Winning double elevates Ipswich in do-or-die QBL
BASKETBALL: A last-gasp two-pointer by Ipswich sharpshooter Amanda "AJ'' Johnson could prove pivotal in this year's Queensland Basketball League season.
With her team trailing and in danger of dropping down the ladder, AJ's successful shot propelled Force to a nail-biting 83-81 over a powerhouse Logan side on Saturday night.
Another determined victory over form team Sunshine Coast Phoenix this afternoon completed a decisive winning weekend double for the Force women.
However, as delighted head coach Brad George made clear, beating Phoenix 73-57 on their home court was crucial - especially backing up after Saturday night's gritty away win over Logan.
"Two wins and you jump into third or fourth; two losses, you can drop down to 13th,'' George said.
That's how tight this year's state league competition is.
George was happy his team was getting back on track, set up by a great start today built on improved aggression.
"We're backing ourselves on the defensive end,'' he said.
"They (Phoenix) were second on the ladder and they've been playing really well so it was another good hard-fought win.''
Saturday's success was a thriller.
In what George described as his team's best counter-attack finish this season, Force showed they belong up with the top sides.
"It was an up and down affair and a great contest pretty much the whole 40 minutes,'' the Ipswich coach said.
"In terms of the way we stayed poised when they made a run and got the front by five or six and then fought back, it was probably the best we've been all year.''
That came after some poor shot selection under pressure in recent games.
"We were more composed last night,'' George said. "We did well to fight our way back and it came right down to the last second of the game.''
While AJ was dynamic and Amy Lewis controlled the tempo, George was also happy with better contributions from his captain Bree Farley.
"Bree was much better last night, more aggressive,'' he said. "She was looking to score a bit more and in defence having to chase a good sharpshooter around all night.''
Farley backed it up with 15 points in today's match at Maroochydore.
The Ipswich Force men lost this afternoon's game 88-76 to Sunshine Coast Phoenix after going down 102-89 to Logan in the first leg of their latest weekend away games.
Vice-captain Kyle Harvey topscored for Ipswich in both matches.
State of play
QBL men: Sunshine Coast Phoenix 88 def Ipswich Force 76 (Kyle Harvey 25, Jayden Ferguson 18); Logan 102 def Ipswich Force 89 (Kyle Harvey 34, Marty Leah 13).
QBL women: Ipswich Force 73 (Amanda Johnson 16, Amy Lewis 15, Bree Farley 15) def Sunshine Coast Phoenix 57; Ipswich Force 83 (Amanda Johnson 26, Amy Lewis 18) def Logan 81.