A match for the ages between rivals
BASKETBALL: A monster triple by Rockhampton Cyclones' Brooke Blair inflicted more heartbreak to the Gladstone Port City Power Central Apartment Breakers in a three-point thriller at Kev Broome Stadium.
With just 10 seconds left and the Power to in-bound the ball, Ashleigh Kelman-Poto's superb pass to an unattended Tanaya Atkinson in the key could have sealed a much-needed win.
But Atkinson (25 points) missed the lay-up and Ashleigh Frampton grabbed the rebound and dished it off to Blair on the outlet and she did the rest for a 98-95 victory.
Gladstone looked gone mid-way into the final term when Aaryn Ellenberg's (36 points) signature fade-away jumper made 76-66 before the home crowd-inspired Power mounted its comeback.
Atkinson made consecutive buckets and when ex-Cyclones' Briana Bailey (19 points) swished a triple to level scores, momentum was with Gladstone.
But Rocky counter-attacked to a 93-89 lead before a brace of foul shots from Milomilo Nanai and a lay-up from Bailey squared scores with 35 seconds left.
This brilliant match delivered all. Ellenberg was fouled and nailed her two shots from the charity strip, edging her team two ahead with 22 seconds left on the clock. Nanai then went on the drive and made a tough basket to have the crowd at fever pitch.
"I'm proud of the girls, but losing is heartbreaking, especially when it's the last shot with three seconds (left)," she said.
It was Port City's 10th loss in a row, but the team was not disgraced against a legitimate contender and Bailey said team spirit remains high and positive.
Cyclones swept the Power 107-67 in their previous meeting in Rocky.
"The way we came out and to be with them the whole time was great," Bailey said.
She played her best game for her new club and said that everyone in the team stood tall.
"It was so good like we came out ready to fight and once we had a bit of a talking to by Ray (Power coach Ray Cooper), we picked up and started to get back into the game."
Cyclones coach Chris Muggeridge was a relieved man after the game.
"How good was that and that was one of the best wins that I've been a part of," he said. "I've been in the QBL now for five years and to get some wins like that, especially on the home court in Gladstone, was fantastic.
Cooper said Rocky got lucky, but Gladstone didn't capitalise.
"It was definitely a fluke shot and we came out and executed the play perfectly, but to miss the shot and miss an opportunity and then for them to go down the other end they throw up a fluke shot," he said. "I guess those things happen."