Pride and passion trademarks of Force reaching grand final
BRAD George was one of the proudest coaches in Ipswich yesterday. And the Ipswich Force women's team mentor had every right to be.
Arriving back in Ipswich, George was delighted having watched his side deliver one of the city's best results in many years.
In a state league featuring teams with bigger budgets and American imports, the Force reached Saturday night's grand final with a host of fine regional talent and two national league players who have blended superbly into Ipswich's sporting culture.
Adelaide Lightning player Nadeen Payne and Logan Thunder forward Emma Langford helped Ipswich reach the pinnacle in state basketball. However, it was a team with Ipswich's trademark determination that responded.
In his third season coaching the side, George yesterday reflected on what had been achieved during the tough finals weekend.
"They were outstanding," he said. "They were great.
"We had nothing to lose in either of them, especially Friday. They showed their quality.
"Everyone did their job."
George admired what Ipswich accomplished against higher-profile opponent Gladstone in leading from the first quarter.
"They worked hard the entire game," he said. "It was definitely the best we've had to play to beat a side with that amount of stars in it.
"They really earnt a lot of respect over the weekend."
George said guard Courtney Taylor's 20-point contribution on Friday night was the difference.
"They couldn't stop her," he said.
The team's post-game emotion reflected a job well done.
"They were over the moon, jumping around in the middle of the court and that," George said.
Against home team Mackay 24 hours later, Ipswich faced a mission impossible.
"The Friday night game was just so physical, full credit to the girls last night," he said.
"The scoreline wasn't an indication of the game. It was close all the way through."
George summed up how he felt after the testing road trip.
"Pride is the word,'' the Bremer State High School teacher said.
"You have that bit of disappointment that you didn't win it but it was outstanding. I'm really proud of the girls."