The Sunbury Jets were left to rue a poor first half and now need to do it the hard way if they are to make the Big V women’s state championship grand final series.
The Jets, who had claimed the minor premiership and the past two titles, didn’t look like the side that everyone has come to expect in Saturday’s semi-final against the Keilor Thunder.
The Thunder made them pay, with an 80-74 win to claim the first spot in the grand final.
Jets coach Kennedy Kereama said they only had themselves to blame for the loss.
The Jets trailed by 17 points at half-time after a poor first half.
While they got back into the game in the second half, it was the first half that they would look back on.
“Keilor were really good in the first half, so credit to them,” Kereama said.
“We weren’t great and Keilor were great. You can’t afford to have a poor start.
“We [Sunbury] had two different teams out there. The second half team was the team we expected to turn up.”
Kereama said there was three areas which really hurt them in the first half.
He said the Thunder shot really well, their defence was terrible and they didn’t execute well enough in offence.
Despite the poor start, the Jets worked themselves into the game and the margin was three points within the last minute.
The Thunder hit some crucial free throws to seal the win.
Like their first half, Kereama said they didn’t execute well in the final minutes.
“There was some really critical plays down the stretch,” he said.
“It could have been the difference in us winning.
“I don’t want to nit-pick the last couple of minutes … I thought we cost ourselves the game in the first half.”
Courtney Duever top scored with 20 points, while Orla O’Reilly and Lynn Leaupepe also scored double figures.
The Jets were without Chelsea Kereama, as she remains a week by week decision because of injury.
Kereama said while they missed Chelsea’s leadership on Saturday night, they had enough talent and experience in the side to deal with her absence. He said that seeing a team celebrating beating them to get into a grand final might fire up the group.
The Jets this week face the Werribee Devils in the preliminary final.
The Devils had a massive win against Hume City Broncos, winning their semi-final 73-51.
The Devils defence was in full force, restricting the Broncos imports to just three points between them.
Kereama said they needed to be switched on this week against the Devils.
“I’ve said all season, the top five teams are capable of beating anyone on their day.”
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