Ipswich’s calmest player set for ’David v Goliath’ duel
WHEN it comes to needing a cool head in a pressure situation, Ipswich Force co-captain Amy Lewis is the go-to basketballer.
The former national league player displayed her incredible temperament in guiding Ipswich to a nerve-racking 79-76 Queensland State League (QSL) quarter-final win over the Brisbane Capitals.
Preparing for Friday night's livestreamed semi-final against unbeaten Logan Thunder, Lewis was proud of her team that followed her as the Capitals mounted a last-gasp charge for victory.
Lewis nailed a series of three-pointers, backing up a four-point play from co-captain Georgia Ralph, to repel their opponents and secure a semi-final spot.
"I like to lead by example,'' Lewis said.
"I've played a lot of basketball and I've been in situations like that many times before.
"I just felt really calm.
"Going into that last play, I just think we knew we were going to win.''
Although she has no further Women's National Basketball League (WNBL) aspirations, Lewis is keen to play in next year's inaugural NBL1 North competition.
"While I can, I will continue to keep playing,'' Lewis, 34, said.
"I'm really enjoying my basketball at the moment.''
She last played in the WNBL for SEQ Stars in 2015.
Lewis was delighted to hear Friday night's semi-final would be livestreamed, given the recent coverage.
"Even the support from back home in Victoria, they've had not a lot going on there for quite a few months,'' the Ipswich co-captain said.
"I've got a lot of family and friends that have been following and watching the games when they can and tuning into the livestream and keeping up-to-date with all the scores.
"I think it's been great for Basketball Queensland that we have had a little bit of a spotlight up here for the rest of Australia to have a look at some sport in the last couple of months.
"In terms of next year, it will be really good that maybe more players will consider coming up to Queensland to play.''
Both QSL semi-finals featuring the Ipswich teams will be livestreamed on Friday night on this QT website.
The men's clash with Brisbane Capitals tips off at 7pm at JBS Stadium at Booval.
The sixth-placed Force women hope to make the grand final by beating top side Logan in their livestreamed semi-final at 8pm.
Lewis knows Logan will be a massive opponent having won all 11 QSL matches, including a 94-56 win over Ipswich.
"They (Logan) have been the pinnacle of the league all season,'' Lewis said.
"Ultimately they are a NBL women's side playing against QSL sides.
"They have got a range of amazing national and international calibre players.
"It's going to be a tough ask. It's a bit of a David and Goliath situation.
"But we have every right to be in the final.
"We've come a long way since we played them last time.''
Force were without co-captain Ralph for that match.
In last Sunday's quarter-final, Marburg product Meg Essex threatened to take the game away from Ipswich in the final moments before the experience of Lewis, Ralph and Rachel Mate guided Force home.
The Bulimba State School PE teacher was thrilled how her side had risen from some early disruptions to achieve a major goal.
"We were actually hoping we would get another crack at playing Capitals after round one when we were a bit disappointed we didn't win the game,'' she said.
The wish was granted with a quarter-final showdown.
"This time, the result fell our way,'' she said.
Impressed with the performance of Essex, Lewis hoped she could return to the Ipswich program in the future having developed her career in the region before playing overseas.
Lewis said her team woke up with some bodies on Monday morning.
Despite the added challenge of playing in an 8pm match after work, she was confident the Ipswich players would give their all.
"We'll be right to go on Friday,'' she said.
"We have nothing to lose.
"We'll give it a crack and whatever happens, I think our team should be really proud of the way that we've closed out this season.''
The Ipswich Force women's team: Claudia Ott, Tiannya Sing, Rachel Mate, Jessica Taylor, Catherine Macgregor, Georgia Ralph, Ainslee Heuston, Grace Hughes, Iris Cubit, Charlotte Hegvold, Shaia Tautau, Amy Lewis. Coach: Terry Lindeberg. Assistant coach: Cassie Poulain. Managers: Lee Hughes and Lindy Ralph.
QSL Women's Division 1 semi-final: Friday (8pm) - Ipswich Force (sixth) v Logan Thunder (first) at Bendigo Bank Stadium.
The match is being livestreamed on the QT website.