Stars? sharp shooting ensures win
By CRAIG ROSScraigr@gladstoneobserver.com.au
ACCURATE shooting and water-tight defence ensured Valley Stars a Gladstone Netball Association first division grand final spot after defeating Yaralla Falcons 47-25 on Tuesday night.
Shooting proved the major difference between the sides in a fast-paced match which featured high quality passing and positional play from both sides.
However, Falcons struggled in the goal-circle in the first half, hitting only nine of 37 attempts at goal.
Their cause was not helped by the absence of key shooter Megan Jahnes whose difficulty in removing stubborn ear-rings prevented her taking the court until the third quarter.
Falcons were also hindered by the strong defence of Michelle Jones and Andrea Williams who prevented Falcons' shooters from getting as close to the goal as they would have liked.
Stars, with goal shooter Tracey Calis quickly stamping her authority on the game, led 11-4 at the first break and extended their advantage to 20-9 at half time.
The injection of Jahnes into the game in the third period lifted Falcons' shooting percentage but Stars were still able to pile on 16 points with centre Mel Whitmore feeding quality passes to Calis and Natalie Hamilton up front, extending their lead to 36-18.
Falcons started the final quarter strongly but again Stars quickly gathered momentum to put behind them losses to the Falcons in their previous two encounters.
Carly Cooke and Melanie Frost, playing in several positions, were strong for Falcons as was Angela Mills in defence and Helen Sherwood in attack.
In the other semi-final, Yaralla Eagles were bundled out of the competition after losing 36-26 to young club-mates Yaralla Owls.
Eagles led 5-4 at the first break and 13-12 at halftime but could not prevent a strong finish from Owls who will clash with Falcons next Tuesday for a spot in the following week's decider.