Panic attack shatters top team's victory hopes
SHELLSHOCKED, an Ipswich Cup hangover, a panic attack - call it what you will.
But Ipswich Force head coach Brad George was less than impressed after his team's first loss of the state league season today.
With plenty to get pumped up about facing a powerhouse side like Townsville, the competition-leading Force women suddenly lost their mojo.
Although they fought hard late in the game to limit the damage to 98-82, the game was virtually over at quarter-time when Force trailed 37-9.
"No excuses mate,'' George said after Ipswich's rare poor performance at Llewellyn Stadium.
"We knew exactly what they were going to do and we couldn't handle the pressure.
"They panicked and just threw the ball up.''
While George accepted that was a brutal lesson for his younger players, he demanded more from his senior basketballers.
"I expected a lot more looking after the ball,'' he said, upset at his team's turnovers and constant loss of possession.
"We're not going to beat anyone with that (play) and they (Townsville) shot the lights out because we gave them confidence.''
George acknowledged Townsville were the toughest team Ipswich had faced this season.
"They have a lot of experience,'' he said. "All their young players are Australian juniors and that sort of stuff so they are a good, well-balanced team.
"But we shot ourselves in the foot.''
With more tough games looming, George said his team has "just got to be better'' rather than feeling like having a hangover from the Ipswich Cup.
"We just weren't there,'' he said of this afternoon's game.
Unlike previous matches where Force started well on their seven-game win streak, something went dramatically wrong.
"It was just the pressure they (Townsville) put on, which we knew was going to come,'' the experienced coach said.
Townsville's defence was like a brick wall and their three-point shooting was far superior.
"They play really fast and we played just dumb - too many turnovers in the first half,'' he said.
"Write the first half off.''
Gallant late efforts from Amanda "AJ'' Johnson (32 points) and Georgia Williams with some successful three-point shooting was too late to make a difference.
Townsville maintained a 25 point lead for most of the game.
A positive for Ipswich was the return of Marburg-bred Meg Essex, after her third season with Newberry College in the US.
The Ipswich Force men toiled hard early against competition leaders Townsville heading into the second quarter at 20-20.
However, the visitors turned up the proverbial heat to take charge of the game in the second and third quarters before winning 94-71.
That left the Force men on two wins from eight QBL games this season.
QBL men: Townsville Heat 94 def Ipswich Force 71 (Garrett Hall 23, Kyle Harvey 16).
QBL women: Townsville Flames 98 def Ipswich Force 82 (Amanda Johnson 32, Georgia Williams 14).
Next matches: Sunday (noon and 2pm) - Ipswich Force v USC Rip City at Llewellyn Stadium.