Article by Vlad Alava, Elevate Athlete Management
THE South West Slammers encountered a tough, tall and tenacious Perry Lakes Hawks on Saturday night going down 97-49 in their last home game for 2019 at the Eaton Recreation Centre.
The Lady Hawks sent an ominous warning to the rest of the league, with a comprehensive win over a young and inexperienced Slammers team.
The game was always going to be tough, and the loss of import centre Brittni Montgomery through injury prior to the start only amplified the task against their taller and mobile opponents of Nat Burton, Megan McKay, Kristan Teasdale and Sarah Donovan.
The home team found scoring tough inside, but youngster Beige Harris did acquit herself well against the visitors’ front wall with an early eight points in the first half.
Perry Lakes didn’t take long to extend past their opponents with a dominant display early in defense and constant power play inside, skipping away to a double digit lead 22-11 at the first break.
The Lady Hawks continued to apply the clamps in the second quarter and extended to a 30-point margin 54-24, aided by their full court press that yielded turnovers and their dominant 30-15 advantage on the boards at the half. Statistically, the Lady Hawks’ dominance spelled out in 36 points in the paint, shooting 53 per cent while limiting the home team to 21 per cent shooting and forcing them into 13 first half turnovers.
The Slammers women found it difficult to get continuity on offence with the uptempo Hawks defence, coupled with the length of their players forcing the home team to early or contested shots. The start of the third gave home fans reason to cheer with a competitive showing by Coach Nathan Grover’s team. Makailah Dyer started to find her range, after being kept quiet by the visiting team to only one made field goal in the first half. Dyer added 11 third quarter points to her tally, but all the while the Hawks matched the Slammers efforts to maintain their lead at thirty, 71-41 at three quarter-time.
With the game safely put away, Coach Deanna Black was able to run her bench early and the group, which included notables Rebecca Benson and McKay, were responsible for 31 points off the bench with a quarter remaining.
The last quarter continued with the same relentless effort in defence from the visitors and while the Slammers put up an admirable effort, the task was just too difficult as the Hawks continued to dominate the rebound count at both ends. Consecutive stops also fed the visitors transition game in the open court.
The half court challenges continued for the Slammers, as the length of their opponents continued to cause them grief inside on offense and defence. McKay particularly effective with several baskets inside, finishing with 21 points and 11 rebounds prior to fouling out.
In the end it was a very comfortable 97-49 victory for the Lady Hawks which keeps Coach Black’s team in calculations for the playoffs. In addition to McKay’s game high contribution, fellow big Burton added 18 points and seven rebounds while import guard Jamie Cherry chipped in 15 points.
Coach Grover’s team had Dyer finish the game with 19 points and youngster Harris on 10 points as well as five rebounds.
The loss in the final home game of the year effectively means the Slammers women are no longer in the running for playoffs. The team will be lamenting a tough end to the season, where they missed several key players through injury, illness and other commitments which exposed a lack of experience and depth compared to their opponents. Still, on a positive, the coaching staff will have an opportunity to develop young talent in future years.