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Stars secure all-important win against Tactix

Stars secure all-important win against Tactix

The Robinhood Stars took a big step towards featuring in the Finals Series after pulling of a crucial 57-50 win over the Trident Homes Tactix in Christchurch on Sunday.

After the first half was all tied up, the Stars reaped the rewards in a telling third quarter response.

Using a smart game plan to defuse the Tactix menacing defensive threats, the Stars built into a handy lead and once on a roll, made sure they kept the heat on. Denying the home side any chance of a comeback, the visitors’ shooting duo of Maia Wilson and Amorangi Malesala led the way in ensuring the load was shared in providing two viable shooting options.

Missing out on a bonus point (losing by five or less), leaves the Tactix in a precarious position with just two rounds remaining.

Apart from the importance of the outcome for both, there was a number of special milestone achievements across each side, adding to the emotion and intensity.

For the home side, shooter Te Paea Selby-Rickit stepped out for her 150th national league match, coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek took charge of the Tactix for the 100th time and defender Karin Burger celebrated her 100th national league outing.

In the opposition, Stars midcourter Samon Nathan also lined up for her 100th national league match against the team she spent much of her career with.

The Tactix welcomed back key cog Jane Watson after the defensive diva sat out the team’s last two matches through injury. Her impact was immediate as she and fellow in-circle defender Burger kept the Stars shooters on their toes.

It was the same at the other end, where Stars defenders Elle Temu and Holly Fowler exerted similar pressure on Selby-Rickit and Aliyah Dunn to set the tone for a defensive match outing.

Neither team could gain a decisive foothold through the first half with turnovers being a strong feature as the teams showed their desperation. With nothing between either side, the Tactix slipped into a narrow 13-12 lead at the first break.

Possession turnovers continued on the resumption with fumbles and dropped ball plaguing both sides. With the lead chopping and changing on the back of mini runs by both teams, Gina Crampton added the steadying influence in the Stars attack line, the visitors clawing their way back to level up the scores.

On the back of a heavy tumble, Tactix captain Kimiora Poi left the court in some discomfort, being replaced by up-and-comer Parris Petera at wing attack.

A successful long-range bomb from Selby-Rickit on the stroke of halftime left the scores all tied up 24-all at the main break.

Poi made a return for the Tactix at the start of the third quarter but a rejuvenated Stars unleashed a decisive 15 minutes of play to gain the upper hand. Two runs of three straight goals pushed the visitors out to a handy five-goal buffer.

Picking up the pace with their ball speed ensured the Tactix defenders had little time to interrupt the flow with Crampton and captain Wilson continuing to pull the strings for the Stars.

Another Burger steal and expert feeding from Tactix centre Laura Malcolm hauled the hosts back into the game but with their flow and accuracy in top working order, the Stars were proving hard to contain when they took a 42-37 lead into the last turn.