The Sunbury Jets were challenged and they responded in the best possible way to claim a Big V women’s state championship grand final berth.
All the pressure was on the Jets going into game two of the series against Knox Raiders after their most disappointing performance of the season in game one.
Jets’ coach Kennedy Kereama said the side came in switched on and it showed, especially in the first half.
They led 17-5 at quarter-time and the margin increased to 13 points at the main break. It was an even second half with the Jets winning game two 62-51.
“We knew one loss and our season was over,” Kereama said.
“We had a really good week on the track and had a game plan coming in.
“We played outstanding defensive basketball for the first half, especially in the first quarter.
“Defensively we really knuckled down and got on with it.”
Courtney Duever starred with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Josie Stockill also scored double figures.
With game two in the bank, it came down to game three on Sunday.
It was another Jets fast-starting first quarter, and they lead by 12 points at the first break.
The Raiders fought back and took the lead in the third quarter. The Jets’ fighting spirit showed through and they responded to win 67-59 and seal a grand final spot.
Kereama said they always knew that Knox would keep coming at them.
“We kept them to an average of just over 50 points, which is really good. I’m really proud and know that we’ve done a good job.
“They are a quality outfit that have been in this position before and have more finals experience than us.”
Duever scored her second double-double of the weekend.
The Jets’ now have the rare chance to claim division 1 and state championships titles in the space of two years.
Standing in their way is Bulleen Boomers who defeated Waverley Falcons in two games.
Kereama said it would be another challenging contest.
“They’re a changed outfit from the first time we played them,” he said.
“Last time Courtney didn’t play and they didn’t have Lauren Pearce playing. It’ll be the first time we’ve both played with full sides.”
Game one will be played at Bulleen this weekend. Game two and, if needed, game three, will be at Sunbury the following weekend.
Meanwhile, several Jets are up for Big V awards. Chelsea Burns, who won the division 1 defensive player of the year award last year, is nominated again, this time in state championships division. Orla O’Reilly is up for defensive player of the year, most valuable player and the all-star five team.
Duever has been nominated for MVP and all-star five, while Kereama is up for coach of the year.