The North Adelaide Rockets hosted the Forestville Eagles in their first finals fixtures for the year last Saturday.
By Kieren Vartuli
Forestville Eagle 68 | North Adelaide 53
Coming into the season, the Eagles finished 5th just behind the Rockets who finished 4th on percentage.
The atmosphere was electric at Hillcrest with fans from both clubs cheering loudly. After scoring the first basket of the evening and with a couple moments of play, the matchup appeared that it would go down to the wire. North Adelaide were playing hard on the offensive end and this paid off not only on the scoreboard, but also in the offensive rebound category. After an average start by the Eagles, they began to find some form from the field and were able to take their first lead with over 2:30 remaining in the first. Within the final moments in the opening quarter, leads were won and lost due to both sides trading baskets. The lead changed 5 times in this time with Forestville finishing the quarter on top by 1 (14-15) after Olivia Thompson nailed a fade away for control.
With the lead only at 1-point, a North Adelaide victory still could have occurred. Although this was not for long as the Eagles outscored the Rockets 24-14 by the end of the half giving them a recoverable yet sturdy lead of 11-points (28-39). Both clubs increased the defensive pressure in the second term alas it was Forestville who came out on top. This was partially due to Thompson who was doing damage on the scoreboard in the last couple minutes of the half.
Thompson had an excellent finals appearance as she recorded a double-double totalling 26-points and 15-rebounds which included 5 offensive boards. Samantha De Francesco also helped out with the scoring by adding 13-points off 31% of shots.
It was a hard night from the field for the entire Rockets with the team totalling a field goal percentage of 25%. Despite this, Shannon Mckay and Jo Hill were able to post 17 and 12 respectively. In what was Jo Hill’s final game and she was able to show that she could still play by also recording a double-double (12 rebounds, 7 offensive).
Coming out of the change rooms after halftime, Forestville pushed their lead out to 13. Although this was only for a short period as once again, Thompson began to take over and control. With the Rockets struggling from the floor, they only scored 10-points for the quarter allowing Forestville to extend their lead to 18 by 3-quarter time.
Despite their long night, the Rockets were able to capitalise off both turnovers and second chance points as they outscored their opponents 16 and 13 respectively to 6 and 6. On the other hand, the Rockets were struggling to defend inside as they allowed 26-points in the paint.
The North Adelaide Rockets showed some excellent heart and determination in the final quarter to push their opponents until the final buzzer. After an in-game rivalry between Jo Hill and a Forestville team member, Hill showed some more competitiveness after finding the basket from deep by blowing a kiss to her opponent. When the final siren sounded, the Eagles lived to see another day as they were the victors of this elimination final by 15-points.
Forestville play Southern Tigers this week at 6.30pm at Morphett Vale Basketball Stadium.
Read more write ups on the Premier League website.