After trailing for three quarters, Central Crossfire rallied late to bump Purnells out of a top four position with a 51-48 comeback victory.
It was the team’s “experience” that gave them the chance to overturn a third-quarter four goal deficit, Crossfire coach Katherine Johnson said, as well as the club’s league-best defence.
“We had a really slow start, our first quarters are normally our worst, but we got used to the game and adjusted to match,” she explained.
“The team changes a lot after the first quarter to answer what the other team is doing, we learn how other players are looking to move and attack and then we switch and make sure that we can shut that down as the game goes on.
“Our strength is the experience to identify patterns and stop them.”
Slow starting Crossfire found themselves four goals down at the first break, a deficit they halved to two heading into half-time, but a slip in the third quarter saw Purnells re-double their lead to potentially take all three points in the crucial match-up.
Central’s top grade team returned fire late on in the final quarter, after dropping into a half-dozen deficit, and a “full-court defence” guided the third placed side back to their eventual three goal victory.
“We have so many good defenders, and our ability to defend all the way from our shooters, back through centre Georgia Marr and to keeper Belinda Alley means that a lot of teams struggle to get past us. We have one of, if not the best, defences in the competition I think,” Johnson said.
The comeback win confirms Johnson’s outfit will be appearing in the Charleston playoffs in two weeks time, a completed objective the team’s coach explained they were all “happy to achieve”.
“At the start of the season we just set out to potentially make finals, that was our key goal, so now that we’ve all but confirmed that it’s a good feeling,” she said.
“From there we’ll just see. I think we have the best defence in the league, and everyone on the court from the offensive end back does their part. That will be a big part of our next few weeks for sure.”
Elsewhere at the Jack Stewart courts, Heat confirmed their minor premiership and a finish at the top of the table with a 54-22 win over United Sass. With just a single round left before playoffs, Heat now sit in a strong position to close out the regular season undefeated.
Also on Saturday, United Fever kept ahead of United Fury with a 60-43 victory, while Watters confirmed the second seed for finals in Charlestown after a six goal win over Job Done, 49-43.
TABLE: Heat (39), Watters (35), Crossfire (31), Job Done (26), Purnells (25), Sass (20), Fever (16), Fury (13).