In a blockbuster ‘Last Bounce’ at the iconic Qantas Credit Union Arena (formerly Sydney Entertainment Centre), which is being demolished after 32 years, there could unfortunately only be one victor. That team was JCU Townsville Fire who pipped Brydens Sydney Uni Flames by a solitary point 79-78 in a thrilling overtime finish.
Brydens Flames had moved their home game in honour of the special occasion on Sunday 13 December. In an epic struggle befitting the end of an era, the Fire’s game management in the closing minute sealed the tense encounter.
“It always hurts to lose in overtime by a point. Credit to Townsville, they found a way to win. For us, we didn’t start with the energy you need to play a game like this against another team at the top of the ladder. When you look back at it that slow start probably cost us at the end. We have a really tough run now, we have a road trip to Victoria next weekend then after Christmas we have nothing but tough games all the way through the rest of the season. I’m confident the girls can get it done,” said Flames Coach Shannon Seebohm.
The Fire won the overtime stanza 7-6, after both teams were locked 72 a piece after regular time when #8 Suzy Batkovic’s jump-shot from the top of the key forced the extra session.
Just as the Entertainment Centre will be rebuilt better than ever, both Townsville and Sydney put on a spectacular show of never-say-die basketball which screams their seasons are far from over and the best may still be ahead.
#8 Suzy Batkovic, the league’s highest scorer and long term Opal, once again delivered with a game high 32 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and four steals. Despite the lead changing back and forth between the sides, the one constant was the unstoppable Batkovic. To underline the dominance of Batkovic, the next highest scorers were #4 Tahlia Tupaea, #10 Katie-Rae Ebzery and #31 Joslyn Tinkle for the Flames all with 14 points, less than fifty-percent of Batkovic’s haul. The next highest scorer for the Fire was #13 Tamara Tatham with 11 points.
The win sees Townsville Fire jump ahead of the Flames who have now lost three out of their last five games.