'Rocky' finals road ahead if women keep fading
BASKETBALL: Last quarter fades are causing serious head-aches as the Ipswich Force women head into next weekend's state league playoffs.
Having built a 20 point lead over competition leaders Southern Districts, Force showed what they can achieve when they keep their minds on the job.
However, Saturday night's latest 86-84 loss at Llewellyn Stadium left head coach Brad George frustrated and concerned.
"It's just mentally, we're not tough enough,'' George said, rueing another missed opportunity to close out a Queensland Basketball League game.
"The wheels fall off and we just stop doing what's worked for the entire game.
"That's five times this year . . . not capable of knowing how to get it done and know what to do under a bit of pressure.''
Force had Districts rattled when they led 73-57 starting the final quarter.
However, the home team was restricted to 11 points in the last 10 minutes letting the Spartans emerge unscathed.
"They (Force) stick to the game plan, work hard, get leads and when the other team starts playing desperate, they go away from the game plan and start playing individual and they just lose the plot,'' George said.
"We just let them (the Spartans) into the game again.''
With a quarter-final showdown against Rockhampton away on Saturday night, George was left searching for answers.
"We are our own worst enemy,'' he said, struggling to recall a QBL season where an Ipswich team he's coached has continually lost its way late.
"The team's performance for three quarters was outstanding.''
Thankfully for Force, this weekend provides a new series and a chance for the seventh-placed Ipswich outfit to restore the ability they clearly have when switched on.
"It's all a different ball game now,'' George said, having guided his team to playoffs many times over nearly a decade.
"If we get in that situation again, they really have to find a way to keep doing what we've been doing (when building healthy advantages).''
A positive for Force is the form of Georgia Ralph, who showed her commitment with 28 points.
The Ipswich Force men completed their 2019 QBL season with 100-92 loss to Southern Districts on Saturday night.
State of play
QBL women: Southern Districts 86 def Ipswich Force 84 (Georgia Ralph 28, Amanda Johnson 23).
QBL men: Southern Districts 100 def Ipswich Force 92 (Kyle Harvey 29, Mitch Poulain 16).