By Jordan Witte and Claire Macuz
A third-quarter lapse from Metro Revellers’ Under-17 Division 5 squad has cost the team a well-deserved win against Craigieburn on Tuesday night.
After a frustrating month of cancelled games, forfeits and byes, the Revellers began the game brightly, with the opportunity to get back on the court clearly at the forefront of their mind.
Ultimately, a three-goal third quarter undid all the good work amassed during the first half, with Craigieburn turning the tables in a dominant 10 minutes.
Several factors contributed to the turnaround in fortunes. Lucy Beath, who totaled seven assists in the first half and provided unmatched run and drive, was rested in the third quarter and replaced by Eve Hinchliffe, who was clearly affected by an ankle injury suffered during the week.
The team also abandoned their one-on-one defensive structure, changing to a zone defense. Craigieburn’s Alix Colafella was able to disrupt the usually effective zone by taking the aerial route and passing over Metro’s defenders.
Combined with ineffective passing in the goal third leading to crucial turnovers, and a lack of opportunity for Louisa Bongrain and Aimee Harris, the Revellers added just three goals for the quarter. At the other end of the court, Latesha Hardaway and Chanel Romeo added eight goals, driving Craigieburn to a three-goal lead at the final change.
It would prove to be decisive, as a goal-for-goal last quarter meant the Revellers could not drag themselves back into the contest, crashing to a 20-24 loss.
During a frustrating season for the Revellers, Tuesday night’s game did provide some highlights. Goal keeper Leah Cheevers battled manfully in her pet position, disrupting numerous Craigieburn forward forays. The defender registered an interception in each quarter, proving her worth across a full game.
Ketria Wood’s return from an overseas holiday resulted in her best game of the season, with the goal defense utilising her size and speed to provide a vital option in multiple Revellers attacks. Wood’s drive has improved remarkably since the start of the season, and her ability as a dual-threat positional player will give her a very strong base to build on for next season.
Jas Synott continued her excellent passing season, with the wing attack adding another five assists to the team’s total. Harris and Bongrain worked their way into the game with the latter building on the improved shooting form she has displayed this season.
Harris’ shooting held up under some strong pressure from her old team, with Colafella failing to blunt her influence.
But it was 14-year-old Maddy Birrell, who has played largely as a goal defence this season, who arguably shone brightest. Thrust into centre in the last quarter, Birrell showed plenty of positive signs, passing accurately to the goalers and getting to good positions around the court.
Despite the loss, the Revellers avoid going bottom of the ladder, and will seek to finish the season off strongly before the long off-season.
Aimee Harris: 13/25
Louisa Bongrain: 7/14
Lineup: L. Cheevers, K. Wood, M. Birrell, E. Hinchliffe, L. Beath, J. Synott, A. Harris, L. Bongrain
Votes: L. Beath 3 K. Wood 2 L. Cheevers 1