Firebirds produce their own magic
SOUTHERN Downs defenders Laura Geitz and Clare McMeniman played strongly as the Queensland Firebirds kept their ANZ Championships hopes alive with a 55-54 victory against the Magic in New Zealand on Monday night.
For the Firebirds, it was the combined efforts of shooters Romelda Aiken and Natalie Medhurst, both shooting above 90 per cent, and the side’s defence against the second-seeded Magic, which held the home side back.
The win puts the Firebirds into fifth place and give them a strong chance to snare a semi-final spot.
The Firebirds started well as the Magic found it difficult to get the ball to shooters Irene van Dyk and Jodi Brown.
A Casey Williams intercept put the Magic in front midway through the quarter but intense pressure by the Firebirds defence, in particular Geitz and McMeniman, put the Firebirds up 19-14 at the end of the first quarter. In a rare change, van Dyk was shifted to goal attack and Brown to goal shooter in the second quarter.
In the second quarter, van Dyk, the world’s best shooter, was often sandwiched between the Firebirds defenders. At half time, the Firebirds led 30-27 and then 43-38 at the end of the third quarter.
During the third quarter, Geitz was in full flight at goal keeper as the Firebirds forced the Magic into basic mistakes.
The momentum changed again in the final quarter before the Firebirds held on for a crucial win.