The Centre of Excellence women have split their double-header in Round 11 of the 2019 NBL1 season while the men were unable to get on the winners list against the Melbourne Tigers and Ringwood Hawks.
Against the Tigers on Saturday night, the CoE women pushed out to a 14-point lead at half-time but had to hold on against a rampaging Melbourne finish to prevail 66-64.
The Tigers ended the game on a 17-5 run but time was on the CoE’s side and Monique Conti had to attempt a half-court heave on the siren in a last-ditch effort to win the game.
“We are extremely happy with the win,” said women’s head coach, Kristen Veal.
“Our goal is to maximise learning opportunities and experiences throughout NBL1 and to consolidate that with a win over Melbourne is a nice reward for the team. You only need to win a game by one, if requiring a 14-point lead at the half helps us achieve that then we did well.”
Lily Scanlon paced the CoE with 20 points, Sara-Rose Smith tallied a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds while Agnes Emma-Nnopu countered her 1-8 shooting with 12 rebounds (including six offensive) as well as two steals and two blocks.
On Sunday, the CoE visited Ringwood but in a reverse of the night before, they found themselves trailing by 11 at quarter-time.
Scanlon led the charge back though, scoring 16 points overall and getting assistance from Emma-Nnopu (15 points, 11 rebounds) and Adelaide Fuller (12 points) as the CoE moved in front by six late in the third quarter.
However, they could not carry that momentum down the stretch and Ringwood recovered with a 23-8 final term to win 75-64.
“Given the circumstances we faced for Roudn 11, we were very pleased with the weekend,” said Veal.
“We suited up five current CoE athletes and recruited four high performance athletes from around the country who played in their first NBL1 games as 15 year-old’s after meeting and training with the team only the day before.”
“Alana Goodchild (NSW), Chyra Evans (NSW), Zoe Crawford (Tas) and Madison Freer (SA) were a pleasure to coach and showed some great natural ability and enthusiasm.”
In the men’s draw, the CoE were unable to find success in Round 11 with a 35-point loss to Melbourne followed by a seven-point defeat to Ringwood.
Hunter Clarke was consistent across both outings with an average of 16.5 points and 5.5 rebounds and Wil Tattersal added 7.5 points and two assists.
Against the Hawks, Josh Bannan came alive to knock down 26 points with eight assists and four steals while Angus Glover, an ex-CoE scholarship holder, returned from knee surgery to tally 21 points on 8-14 shooting including 5-11 from beyond the arc.
The CoE now have a fortnight off before returning for the final round of the regular season where they will face a triple-header against Eltham Wildcats, Hobart Huskies and Southern Sabres.
“All CoE athletes depart for home next weekend where they will get some much needed family time before a number of them head of to the Under-19 World Cup or to their respective colleges,” said Veal.
“The remainder of the program will meet in Melbourne a day prior to our triple header where we will finish off our 2019 NBL1 season.”