Ipswich Force basketballer Ashleigh Heal works hard to control play in Saturday night’s state league win over Toowoomba.
Ipswich Force basketballer Ashleigh Heal works hard to control play in Saturday night’s state league win over Toowoomba. Rob Williams

Extra-time thriller secures positive double for Ipswich

IF anyone doubted the new resolve of the Ipswich Force men, they were quickly corrected in a thrilling extra-time state league basketball victory.

Seemingly down and out at three-quarter time, the Force players kept their nerve and positive outlook to first level the scores before finally securing victory after additional play.

Ipswich Force head coach Mick Conlon had spoken before the game how much his team wanted to never give up after a valuable coaching session with the Ipswich Jets.

Last night's 128-125 nailbiter over Toowoomba at Ipswich stadium highlighted that determination.

"At halftime I went in and told them what they were doing wrong but just kept reinforcing all the positives we had been doing,'' Conlon said.

"We stayed positive and it literally has been the difference in the last two games.''

As they did in a similar situation against Toowoomba the week before, Force stuck to the task and were rewarded.

Force trailed 91-76 at three-quarter time after being down 61-52 at halftime.

However, a magnificent 40 point final quarter, in conjunction with better defence, gave Force the opportunity to level the scores at 116-116 after normal time.

Jaryd Eustace hit a shot, grabbed a steal and landed another shot in rapid succession to set up the overtime finish.

Still under pressure, the Force players again executed brilliantly in extra-time to claw in front and hold on.

Captain James Legan led the way again with 43 points, well supported by Kyle Harvey with 27.

Harvey toiled hard after suffering a bruised knee early in the match.

Valuable contributions from James Kuon, Brent Wallace and sEustace kept Force in the match.

Guard Ben Wilson also provided a calming influence when the pressure was on.

"We were just impressing on the boys to just keep pushing and hanging in there, and we'll wear them down in the end,'' Conlon said

Conlon said the three clashes against Toowoomba were entertaining this season with Ipswich scoring 350 points and Toowoomba about 340.

After playing Cairns at Ipswich stadium next Saturday night, Force need to beat pool rivals South West in two weeks to secure a home quarter-final.

In last night's earlier match, the Ipswich Force women completed a more comfortable 82-56 victory over Toowoomba.

It was Ipswich's sixth win in a row, boosting their hopes of also hosting a home quarter-final.

Import Soana Lucet fired up in the second quarter to set up the victory with 33 points.

Fine contributions from the fearless Ashleigh Heal, captain Bree Farley and the reliable Morgan Pink sealed the win.

State of play

QBL men: Ipswich Force 128 (James Legan 43, Kyle Harvey 29) def Toowoomba 125 (Chris Whitehead 40, Erron Maxey 31) in extra-time.

QBL women: Ipswich Force 82 (Soana Lucet 33, Ashleigh Heal 15, Bree Farley 15) def Toowoomba 56 (Beatriz Royo Torres).

Next matches: v Cairns at Ipswich stadium next Saturday night.



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