St Maurice's High School, Cumbernauld, was the place to be on Friday 21st September as your U18 Lady Rocks opened the 2018/2019 season with a match vs central rivals, Falkirk Fury! The match was also dubbed Crossbasket Game of the Week and it certainly did not disappoint.
Hampered by a number of significant injuries, the match started slowly for the Lady Rocks as the Cumbernauld side struggled to settle into the match early on, failing to convert on the first seven attempts at basket. This allowed Fury to open up an early 6 point lead. Never far from the action, Shannon Beattie opened the scoring for the Lady Rocks immediately followed by a Fury turnover and another Lady Rocks score, this time from Sophie Loughran!
The Lady Rocks and Falkirk Fury traded baskets for the remainder of the 1st quarter, finishing Lady Rocks 13-21 Falkirk Fury after 10 minutes of play.
Any concerns of the Lady Rocks 1st quarter efforts were quickly put to bed to start Q2 as the Cumbernauld side would force Fury into back to back turnovers, resulting in a Beattie 3-pointer and an incredible off balanced shot, again from Beattie. The Lady Rocks were right back in this match trailing Fury 18-23.
The defensive intensity really stepped up a gear for the Lady Rocks early into the 2nd quarter as Fury were forced into a further two turnovers and once again, resulting in a Beattie 3 and this time a strong drive down the key by Faleu! The Lady Rocks took their 1st lead of the match, 23-21, and the Rocks faithful were loving every second of it. St Maurice's was rocking!
However, Fury were not out of the game, far from it! A timeout was called by Fury following a deep 3-pointer from Faleu. The team in Red were fired up and raring to go scoring out of their timeout and forcing the Lady Rocks into another turnover, which Fury made Rocks pay for. Some critical passing and strong cuts towards the basket gave the Lady Rocks the opportunity to get to the free throw line and extend the lead.
Foul trouble was a big problem for the Lady Rocks in the 1st half, forcing Assistant Coach Mairi MacNeil, stepping in for Head Coach Erin Gilbride, to rotate her bench early in the match.
The 2nd quarter finished Lady Rocks 42-32 Falkirk Fury.
The Lady Rocks came out to start the 3rd quarter with the same grit and determination they displayed in Q2. Burns converting on a nice drive down the key from a Samuels high post hand-off. Samuels, playing her first minutes in a Lady Rocks jersey showed promising signs as she out hustled the Fury players on the boards, pulling down every rebound she could.
After what was initially a quick Q3 start for the Lady Rocks we began to cool down and this is where Fury made their run on both ends of the court, forcing the Rocks to go 12 straight possessions without scoring. Our lead was now only 13 points. Coach MacNeil forced into a timeout.
The Rocks came out the timeout re-energised forcing Fury into a turnover before breaking up the court where once again a wide open Shannon Beattie would knock down the 3-point shot.
The Rocks again forced Fury into another turnover and it was the turn of Ciara Burns to knock down the long 3-point bomb from the right corner.
The 3rd quarter ended Lady Rocks 61-43 Falkirk Fury.
Big questions were asked of the Cumbernauld side in the 4th quarter as Fury tried to stage a late comeback, not allowing Lady Rocks to secure any sort of comfortable lead for the majority of the quarter. Intense defensive pressure from Fury forced Lady Rocks into multiple turnovers, mainly mis-connected passes. Fury took full advantage of their opportunities off of Rocks turnovers, closing the gap to 11 points entering into the final 5 minutes of play. After a further two successive possessions ending in a turnover, the Lady Rocks called timeout to re-group and re-focus.
Coming out of the timeout the Lady Rocks would put together an impressive scoring run with Loughran and Faleu making some incredible off balance shots with Beattie and Burns also contributing from 3. An improved defensive approach saw the Lady Rocks force Fury into an 8-second halfcourt violation which Rocks capitalised on from a Beattie 3. Beattie would then foul out of the game on the following play after contesting for a loose ball. By this point, the Rocks had inflicted enough damage to see off the Falkirk side, coming away with the victory.
An standout performance from Shannon Beattie who contributed with 33 points!
The match finished Lady Rocks 71-56 Falkirk Fury.
Photo Credit | TUB Podcast.