PEEL High School woke up in the third quarter to blitz Orange High School in their State CHS Under 15 Girls’ Basketball Knockout clash in the Tamworth Sports Dome yesterday and earn a berth in next month’s eight team CHS Finals series on the Central Coast.
A 67-39 win guaranteed Peel High a slot in the November 8/9 finals at Terrigal next month, confirmed ecstatic Peel coach Louise Taylor.
“It’s amazing, they blew me away,” Taylor said.
“I never thought they would play so well.”
She knew they had the talent and have played a lot of basketball together in school and for Tamworth Thunderbolt representative teams, but at one stage yesterday she thought the young side “might have gone to sleep”.
Orange High had fought back from a five point half time deficit to trail 36-33 but then the home side “awoke”.
“They started to play their natural running game,” Taylor said.
First Kate Brown sparked the side with a three -point play when fouled on a successful lay up to make it 39-33 and then in a twinkling Peel went from defence through a Sara Westman steal to an outlet pass for Kiata Knox to skate away and lay in another basket for a 41-33 lead.
Peel reproduced a similar steal and play a minute later for Westman and Knox to combine again for another two point and a 10-point lead
The final quarter became a celebration as the Peel girls built on their three quarter time lead with brilliant interchanges.
One play, a rebound by Kiata Knox, to an outlet in diminutive Tshinta Knox and then a quick pass to Jalamari Knox to lay in an untouched basket in the space of a few seconds was a breathtaking piece of basketball at its simplest and best.
Tshinta Knox (14pts) also laid in some brilliant left arm hook shots against much taller defenders.
Jalamari Knox (7pts) had some soft and deft touches, Kate Brown (15pts) was brilliant inside and out of the paint.
Tall centre Sara Westman was also a standout in more than just physique. She top scored with 15pts and kept the smaller Peel side in the game at times with her shot-blocking and
Orange High coach, Terry Baker, thought his side was a chance when they trailed by just three in that third quarter.
“But they blew us away,’ Baker told The Leader.
“We copped a few unfortunate fouls but that’s the game. It was a good trip for us, a bit of a drive but a great experience for our girls. We have just two regular basketballers in this side, the rest are netballers, which is a bit of a contrast to Peel but I was impressed with how they went against a more experienced side.”
PEEL HIGH (Sara Westman 15, Kate Brown 15, Tshinta Knox 14, Jalamari Knox 7, Rheannon Berry 6, Kiata Knox 5, Chantelle Lee 3, Janarri Flett 2) d ORANGE HIGH 39 (Abby Tilburg 16, Kalelin Eslick 10, Ashlee Biastiaansen 5, Alex Kennedy 4, Nikita Campbell 2, Isabell McLeod 2).