Novosel’s five triples sink gutsy Gladstone Power
TOWNSVILLE FLAMES’ Natalie Novosel’s five three-pointers sunk McDonalds Gladstone Port City Power to another home loss at Kev Broome Stadium on Friday night.
The star Flame shot 29 points to extinguish Gladstone’s finals aspirations in a 88-78 win to the visitors which improves its record to 9-3 and third on the ladder while the Power has just four wins from eight games.
Milomilo Nanai, who played her first game in Power colours as an immediate replacement for Hailey Moala after she returned home to New Zealand, says the standard was higher than what she was used to.
“I played in Auckland, New Zealand and the standard here is a lot more fast-paced, aggressive and intense,” Nanai said.
“The style is the same though.”
She showed some nice post moves and scored 10 points in a solid debut game.
Nanai added that turnovers hurt the home team and Townsville made the most of them.
“We had something like 28 turnovers which is a lot and they made the most of it,” Nanai said.
“We also didn’t communicate in defence that well.”
The Flames led by two points at quarter-time and Markel Walker, who achieved a triple double with 13 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists, levelled the scores at 23-23 early in the second quarter before a Novosel triple and a basket to Chevannah Palvaast got Townsville out to to a five point lead.
The home side then went on a 7-0 run to lead by two points when Kerah Nelson (18 points) shot a regulation basket.
Charmian Mellars and Walker produced two terrific defensive blocks as Gladstone held sway at half time with the slimmest of leads. It proved the final time that Gladstone led as Townsville put the heat on with a 24-9 third quarter.
Power coach Ray Cooper said the game was won and lost in the first half of that quarter.
“I told the girls that Townsville were going to come out hard in the third quarter and we just weren’t aggressive enough,” Cooper said.
An assist from Novosel and Hayley Andrews (27 points) was all class and the latter timed her cuts toward the basket to perfection.
A floating basket from Andrews all but sealed the win for the Flames and despite a mini-revival by the hosts to get the margin within striking distance, Novosel again landed a triple to end all hope.
However, there were positives for the Gladstone Power side with Kiah Guinea filling admirably in the absence of captain Maddy Willey.
Guinea shot 14 points while Nanai will be an asset.
“She’s a physical player and needs to get the minutes,” Cooper said of Nanai. “She did a great job and just needs to get match fitness.”
Cooper added despite their finals hopes being all but gone, he said it’s all about developing the younger players and of course aiming to win the remainder of games left.