FOR the second time this weekend the Warwick Senators have delivered a stunning fourth quarter comeback to remain entrenched in the West Coast Classic top four, this time at home to the Perth Redbacks on Sunday.
The Senators found themselves 15 points down with seven minutes remaining on Friday night against the Cockburn Cougars at Wally Hagan Stadium. That game looked over at that point with Cockburn looking on track to secure the upset win on their home floor.
But nobody told the Senators that and last year’s SBL Grand Finalists delivered a simply remarkable comeback kick started by eight straight points by rising star Jayda Clark.
Nicole Jorre De St Jorre then went on an eight-point scoring spree too before reigning MVP Stacey Barr took over to deliver the Senators the 90-83 victory on the back of finishing the game with a 27-5 scoring run in the space of seven minutes.
To think they could do something twice in the one weekend ahead of hosting the Redbacks at Warwick Stadium on Sunday did seem a stretch though.
The Sunday contest to close Round 5 in the West Coast Classic always shaped as being a fascinating affair and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
The Senators had improved to 3-1 on the back of their win on Friday while the Redbacks remained undefeated at home after beating the South West Slammers on Saturday night by 77 points to improve to 5-2 and be knocking on the door of the top four.
Warwick threatened to open a handy gap in the first quarter with Jayda Clark putting the home team up 15-9 before Shenae Hartree responded for the Redbacks with a three-pointer.
Things remained tight with the Senators a point up by quarter-time before Jess Jakens gave the Redbacks the early lead in the second period. She scored again to put her side up by three before Maddie Allen made it five.
The Redbacks were building momentum with Jakens putting them up seven before a three-point play from Allen made it eight shortly before half-time. By the main break, the Redbacks had done well to lead 42-34 after Hartree converted the and-one.
The lead for the Redbacks was then out to 10 early in the second half with Jakens scoring another bucket and by three quarter-time they did remain in control leading 62-53.
When Maddie Allen hit four quick points for the Redbacks midway through the fourth quarter to have them leading 70-58 with 5:45 to go, they appeared on target for the win.
But the scene was set remarkably similar to Friday night for the Senators only this time on their home floor.
The first sign of the fight back began with a Jayda Clark triple except that was immediately answered by Bri Bailey to keep Perth up 12 with under four minutes left.
This time it was Mackenzie Clinch-Hoycard who firstly scored from inside and then from beyond the arc to make it a seven-point game.
Turnovers were stopping the Redbacks even getting shots off at the other end and when Nicole Jorre De St Jorre connected from deep, the Senators were down just one and there was less than two minutes now to go.
Ultimately the game then went the way of the Senators for good when Stacey Barr hit a triple from way downtown as the shot clock was expiring, and then a foul was called under the basket on Redbacks veteran Denielle Lipscombe.
Clearly the Redbacks didn’t like the crucial call, but it sent Clark to the foul line where she made both and put the Senators up five and they went on to win 81-77.
For Redbacks coach Craig Allen, it was a frustrating finish to the game but not totally unexpected against a Senators team that just has that belief they can win from any position.
“It pretty much was the same in the finish to their game on Friday, unfortunately for us. I think at the end of the day we just went away from what was working for us and played into their game play really, and into a style that suited them,” Allen said.
“We went away from what we do well and that hurt us at the end of the day. They have got a whole lot of really potent scoring outputs.
“Stacey hits the three from deep deep to tie the game up and they obviously do have that belief which comes from experience and knowledge of what their game is like. They executed well at the end there and unfortunately we fell a bit short.”
Stacey Barr finished the afternoon with another 24 points, eight rebounds and four assists for the Senators with rising star Mackenzie Clinch-Hoycard brilliant with 19 points, 11 boards and three assists while hitting 4/7 from deep.
Tayla Hepburn battled hard for 12 points and four rebounds with Jayda Clark huge in the fight back again for 12 points and six boards.
Nicole Jorre De St Jorre continues to be a brilliant leader too with seven points, five assists, four steals and three rebounds.
Meanwhile for the Redbacks, Maddie Allen backed up her triple-double from the night before by delivering another 18 points, 21 rebounds, seven assists and four blocked shots.
Jess Jakens was outstanding too for the Redbacks with 21 points, six rebounds and three assists while Shenae Hartree finished with 16 points and five boards.
Bri Bailey continues to impress as point guard too and had 12 points, five assists and four rebounds with Denielle Lipscombe adding nine points and eight rebounds.
For coach Allen, while the loss was tough to take, he wants his team to learn from what the Senators did to them in the dying stages of the match and now to take that with them going forward to make sure nobody does that to them again.
“There’s a lot for us to take out of it, absolutely. We showed that when we play our game that we are an excellent team, we are a very good team if we play our game,” Allen said.
“But we have to maintain that composure and that belief that what we do is more than adequate to play at this level, and be competitive with the better teams.
“Now we can use this pain moving forward from losing this game and take positives and learning from that, and know where we can develop as a group going forward, and have belief.
“We were excellent defensively for that first 35 minutes and we contained their scoring threats, but unfortunately we lost a little bit of composure at the offensive end and they hurt us up the other end.
“Those sort of learnings are things we need to take on board and it’s all about 100 per cent of focus for 100 per cent of the game time.”
WEST COAST CLASSIC 2020 – WOMEN
South West Slammers 58 lost to Lakeside Lightning 77
Cockburn Cougars 83 lost to Warwick Senators 90
East Perth Eagles 72 lost to Willetton Tigers 78
Perry Lakes Hawks 84 defeated Rockingham Flames 73
Perth Redbacks 111 defeated South West Slammers 34
Rockingham Flames 86 defeated Willetton Tigers 79
Kalamunda Eastern Suns 90 defeated Cockburn Cougars 53
Warwick Senators 81 defeated Perth Redbacks 77