In a must win game for Forestville, the Eagles travelled to Morphett Vale to face the Tigers for a place in the Preliminary Final.

Southern Tigers 90 | Forestville Eagles 62           

Coming off a solid victory over the Rockets, Forestville looked to keep the momentum rolling. On the other hand, after being handed a 12-point loss, the Tigers were looking for redemption.

The Tigers court looked in excellent condition and helped set the stage for this anticipated finals clash. From the opening tip, the Tigers opened up with a 9-1 run giving them a sturdy lead from the beginning. This was only the beginning of a long night for the Eagles as they struggled on both ends of the floor early. The visitors were not only unable to get some consistency from the field but also struggled to defend inside. On the contrary, the Tigers were heating up from the field and building a strong lead. After a quiet first quarter by Olivia Thompson she was able to score a beautiful post move and cut the margin down to 13-points. At the end of the first term, Forestville found themselves down 15.

It was much of the same for both sides after a short break as Forestville’s shooting woes continued while Tigers were still very hot. Samantha De Francesco was one of Forestville’s bright sparks for the evening finishing with 19pts off 31% shooting (6/6 FT’s). Three of her nineteen came from their opening basket for the quarter. In a dominating quarter by the Tigers, the Eagles were outscored 22-7. Tara Robinson was having an excellent night finishing with a 20-points and 11 rebounds and the audience were sure to let her know about it. Robinson was playing very well inside and was contributing to Forestville’s defensive problems. After a very hot first half for the hosts, the Tigers were up 30-points with still a half remaining.

After the long break, any chance of a miracle comeback was all but gone for the visitors as Forestville were struggling all over the floor. Despite their dominance, the Tigers kept their foot on the pedal giving the crowd something to cheer about. Mollie McKendrick did her part by adding 16-points including a fantastic post step-back jumper for two. To add to Forestville’s offensive troubles, they were struggling to keep the ball safe throughout the game and turned the ball over 21 times by the end of the game. Luckily despite the Tigers’ control, they were unable to make them pay after turning the ball over as they only recorded 14-points off turnovers. At three-quarter time, the final margin of victory was the only thing to be determined as the Tigers were up 38-points.

The Eagles had nothing to lose as they walked back onto the court for the final time this season. After a confrontation on the court, tensions between some players could be felt although this was calmed down after the game restarted. The winding down of the clock could not have came any faster for the Eagles as they struggled in a few areas throughout the entire night. In their final possession of the game, the Eagles made the most of it despite the score. To finish the game on a high, Samantha De Francesco was able to obtain enough room and have enough time remaining to rattle home a ‘Hail Mary’ from deep. With less than a second remaining in the game, the margin was set at 28-points.

Olivia Thompson, despite finishing with 19-points struggled to make a huge impact on the game like she did against North Adelaide and this was noticeable on the scoreboard. Tigers’ Denelle Fawcett had an excellent night from the field finishing with a game high 21-points and posting 15 rebounds for the evening. Mollie McKendrick also had quite an accurate an efficient evening as she posted 16-points off 67% shooting as well as gaining an Efficiency rating of 18.

With this win, the Tigers will face the West Adelaide Bearcats for a spot in the Grand Final this coming Saturday, while the Eagles will be watching the remaining of the 2016 season unfortunately from the sidelines. 

 By Kieren Vartuli

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