Ipswich teams are a Force even when resting regular players
IF Ipswich Force coach Brad George was offered a 13-3 win-loss record at the start of the season, he would have taken it.
However, his team gained an added boost out of yesterday's final Queensland Basketball League qualifying match at the Gold Coast.
With regulars Chelsie Schweers, Meg Essex and Courtney Taylor out, Force still won 63-59 to hold onto third spot heading into the quarter-finals starting this weekend.
Force will meet Northside Wizards, having won two tight games in a row.
"Just the confidence," was how George responded when asked what his team would take out of yesterday's away victory.
"The defensive locations and the effort was a lot better. They knew they had to step up and when they executed, they executed really well."
The Ipswich Force men also powered home in their final qualifying game to overpower the Rollers 122-81.
That secured Ipswich the top spot in its pool and a home final against Bundaberg on Saturday.
Coach Andrew Summerville was impressed how his team rejected any temptation to take it easy.
"Knowing that you've got the home final, you want to go into the final in good form," he said.
Yesterday's win took Ipswich's tally to 10 for the season.
"It's a massive turnaround from last year where we only won three games," he said.
American Kyle Harvey was on fire yesterday with 43 points and 17 rebounds. He was well-supported by Daniel Sims with 17 points and nine assists.
The Force head coach also eased back on court time for James Legan, Jason Ralph, Zarryon Fereti and Martin Iti to keep them fresh for the playoffs.
Earlier, the Force women were down 12 points in the third quarter, before producing a trademark strong finish.
With Force's leading scorer Schweers being rested, fellow American Brandi Brown refocused to score 23 points during her 30-minute stint on court.
Ipswich product Lauren O'Sullivan also had a strong game, contributing 20 points while on court for 36 minutes.
The efforts of Brown and O'Sullivan were important with Essex away on national training testing and Taylor unavailable.
Bench players like Jess Taylor and Marney George stepped up, highlighting Force's impressive depth this season.
"They all did their role," George said.
"They all knew they had to step up because we were missing probably 30 points and 10 assists."
A minor concern centred on Stacey Howard who rolled her ankle. She'll be monitored in the lead-up to this weekend's quarter-final.
State of Play
- QBL men: Ipswich Force 122 (Kyle Harvey 43, Daniel Sims 17) d Gold Coast 81.
- QBL women: Ipswich Force 63 (Brandi Brown 23, Lauren O'Sullivan 20) d Gold Coast 59.
Force to play Northside Wizards in Saturday night's quarter-final at Ipswich stadium.