Saints ‘up the ante’ to overpower young Demons as Tigers and Roos add wins to tally

Saints ‘up the ante’ to overpower young Demons as Tigers and Roos add wins to tally

SOUTH GAMBIER V MILLICENT


At half time of the clash between South Gambier and Millicent, the Saints had set up a 10 goal lead and the young Demons looked up for the fight.


The margin was set up in the first quarter with the Saints just generating more scoring shots and the South goalers having trouble converting, but it was a goal-for-goal second quarter – had the South conversion been better – they may well have narrowed the margin more significantly.


But the third quarter was one way traffic as the Saints upped the ante in every area of the court to turn that 10 goal half time lead into a 22 goal three quarter time advantage.


Millicent circle defenders Lauren Van Eeden and Portia McRae had dominated the opening half and created even more turnover ball in the third as the full court pressure from the Saints saw the Demons continually cough up possession, securing a number of held balls.


After a strong opening half at goal attack Edie Easterby continued to be critical in transition and her combination with Nikeisha Facey, who entered the clash in the second half, looked dangerous every time young mid courters Daisy Tunkin and Lillie Paul looked to deliver the ball.


Facey dominated the final quarter, netting 12 from 14, and in the end the final margin was 30.


Lisa Duldig dominated the opening half in centre with her hard drives and in the second half she was part of that Saints defensive line that only gave up 20 scoring opportunities.


Van Eeden and McRae dominated the rebounding and also picked up plenty of turnover ball with their ability to read the play, disrupting the Demons’ offensive plays time and time again.


Easterby, who showed what she could do in goal attack against West Gambier in round 2, was again important in creating space in the shooting circle, rebounding strongly and also getting some important defensive touches.


Ellie Bouchier was clearly South’s best as she continually won the ball back and also had to work hard in helping transition through the mid court, while Sophie Wight had an influence when she entered the clash in the second half, first in centre with her fresh legs and then in circle defence where she got her hands to come ball.


In the end, it was a story of supply and South just could not generate enough scoring opportunities and the Demons will need to be a lot more consistent this weekend when they take on Casterton Sandford.



NORTH GAMBIER V EAST GAMBIER


It was an arm wrestle in the first quarter when North Gambier hosted East Gambier as both sides looked to find some rhythm and at the first break the home side held a narrow three goal lead.


Things completely changed in the second as North put their foot down, ramping up the defensive pressure and, in turn, finding some speed of ball in offence and the scoreboard started to weigh heavily in their favour.


Stella Mobbs, Lauran Norman and Mel Renko were relentless in their defensive efforts in the second, reducing East to only nine scoring opportunities for the quarter.


On the flip side, North through the hard running of Kaitlin Egan and Brianna Walters were finding their goalers Macey Griffith and Kelly Lockwood in space time and time again and by the main break that margin had blown out to 17.


Lockwood converted 10 from 16 and Griffith was on song with nine from 11 as the Tigers took complete control of the contest.


In fact, it was the only quarter where the Bulldogs were not competitive, but it cost them any chance of victory.


The second half saw a 30-29 scoreline in favour of the home side with East’s Malinda Foster again leading from the front with a shooting performance that saw her again named one of her side’s best – converting 23 from 27, including 14 from 15 in the frenetic final quarter.


That strong second half from the Bulldogs was also built on an improved defensive effort with Bo Creek leading the way in what has been an outstanding start to 2024 for the veteran defender, with good support from Sharna McKinnon and Morgan Amy.


Griffith was North’s best, alongside the always-consistent Walters.



WEST GAMBIER V CASTERTON SANDFORD


West Gambier might have been without star shooter Sarah Ritter but it did not affect their ability to score and they came out of the blocks firing, taking a 17 goal lead into the first break.


That ability to score prolifically was built on a relentless defensive effort that saw the Cats struggling to find a way to their shooters as Amy Cram led a defensive end that had Mikaela Horrigan, Chelsea Tremelling and Tara Bryant pressure every pass, creating plenty of turnover ball.


The speed of ball in transition was there for the Roos and Tahlia Bradley and Lisa McGregor made every post a winner, netting 21 from 24, with McGregor converting a perfect eight from eight.


The Cats settled into their work in the second with Chloe Finnigan taking the goalkeeper bid to try and quell Bradley’s output, while Indi Longhurst and Madalene Cleary started to find better circle position and Holly Smith and Chelsea Hulm were afforded more scoring opportunities and the half time margin was 21.


The third quarter followed a similar script as Casterton Sandford swung a few changes, moving Cleary into the shooting circle and adding Phoebe Carlin to the mid court mix.


It was another competitive quarter before the last 15 minutes saw West take control again to claim a 38 goal victory.


McGregor showed the damage she can do when given plenty of scoring opportunities – she had two quarters of perfect shooting and finished the match with a critical 31 from 34, while Bradley capably filled Ritter’s shoes.


Cram was again the queen of creating the turnover, while Bryant and Jess Holmes moved the ball quickly into their dynamic shooting duo.


Cleary and Caeleigh Humphries, who toiled hard in defence the entire game, were the best for the Cats.

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