The first game of the second day of Playoff Finals weekend action saw Lady Rocks take down Perth Phoenix in the U16 Women’s Final 62-51.
First up on the Oriam floor for Day 2 saw the U16 Women Playoff Final in a Scottish Cup repeat, with Lady Rocks taking on league champions Perth Phoenix. Lady Rocks will felt confident going into this match after taking care of Scottish Cup duties in January against Perth Phoenix, but would compete today without Scotland Internationalist Valentina Palli. 'Offence wins games, but defence wins championships’ could not sound truer, Coach McDaid and Kesson must have both followed this philosophy as both teams came out with intense defence in the opening minutes, where between them they could only muster 6 points, no easy shots were given. Lady Rocks began to figure out how to break the Perth defence in the latter minutes of the 1st quarter as they opened up a 5 point lead to end the opening quarter, 19-14.
Carla Crowther was tired of hearing how the Phoenix will rise from the ashes of Cup defeat and
put on a personal defensive masterclass to start the second quarter that helped her fellow Lady Rocks get out to a 23-14 lead and force Perth coach Russel Kesson into a timeout. The break in play proved significant as the once 11point lead was reduced to just 5 halfway through the 2nd quarter as Perth ran the fast break well. Defence was again on the cards for Phoenix as they cut the deficit to 1 with guard Freya Walker stepping to the line and managing to tie the game 25 a piece with under 2 minutes remaining in the half. Thus, the crowd made themselves heard reacting to every shot, whistle and steal. Lady Rocks managed to earn themselves a narrow halftime lead as they led 29-27 over Perth Phoenix.
Defence was on show again as it became physical under the basket with Phoenix’s Doherty and Rocks' Loughran unveiling themselves as dominant players for their squads. Turnovers were already an issue for Phoenix but Lady Rocks began to suffer from them too failing to get the ball out of their own half consecutively. Taryn Cummins closed Phoenix’s deficit to a single point as she split the defence down the key forcing Lady Rocks Coach, Tony McDaid, into a timeout with under 3 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter. Coach McDaid having asked questions of his girls, they came out with a revitalised offence and intensity. The 3rd quarter ended with some hot shooting as Lady Rocks held a 44-40 lead.
Niamh McGarrachan and Carla Crowther were a power duo for the Lady Rocks early in the 4th quarter as they solidified the Rocks' lead at 9, 54-45. Freya Walker of Perth was having a poor afternoon shooting the ball but impacted the game in other ways. Both teams were battling
hard, a much closer game than the Scottish Cup Final, with Lady Rocks holding a 7 point lead, they entered team fouls for the remaining 3 minutes of the game. Coach Kesson called Perth’s 3rd and final timeout with 1:40 remaining in the game and his girls trailing by 7, it was all to play for. Perth Phoenix battled hard till the last second but were outdone by the experience of the Lady Rocks – they went on to be crowned the 2018 Playoff Finals Champions for the U16 Women, defeating Perth Phoenix 62-51.
Lady Rocks – Sophie Loughran 26pts 8 rebounds, Carla Crowther 20 pts 11 rebounds.
Carla Crowther was named Molten Sports MVP.