Ipswich rebounds in show of mighty Force
IPSWICH'S terrific team chemistry was showcased as the Force women completed a memorable Queensland Basketball League victory today.
Trailing for three quarters, Force underlined their 2018 season quality by outscoring their reputable opponents by 18 points in the final term to win 92-75.
The fantastic final quarter against USC Rip City sealed Ipswich's eighth state league win of the season.
Just as importantly, it proved how quickly Force's closeknit team can rebound after their only loss of the season a week earlier.
"It was awesome,'' guard Georgia Williams said after Ipswich's impressive final period of play at Llewellyn Stadium.
"The first three quarters we hadn't clicked yet like we had done in other games.
"We just all clicked in the fourth quarter. We just started communicating a bit better and executing more.
"Once we started hitting some shots and getting on a roll, the energy really picked up.''
Last weekend against competition leaders Townsville, Force started poorly before fighting hard late. But that wasn't enough to make an impression in the 98-82 loss.
Today, Force came ready to play with Williams nailing the opening three-pointer of the game to set the tone for a highly competitive match.
With her left knee strapped after copping a recent knock, Williams nailed four of her six three-point attempts as Force continually built pressure.
But still behind 62-61 at three-quarter time, Force had to tidy up its defence and fine-tune the team's shooting.
The Force women did with three-pointers also coming from captain Bree Farley, Gintare "Gigi'' Maziontye, Amanda "AJ" Johnson and Rachel Mate.
Johnson top scored with 26 points, well supported by Williams (18), Farley (12), Maziontye (11) and Mate (10).
European import Maziontye hit back-to-back three pointers from opposite sides of the court to level the scores at 67-67 before Farley, Williams and Mate joined the late scoring surge.
Earlier Meg Essex and Kate Head also chipped in at key times to keep Ipswich in the game before the inspired final quarter.
"Gigi got us going and even Meg managed to get some momentum going, which was really great,'' Williams said.
Having contributions coming from across the court was particularly pleasing for Force head coach Brad George.
"Eight players took the court and five of them were in double figures,'' George said.
Despite Force being down at three-quarter time, George had faith in his team.
"I wasn't worried,'' George said.
"They (USC Rip City) are a good side and they are a really, really big side so we knew we had to lift our defensive end.
"The girls just got going.
"It was a good win to get.''
The coach said once Force tightened up in defence, he could see the team's confidence growing making shots.
That was crucial after going down to Townsville under similar pressure.
"Everyone just did their job,'' he said. "They just lifted their effort.''
With a testing doubleheader against top four sides Sunshine Coast Phoenix and South West Metro next weekend, Force needed to recover strongly from their defeat to Townsville.
"The girls are just a good group,'' George said.
"They get behind but they don't drop their heads and no-one whinges.
"They just have to lift their intensity a bit better and that's the good thing about it.''
In her second season with Force, Williams was also pleased seeing how well the Ipswich team can play.
"We were a bit disappointed with our start against Townsville so that was probably one of our main focuses today,'' Williams, 23, said. "To not play from behind and really fire up.''
She said her sore knee felt really good after she struggled a bit against Townsville.
That augurs well for the team with two tough matches looming at Llewellyn Stadium.
"We've got probably the best record I've ever had in a QBL team so far,'' she said, praising her teammates.
"We all get along and even when we are down, we all have each other's back and we don't break.
"We still play together.''
The Ipswich Force men battled hard in stages before losing this afternoon's QBL match 94-68 against USC Rip City.
Down 33-24 after the first quarter, Force won the second term 19-16 before USC Rip City took charge in the third and final quarters.
The Force men have two wins from their nine games.
State of play
QBL: USC Rip City 94 def Ipswich Force 68 (Kyle Harvey 27).
QBL women: Ipswich Force 92 (Amanda Johnson 26, Georgia Williams 18) def USC Rip City 75 at Llewellyn Stadium.
Next Ipswich matches: Saturday night v Sunshine Coast Phoenix. Sunday afternoon v South West Metro. All four games at Llewellyn Stadium.