Force teams show flood of courage

THE Ipswich Force women are QBL semi-final bound for the first time in five years after Ezria Parsons dominated against a Northside Wizards team ill equipped to cope with her athleticism.

Parsons, a Florida native, exploded with 25 points and an incredible 18 rebounds.

The Force wound up 80-54 victors at a packed Cotton On Foundation Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Unfortunately though, the men’s Force team bowed out against the Wizards’ sharp-shooting stars Shaun Gleeson and Chris Goulding.

Gleeson and Goulding combined for 60 points, just six less than the total of the Force who lost 88-66 at Boondall Entertainment Centre.

While the men’s team ended their injury-riddled campaign, the women will fly north on Friday to play Gladstone.

Considering the Force did not have a stadium to play out of at the start of the year, after eight metres of water flooded the site, the Force have done remarkably well to regroup and reach the final four in the women’s league and final eight in the men’s.

Ipswich Force operations manager Pat Ralph said the result was a credit to all those who helped rebuild the ruined floors of their Booval home.

“We weren’t sure if we would be able to play any QBL basketball at that stadium for a while,” Ralph said.

“Reaching the semi finals is a thank you to all the volunteers and workers who came and helped us rebuild.

“We have had great crowds this year. Better than the last few seasons and I think that’s because people know we had two good teams who played good basketball all year.”

Women’s coach Brad George said his team would have to play a perfect game to defeat Gladstone Power.

“They have seven WNBL experienced players and are an awesome team,” George said.

“We will have to make very few errors and play close to a perfect game to beat them.

“They are so good at scoring from out side its going to be hard to stop them.”

George was thrilled with his team’s latest performance.

“The girls came out really well and they kept it up for the whole match,” George said.

“Ezy was really good.

“They put their best player on her and Ezy hit a lot of tough shots to get her points.”

As the grand final is played on the same weekend as the semi-final – both games in Gladstone – the entire Force roster will have to take the day off work to even play.

“We fly out on Friday morning so everyone will need to call work and get that sorted,” George said.

Basketball Finals

Women’s state league: Ipswich Force 80 (Ezria Parsons 25 pts, 18 rbs; Jessica Taylor 16 pts, Elke Fisher 12 rbs) def Northside Wizards 54 (Rachel Maenpaa 15 pts, 9 rbs) at Booval.

Men’s state league: Northside Wizards 88 (Chris Goulding 26 pts, Shaun Gleeson 34 pts) def Ipswich Force 66 (Ryan Stolberg 17 pts, Josh Black 14 pts) at Boondall.

Ipswich Force women play Gladstone Power, on Friday at 6.30pm at Gladstone in an elimination semi-final. Winner advances to the grand final on Saturday.

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