Force women on high but men suffer heartbreak
IPSWICH Force teams enter a new week with vastly different challenges after their latest state league matches.
The Force women can confidently prepare for their next game at home on Friday night after outclassing Bundaberg 81-55 at Cotton on Foundation Stadium.
Powerful allrounder Nadeen Payne collected another player-of-the-match award for scoring 33 points and her defensive efforts during 34 influential minutes on court. She guided Ipswich to their fourth win from six matches.
Last year's semi-finalists led Bundaberg at every break.
However, the Ipswich Force men have to rebuild after a shattering 85-77 loss on Friday night.
The men toiled hard to lead 72-71 in the see-sawing encounter before Bundaberg capitalised on some stray shooting.
Coach Andrew Summerville was clearly emotional after the game, having seen his injury-depleted team come so close to their second win of the season.
"Our decision making for three and a half quarters was fine," he said. "But as soon as the pressure was on, we couldn't make the right decisions, started worrying about other things and we didn't play smart at the end."
Force's player of the match was Alex Desroches who never gave up in defence and offence, where he scored 18 points.
The team was directed by leading point-scorer Jerel Chavis (21).
In a positive sign for Force, the team's tallest recruit Martin Iti made an impact in his first game after a finger injury.
However, it was former Force player Zarryon Fereti who destroyed the home team with 28 points, including four three-pointers.
Force led 44-43 at halftime after Jason Ralph nailed a three-pointer with 44 seconds left in the quarter.
Bundaberg regained a 65-63 third-quarter advantage before the nailbiting final quarter.
The teams levelled at 71-71 before the visitors rallied in defence to deny Force victory.
For women's coach Brad George, the comfortable win kept Force in top-four contention.
It also allowed him to use his roster with star forward Emma Langford nursing an injury and with national training duty.
"It was good to give the bench some minutes. We're going to need them at some stage in the season," George said.
Force's important back-up players include Peta Eddington and Sigourney Thompson, who had an impact on Friday night.
"It was a very good win so we're happy with the result," George said.
The Force teams play South West Metro at Ipswich stadium on Friday night.