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Stars stand tall for crucial win over Tactix

Stars stand tall for crucial win over Tactix

Nullifying their opponent’s defensive strengths, the Robinhood Stars have notched up a key win over the high-flying Trident Homes Tactix.

The Stars controlled the tempo of the ANZ Premiership match at Pulman Arena in Papakura on Sunday to showcase their title credentials with a convincing 57-48 win over the Tactix.

The hosts were quick out of the blocks in the second quarter to set up the victory in front of a home crowd, allowing them to leapfrog the Tactix into second place on the Premiership points table.

Connections throughout the court were on point for the Stars, none more so than between feeders Gina Crampton and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan and shooters Amorangi Malesala and Maia Wilson – Reuelu-Buchanan putting in an MVP performance with her high work-rate around the court.

And when the Tactix threatened to snatch a bonus point late in the fourth quarter, the Stars lifted on defence through Holly Fowler, Elle Temu and Samon Nathan to put the match beyond doubt for a telling win.

There were no surprises in the starting seven for the Tactix with the Stars opting for Malesala at goal attack ahead of Jamie Hume while captain Maia Wilson was back on court after suffering a slight calf strain last week, and Temu and Kelera Nawai-Caucau got the nod in the defence.

It was a highly anticipated match-up with the Tactix drawing first blood in the opening round with a six-goal win, but the Stars countered with an outstanding attacking performance to turn the tables on their opponent.

Both teams showed nerves in the opening spell, with some wayward passing marring the early stages of play.

Scores remained locked as they went goal-for-goal, shooters at either end of the court showing patience and accuracy – the Stars making the early break with Malesala sinking goals at range for two-goal buffer.

Tactix duo Jane Watson and Karin Burger have been arguably the toughest defensive combination in the league to date, but the Stars negated their strengths with some pinpoint delivery from both Crampton and Reuelu-Buchanan into the shooters who turned straight to the post.

A deflection from Crampton gave the Stars the opportunity to extend their advantage in the dying stages of the quarter and they went to the break with a 16-12 lead.

It grew to five goals on the resumption of play as the Tactix were starved of the defensive turnovers they have enjoyed in recent weeks.

Errors on attack were also hurting the visitors as they looked out of sorts against a Stars unit that grew in confidence, the hosts extending their buffer to nine goals by the mid-way point of the spell.

It prompted a change from the Tactix with captain Kimiora Poi replacing Laura Malcolm at centre and Parris Petera coming off the bench to the wing.

At the other end of the court, Wilson’s strong hold coupled with Malesala’s long-range accuracy were pivotable as the Stars crept further ahead on the scoreboard to enjoy a 32-23 lead at halftime.

The Stars made just one change after the break with Fowler coming on at goal defence and Temu moving into the goal keep role.

The difference was cut by one, but it was tough road for the visitors who were made to work hard for every opportunity on attack.

In contrast, the Stars had the freedom to move on attack and were precise with their delivery through court and a faultless performance in the circle it wasn’t long for them to regain a comfortable advantage.

The Tactix had the opportunity to come within five goals in the dying seconds of the third spell, but a stray pass up front typified the visitors efforts tonight as they turned into the final term, trailing 38-46.