Pulsating late charge helps Tactix pip Stars
Celebrating their first match of the season at home, the Silvermoon Tactix pinched a last-gasp 49-48 win over the Northern Stars in Christchurch today.
Beset with injury problems, the Tactix showed plenty of character after taking the lead for the first time in the match with 10 seconds left on the clock while also posting their first-ever win at home in the ANZ Premiership.
Mirroring their extra time win over the same opponents in the first round, the Tactix refused to surrender after the Stars held the upper hand through most of the match.
All the drama came in the closing 2-1/2 minutes, the Tactix grabbing turnover opportunities and converting as the Stars failed to retain their earlier composure and faltering in the moments that mattered.
Enjoying slightly more opportunities was reflected in the Stars narrow 14-12 lead at the first break. Maia Wilson shouldered much of the shooting load for the visitors to great effect after the teams had level-pegged through much of the first term.
Wilson was well supported by fellow 20-year-old Holly Fowler who controlled proceedings from centre, the usual-defender using her extra height to good use when reeling in intercept ball through her defensive capabilities.
Kate Beveridge and Brooke Leaver shared the shooting load for the Tactix but did not enjoy the same freedom in the circle as their opponents.
Paula Griffin was injected into goal attack for the Stars on the resumption with immediate effect, the visitors lifting their levels of intensity to leave the Tactix feeling the pinch.
Trailing by nine at one stage, the Tactix made multiple changes in a bid to repair the damage, including Leaver shifting into the pivot’s position of wing attack.
The home side replied in the best possible fashion while eating into the deficit. Leaver made a strong contribution from wing attack while the competition’s tallest player Ellie Bird provided a prominent target under the hoop.
Experienced defender Ama Agbeze and her rookie partner Olivia Coughlan ensured the Stars kept the Tactix at arm’s length when they led 28-24 at the main break.
Both teams put everything on the line during a hectic and absorbing third stanza. Once again, the Tactix chipped away to edge within one late in the piece. Jane Watson provided some trademark turnover ball as the home side enjoyed their best quarter of the match.
The cool head of Griffin to shoot successfully from range helped the Stars maintain a narrow 38-36 lead at the last turn.