Ipswich proved the Force it can be in state basketball
"IPSWICH Force! Ipswich Force!''
That was the chant echoing throughout the sold-out Mackay stadium on Friday night after we pulled off the biggest upset of the season by defeating state league heavyweights Gladstone.
The Force was keen to accept the semi-final challenge against a team who finished second on the ladder with a 15-1 record.
I arrived in Mackay in the afternoon, having flown up later than the team due to a uni exam.
I found the girls relaxed and full of self-belief discussing the game and finals weekend in general.
It wasn't a matter of "if" we beat Gladstone, rather "when" we beat Gladstone.
That self-belief and confidence continued to gather momentum closer to game time.
By the time we tipped off, Ipswich was sure we could get the job done. And that is exactly what we did with an 18-point victory.
We executed according to our game plan. We pushed Gladstone out of their comfort zone. We didn't back down. We weren't intimidated. We took their game and forced it back on to them.
Courtney Taylor had a huge final with 20 points.
However, as a team, we played for each other and we wanted it more than Gladstone. That shone through in every aspect of our game handing Gladstone their biggest loss of the season and booking ourselves a top two finish.
For the first time since 1994, an Ipswich women's team had made a State League grand final.
We couldn't have been more proud. As we found out, neither could our supporters back home.
We hadn't realised just how many people had watched the live stats until the messages of support started coming through.
The girls were thrilled when coach Brad George passed on the Mayor's congratulations and support for the forthcoming final.
Having knocked Gladstone off the winner's podium, we had the confidence we needed to head into what we knew was going to be a tough grand final.
Ironically, the crowd that had supported us so loudly the night before, were going to be supporting Mackay this time. However, we were out to prove we were worthy.
Despite going down by 17 in the end, the score was not a true indication of the game itself. The lead changed multiple times throughout the game, we held our own and pushed Mackay all the way to the end.
We again showed Ipswich pride and true Force character as we finished the season as 2013 QBL runners up. It's an achievement that we are all very proud of.
Thank you to Mackay Basketball for a fantastic weekend of basketball.
Their crowd was amazing and although they cheered for their own team in the final, they were still completely respectful and supported a great game of basketball.
We had multiple Mackay supporters approach us after the game full of positive comments and remarks.
Thank you to our own Ipswich supporters. Although you couldn't be there we knew you were behind us every step of the way.
And to the Ipswich Force women's team, thanks for a fantastic season.
Quote of the week
"THE more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning.''