Bendigo Braves are all that stand between Kyneton Tigers and a Country Basketball League women’s north-east grand final spot.
The Tigers had a solid win in the quarter-finals against Myrtleford Saints on Saturday night to win through to the semi-finals – the same stage they made last year.
Playing on the road, the Tigers were dealt a blow before the match, with Rebecca Van Kuyk ruled out to give her injured knee another week’s rest.
Despite that, the Tigers were able to hold off the Saints. They led for much of the game, but the margin never got beyond 10 points.
With just under five minutes to go, the Tigers led by one point. They held strong in the dying minutes to win 66-59.
Coach Chris Tighe was thrilled.
“It was a pretty good win,” he said. “It was a good win for the girls and they executed everything really well.”
Tighe was full of praise for the Saints, who never gave up.
Tigers veteran Michelle Fletcher led from the front, top-scoring with 20 points.
“Fletch played awesome again,” Tighe said. “She’s the heart and soul of the team and puts in 100 per cent and that flows through the team.”
Jessica Mangan scored 15 points and Molly Greetham scored 10 to help cover the absence of Van Kuyk. The Tigers at times went small ball, a tactic that may be used against the Braves.
Tighe was delighted with 14-year-old Adrienne Cameron, who scored 11 points.
“She handled the ball really well and shot the lights out,” he said.
“She’s a junior [Sunbury] Jets player and was outstanding.”
The win set up a semi-final clash with the Bendigo Braves, who have lost just one match for the year.
The teams played twice during the season, with the Braves winning by three and 16 points respectively.
Tighe said beating the Braves had been one of their aims this season.
He said at this stage, they would have a full squad available.
“We’ve wanted to beat Bendigo all season and we get one more shot at it,” he said.
“The first game was one of the most fun games I’ve coached this season.
“The second game we were up by 20 points and stopped playing.
“If we can put in a strong 40 minutes, I think we will be OK.
“We’ve got 40 minutes ahead of us … hopefully we can get the win and then there’s another 40 minutes.”
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