Force teams rise above chilly QBL reception
BASKETBALL: Scoring 48 points in any game is a terrific achievement.
But when it's in a freezing cold stadium on the Toowoomba range, the effort is even more admirable.
That's what Ipswich Force captain James Legan did in his team's latest 94-91 Queensland Basketball League victory over Toowoomba on Saturday night.
On a night where Ipswich Force women's Jamaican import Shenneika Smith struggled in the cold, American Legan again dominated the scoring.
It was another inspired performance from the Ipswich team leader regularly scoring more than 30 points a game this season.
Both Force teams had to battle the cold as well as their opponents in the chilly Toowoomba stadium.
"It was a hard place to play,'' Force women's coach Brad George said.
While happy his team overpowered Toowoomba 85-62 in the earlier game, George said the tough conditions tested players like Smith and another import Soana Lucet.
Smith was unable to score in her 31 minutes on the court.
However, Lucet rose above the challenge to top score with 23 points and nail 17 rebounds after a slow start.
"She responded well,'' George said.
"It was just getting it done really, especially when it was really cold.
"It was just struggling to get out of second gear.''
Kate Heal also did a terrific job off the bench, scoring 17 points.
"She was probably our best player,'' George said.
"She went hard and played to her strengths and did a really good job.''
Force captain Bree Farley also delivered a courageous effort, contributing 15 points despite suffering tonsillitis.
"Bree worked hard,'' the coach said.
The win was the Ipswich women's sixth for the season, going with their five losses.
The Ipswich men trailed 48-36 at halftime before Legan shattered the home team's hopes with another impressive effort.
Although his team is getting its playoff prospects back on track, George expects more if Force wants to make an impact in the finals.
"We've still got a lot of improvement if we are to compete with Mackays and Rockies,'' he said.
"We're getting there, slowly but surely.
"The pieces are coming. Being a new group it's really important to work on understanding the way we play here.
"It's coming together.''
Both Force teams play Toowoomba for a third time on Saturday night, hopefully at a warmer Ipswich stadium.
Winning will be important to consolidate their recent progress.
State of play
QBL men: Ipswich 94 (James Legan 48, Jaryd Eustace 19, Kyle Harvey 14) d Toowoomba 91 (Chris Whitehead 30, Erron Maxey 24).
QBL women: Ipswich 85 (Soana Lucet 23, Kate Heal 17, Bree Farley 15) d Toowoomba 62 (Beatriz Royo Torres 26).