Ipswich Force player Ashton Eaton.
Ipswich Force player Ashton Eaton. Rob Williams

Ipswich's chance to become QBL Force

IPSWICH Force's hopes of playing in this year's state league finals received a major boost after their latest win on the road.

Beating USC Rip 82-66 at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday night keeps the Force women in the top eight.

Ipswich's fourth win of the season came at a vital time after some tough clashes.

As experienced head coach Brad George knows, peaking at the right time is essential in the cut-throat Queensland Basketball League.

With former Gold Coast player Biancia Abbott the latest to settle into the Force roster, George is expecting some strong performances.

"It's probably only one or two teams that are a little bit below the rest,'' he said. "Other than that, from first to 12, on any given night, anyone can beat anyone.

"We knew the way our draw worked that we had to start building some momentum and get into the finals.''

Having faced a number of the more established top four sides, the Force women have plenty to play for, especially now imports Markel Walker and Shenita Landry are combining.

"It's a good opportunity now to build and put some back-to-back wins together,'' George said.

"Definitely, we are there. We've just got to keep working hard and get the timings right and everyone on the same page.''

Force's next opponents are the Brisbane Capitals, the team above them on the QBL ladder.

In Saturday night's match, the Force women took a while to fire up, building an 11 point lead by halftime.

"We were just going through the motions pretty much. The intensity wasn't there,'' George said.

However, the Force women did enough in the second half to seal victory.

Walker top scored with 26 points to go with her seven offensive and seven defensive rebounds.

The Ipswich men suffered another nailbiting defeat, going down 98-96 to USC Rip.

Force only trailed by one point at three-quarter time.

Captain James Legan toiled hard with 37 points, including seven three- pointers from 10 attempts.

State of play

QBL men: USC Rip 98 def Ipswich Force 96 (James Legan 37, Kyle Harvey 18).

QBL women: Ipswich Force 82 (Markel Walker 26, Shenita Landry 18) def USC Rip 66.

Next matches: Friday night - Ipswich Force v Brisbane Capitals at Auchenflower.

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