tight making Nikira Brock and Kaitlyn Tucker work hard for their goals.
At half time Magpies flew away with a 16-goal lead. Elle Mullumby, Hockey and Hathaway kept the pressure on HBL shooters assisting with rebounds and turnovers at every chance. With Simonetti now in centre the pace picked up. Shooter Indianna Hinds stood her ground holding strong and worked well with Brock with the Magpies finishing with a 52-30 win.
Coach Rae Hathaway could not be happier with the Magpies efforts holding their top position on the ladder.
Magpies 15 have a bye this weekend but with only two games to go before finals they will be preparing for a tough game against Blackwood Ravens in Bridgetown on August 18 at 12pm.
- Rae Hathaway