Three-point thriller: Ipswich Force rising
BASKETBALL: Self belief is a wonderful attribute, especially when a three-point shot is needed to win a game.
That's exactly what the Ipswich Force men showcased in this afternoon's dramatic 90-89 state league victory over the Southern Districts Spartans.
After the Force women maintained their unbeaten start with a 72-63 win over the Spartans, the Ipswich men completed back-to-back victories in stunning fashion.
Trialing by two points with seconds on the clock, the Force players mustered a fast break to set up import Garrett Hall for the crunch shot.
Garrett, nicknamed G, nailed the three-pointer to put his team ahead with just two and a half seconds left.
Brisbane Bullets player Adam Gibson had one last long-range shot to win the game for the Spartans. But Ipswich's defence withstood the final surge to secure a mighty Ipswich victory.
"The boys are seeing that belief in each other,'' delighted coach Chris Riches said.
"There was a period of like 10 minutes during the game where we just lost all of our momentum and we just had to just keep grinding and grinding and grinding away. But the boys stuck with it.''
After a breakthrough upset victory over the Brisbane Capitals a week earlier, the Force men continued their willingness to stay in a character-testing contest.
"It was pretty impressive. That was a tough win,'' Riches said.
After being named QBL men's player of the round last week, American Kyle Harvey led the way again with 34 points and 10 rebounds.
Force captain Jason Ralph also made his best contribution this season with 22 vital points despite being guarded by national leaguer Gibson.
Being undefeated after four state league games, the Force women have laid a powerful foundation this season.
However, head coach Brad George was keen to fix an early issue creeping into his team's play.
"The second half was the turnaround. We were pretty flat in the first half,'' George said after today's game at Carina.
"The girls lacked some energy and tempo. That was the disappointing part.''
An adjustment to Force's defence sparked a more aggressive response.
American Amanda "AJ'' Johnson battled hard after being sick all week to lead the way.
"I didn't know how she'd go but she was right,'' the coach said.
Named the league's player of the week after dominating in Force's previous win over the Capitals, AJ fired up when the team needed her.
Force's second import Gintare Maziontye is also settling in after making her debut against the Capitals.
Force led 20-15 at quarter-time yesterday before the home side secured a three-point advantage by halftime.
As they have in recent games, Force fired up in the third quarter with AJ setting the tempo.
George was also encouraged by the contribution of Georgia Williams.
"She hit some shots and got five assists as well so that's a good positive sign for her,'' George said.
Both Force teams return to Llewellyn Stadium for clashes against Toowoomba on Friday night in Ipswich.
State of play
QBL men: Ipswich Force 90 (Kyle Harvey 34, Jason Ralph 22) def Southern Districts Spartans 89 at Carina.
QBL women: Ipswich Force 72 (Amanda Johnson 22, Gintare Mazionyte 14) def Southern Districts 63 at Carina.