Gracemount High School, Edinburgh, was the place to be on Thursday 15th November as your Lady Rocks looked to open up a 3 point lead at the top of the Scottish Basketball Championship with a win over Polonia Phoenix. The Rocks defeated Polonia by 38 points on opening night, so understandably our girls were feeling confident going into the game.
Missing the presence of Captain Nadele Strain, the Lady Rocks started the match slow as they struggled to convert on offence. Ball rotations were great leading to lots of great opportunities but the Rocks just could not score. Phoenix took full advantage of this, keeping pressure on the Lady Rocks and converting on easy shots inside the key.
The Lady Rocks, however, weren't about to fall apart as they maintained a 3-point lead for most of the 1st quarter over Phoenix.
Late Q1 and it was youngster Shannon Beattie who gave the Lady Rocks a 5 point lead, cutting down the key and receiving the ball off an endline pass for 2.
END Q1 | Polonia Phoenix 14-19 Lady Rocks
A dominant start to the 2nd quarter for the Lady Rocks sees the Cumbernauld side put together three straight steals on defence, all of which leading to easy fastbreak layups. The fourth steal in a row for the Lady Rocks came in the front court, followed by excellent ball movement to find Erin Gilbride for 3. Timeout Phoenix.
Coming out of the timeout, the Lady Rocks continued to mount defensive pressure on Phoenix, not allowing them to even get off many shot attempts. Excellent ball movement on the offensive end for the Lady Rocks created lots of easy chances to score, allowing the team in blue to race out to an early 20 point lead.
A great full court pass from Gilbride finds an open Beattie cutting towards the basket for 2! Another front court steal from the Lady Rocks finds a wide open Gilbride for 3.
On the following possession the Lady Rocks move the ball inside and out of the key, using the shot clock to their advantage, finding a wide open Van Wees for 3! The Lady Rocks would then steal the ball again on defence, allowing young Maela Faleu to dribble the ball upcourt and score on the halftime buzzer!
HT | Polonia Phoenix 18-46 Lady Rocks
Coming into the 3rd quarter the Lady Rocks looked to slow the game down by running their offensive sets, working more on their drive and dish game. This strong start allowed the Rocks to continue extending their lead as Martin, Gilbride, Beattie, MacNeil and McAuley all got points on the board to start the Q.
Any fears of complacency creeping into the Lady Rocks mentality in the 2nd half were soon squashed as the Rocks maintained a strong defensive presence, rotating well and forcing multiple errors from Phoenix.
The Lady Rocks started to stretch their lead, score now at 20-55, forcing Phoenix into a mid Q3 timeout.
Coming out of the timeout, the Lady Rocks, now with a slightly younger line up mostly consisting of Junior players, maintaining strong presence on both the offensive and defensive boards, picking up lots of second chance points to continue extending the lead.
To finish the quarter Phoenix go on their own 6-0 scoring run.
END Q3 | Polonia Phoenix 26-61 Lady Rocks
Coach Haldane going with a mixture of experience and inexperienced players at the senior level to start the 4th quarter, allowing those who don't normally play to prove to their Coach that they're deserving of more minutes.
A quick steal on defence from youngster Sophie Loughran begins the fast break for the Lady Rocks, finding another youngster, Shannon Beattie, cutting up court for 2 points. The defensive intensity would remain consistent throughout the quarter. A great steal and full court pass from MacNeil would find Erin Gilbride who performed a beautiful euro-step layup for 2. Timeout Phoenix.
Coming out of the timeout the Lady Rocks would continue to mount pressure on defensive and on offensive boards, making everything difficult for the Phoenix. Slowing down the offence and using the shot clock, the Lady Rocks continued to exploit the gaps in Phoenix' defence, creating easy scores in and around the basket.
More great ball movement and a great bounce pass from Gilbride through the key from the endline finds a wide open Van Wees for 3! On the following offensive possession for the Lady Rocks, Van Wees collects the ball, sizes up her man and steps back for another 3!
The Lady Rocks, in the end, proved to be too much of a challenge for Polonia Phoenix as we come away with the win!
FT | Polonia Phoenix 39-81 Lady Rocks