St Maurice's High School was the place to be on Friday 30th November as City of Edinburgh Kool Kats came to town in a must win for the Lady Rocks! A win for the Lady Rocks would keep the Cumbernauld side atop of the Scottish Basketball Championship, a loss would see the Lady Rocks drop to 2nd or 3rd place over the course of the weekend.
City of Edinburgh, the last time the two sides met, defeated Lady Rocks 75-57.
The Lady Rocks won the tip-off and immediately moved the ball well on offence to find a wide open Van Wees at the 3-point line, the shot did not fall. Kool Kats would rebound the ball and break up court but were forced into a very difficult shot attempt. Lady Rocks would themselves break up the court, again moving the ball well with Taylor McKeown getting the first points for the Lady Rocks with a strong drive down the lane for 2!
The Lady Rocks looked very comfortable in quarter 1 as they continued to move the ball well and created lots of easy shots around the basket, the most notable of which a pick and roll play between Strain and McKeown for 2 points. The Rocks matched their offensive efforts on the defensive end of the floor by continuing to rotate well, forcing Kool Kats into multiple contested shots and turnovers.
Kool Kats started to settle into the game late Q1 as their ball movement improved, creating easier shots around the basket. During this short period the Lady Rocks would struggle to get points on the board.
A late Q1 timeout was called by Kool Kats but any hopes of stopping the Rocks' blaze was quickly put to rest as a Faleu tear-drop along the baseline, a baseline jumpshot from Strain and a 3-point score from Gilbride further extended the Lady Rocks lead. St Maurice's was rocking!
With time expiring in the quarter, the Lady Rocks slowed their offence down by moving the ball well and finding a wide open Strain for 3 on the buzzer!
END Q1 | Lady Rocks 19-11 Kool Kats
As was the case in Q1, McKeown would get the opening points for the Lady Rocks in Q2 with a strong drive down the lane for 2. McKeown would continue throughout the quarter to drive into the lane with ease, creating lots of open looks for her teammates.
Kool Kats looked to ignite their offence early in Q2 but a contested layup attempt by Strain and a fastbreak up the court found a wide open Gilbride for 3! Lady Rocks continued to up their defensive efforts as Kool Kats struggled to create open shots or even knock down contested shots.
Mid quarter 2 and it was Van Wees who would look to force the issue down low, bullying her way into the key, collecting her missed attempt and putting the shot back up to draw the foul and go to the line for 2. Kool Kats call time.
Coming out of the timeout Van Wees knocks down 1 from 2 at the free throw line. Whatever was said by the City of Edinburgh coaching staff during the timeout must of resonated with the Kool Kats as they forced the Lady Rocks into several minutes of frantic play. Kool Kats would begin to claw back into the game during this run whilst the Lady Rocks struggled to either score or maintain possession of the ball in the front court. Timeout Lady Rocks.
The Cumbernauld side started to settle down coming out of the timeout as they started to move the ball better than the previous 4 minutes of play; Faleu scoring an off-balanced left hand layup to break our deadlock. Further ball movement on offence would find McAuley at the high post for 2 to further extend our lead.
HT | Lady Rocks 32-17 Kool Kats
Erin Gilbride started Q3 for the Lady Rocks by scoring an off balance right hand layup, our lead now up to 17 points. As was the case for most of the 1st half, the Lady Rocks would continue to move the ball well, picking apart the Kool Kats defence and creating lots of easy scores around the basket. The Kool Kats looked stunned as this certainly wasn't the same performance they faced in the nations capital earlier in the season.
Captain Nadele Strain, who to this point was already having a good game, would explode this quarter to further boost the Lady Rocks lead! Points on the board, defensive & offensive rebounds, steals or assists, Strain was doing it all to help her team succeed!
Following a great steal from Gilbride she passed the ball up court to Strain in the corner who would make a no-look pass to Haldane cutting down the lane from the high post for 2! The onslaught would continue as the Rocks again stole the ball from Kats in the backcourt and broke up the court to find a wide open Van Wees for 3!
Kool Kats started to get into foul trouble late Q3 as the Lady Rocks would go to the line several times, knocking down 1-4 in total.
END Q3 | Lady Rocks 50-31 Kool Kats
The Lady Rocks started the quarter by drawing a shooting foul but failed to convert either free-throw. Kats break up the court following the FT misses and score.
The Lady Rocks would continue to move the ball well on offence, using the shot clock well and with time expiring Strain would score an off-balance 2 to extend our lead! Lady Rocks force a turnover in the backcourt and break up court, move the ball and find Gilbride for 3! Kats immediately break up court and reply from 3.
The Lady Rocks showed why they should be the team to be reckoned with this season as they forced City of Edinburgh (last seasons league winners) into multiple turnovers in the front court and contested shots. Nothing was dropping for Kool Kats.
A late quarter heroic save on the endline by Strain found its way to to Faleu, who would return the pass to Strain in the corner for 3! St Maurice's was once again Rocking!
The foul count would continue to rack up against City of Edinburgh late Q4 as both MacNeil and Dunsire would head to the line. Coach Haldane would begin to rotate his bench towards the end of the game as the Lady Rocks see off City of Edinburgh at home to remain top of the Scottish Basketball Championship!
FT | Lady Rocks 65-49 Kool Kats
"Delighted with the win. Defence was excellent, best it's been all season. We have been working hard over the last few weeks and it paid off. Nadele Strain found her long awaited scoring touch, long may that continue!" - Coach Haldane