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Tactix return to winning ways against Stars

Tactix return to winning ways against Stars

The Trident Homes Tactix pocketed a valuable three points while reclaiming top spot on the table after defusing a spirited Stars challenge 65-54 in Auckland on Saturday.

Showing the experience within their ranks, the Tactix were able to get 10 of their players on-court through the match while adding a valuable building block in their preparations for the Finals Series.

The big reward for the visitors was Aliyah Dunn getting her first start of the season after spending a lengthy injury-enforced spell on the sidelines, the willowy shooter getting through three quarters without incidence for an influential 31 goals from 31 attempts.

Overall, the accuracy and finishing of the Tactix across the court proved the difference, captain Kimiora Poi chiming in with a personal haul of five intercepts.

The Stars had their moments but were unable to extend the Tactix for long enough periods, captain Maia Wilson provided a sterling effort under the hoop with 43 from 46 while defenders Kate Burley and Holly Fowler delivered some effective moments through their tireless efforts.

Looking to erase the memory of last week’s loss, there was plenty of positive intent from the Tactix early on, five straight goals handing the visitors the early impetus.

With little court time this season, Dunn made a seamless transition to the on-court action, her calmness, accuracy, movement and sure hands under the hoop paying dividends. On the back of crisp attacking play, the shooter-to-shooter connection between Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Dunn was a key factor.

At the other end, the well-credentialled defensive partnership of Karin Burger and Jane Watson was a menacing presence throughout in thwarting the Stars attacking options.

Momentary lapses proved costly for the Stars, relieving any pressure they were able to mount and allowing the Tactix to hold a 15-11 lead at the first break.

Scoring the first two goals on the resumption brought the home side right back into the contest. Mixing and matching their playing options, which included Khanye-Lii Munro-Nonoa (wing defence), Amorangi Malesala (goal attack) and Lili Tokaduadua (goalkeeper), in a bid to unsettle the Tactix had limited success.

With the experienced heads of Wilson, in excellent touch under the hoop, and defender Fowler keeping the Stars hopes afloat, the home side were not able to mirror the Tactix efficiency in threading the ball through court.

But in a closely-fought second quarter, the Stars only allowed the Tactix to increase their lead marginally when the visitors held a 32-27 advantage at the main break.

A rampant start by the visitors to the third quarter had the Stars staring down the barrel. Surging out to a double-digit advantage, the Tactix threatened to rip the game wide open.

In the thick of action, Poi was a key presence both on attack and defensively, picking up numerous turnover opportunities which was complemented by the dominant efforts of the Tactix shooting and defensive ends while leaving little wriggle room for the Stars.

To their credit, the home side came back strongly in the closing stages of the third stanza to finish with a flourish while adding some respectability when the Tactix took a handy 49-40 lead into the last break.

The Tactix made multiple changes for the run home, including Ellie Bird (goal shoot), Greer Sinclair (centre) and Kate Lloyd (goalkeeper), the Stars taking advantage of the new combinations making a slow start.

Bringing the crowd back into the game with an inspiring late rally, the Stars drew within four in the opening five minutes but that was as good as it got. Once finding their groove, the Tactix shut the door to deny the Stars any thoughts of a comeback.