Match Report: Boomers fall short against cross town rivals Southside Flyers
In what is set to be a new cross-town rivalry, the Deakin Melbourne Boomers took on the Southside Flyers in both teams final pre-season match before the WNBL 2019/20 season proper.
Ezi Magbegor came out firing for the Boomers, hitting the opening bucket of the game followed by two free throws from the line.
Quick to fight back, Flyers point guard Rebecca Cole was left wide open on the three point line, and scored an all too easy 3-pointer.
Dominance on the court however remained with Magbegor hitting another bucket, and therefore scoring the first seven points for the Boomers.
This was followed by a nice two free throws from Lindsay Allen in her first match this season, and then again by Magbegor scoring another bucket to bring the Boomers a comfortable 11-6 lead.
Flyers Mercedes Russel hit a two-point jump shot, narrowing the score gap before Sophie Cunningham walked on court, making her Boomers debut. The US import was influential within seconds, scoring a quick layup giving the Boomers a solid eight-point lead over the Flyers, 18-10.
Fresh off the Opals tour, Cayla George hit an open three, followed by a strong drive and score by Monique Conti. The Boomers showed nothing but strength in the opening quarter, which was wrapped up with a fierce drive and basket by Penina Davidson and two free throws by Cunningham. The Boomers had a convincing lead 30-11 at the buzzer.
Opening the second quarter Flyers had all the scoring action with Cole making a quick layup, followed by an easy few inside scores from Russel. They quickly closed the gap by 10 points, 30-21 with 7 minutes until half time.
Boomers seemed to have lost their groove as Flyers continued to rule the play. However Magbegor refused to let the Flyers in, eventually scoring the first two points for the Boomers in the quarter.
With 3:44 left till half time, Flyers Aimie Clydesdale scored a massive three, putting them into the lead 34-32 and leaving the Boomers stunned.
Magbegor however, fought back hard with an easy basket followed by Conti with a three, but it wasn’t enough as Flyers maintained their lead until the half time buzzer, 39-37.
Coming in fresh to the third quarter, Allen opened with a layup followed by a quick basket by George, reclaiming the lead for Boomers 41-39.
But it didn’t last long as Cole and Clydesdale continued to score buckets for the Flyers, and the Victorian rivals led again, 44-41.
Then finally, the Boomers seemed to be revived as Garrick sunk two quick baskets, followed by a layup from George, claiming a two-point lead with 3:08 left in the quarter. Despite their efforts though, the Flyers maintained their lead heading into the fourth 54-50.
Opening the final quarter tensions were high from both teams, but a layup from Chelsea D’Angelo with lack of defence from Flyers, gave the Boomers the small confidence kick they needed.
Kalani Purcell also showcased her epic defence skills with a massive block under the Flyers goal, which was followed down the court with a basket by George.
Down by two points with 4:36 left on the clock, the Boomers had no time to spare, but a layup by Flyers Louella Tomlinson and then another by Clydesdale saw the Boomers pushing hard to keep up.
Garrick and George fought hard, with a great jump shot and defensive block. This sparked the rest of the team, as Toni Farnworth scored a remarkable three pointer and then Magbegor again came in clutch with a huge defensive block.
Trailing by five points with 1:14 left on the clock, Boomers took possession and an assist by Conti to Magbegor gave the Boomers a layup to close the gap to 3 points.
However Flyers again fought back and Sara Blicavs scored a quick basket, meaning again the Boomers trailed by five 68-63.
A huge Garrick three pointer however was enough to keep the Boomers in the game, and with 29.2 seconds remaining, coach Guy Molloy called a time out, to set up a play to bridge the gap.
An unsportsmanlike foul called on George sent Flyers Blicavs to the line where she hit both free throws, which cemented the win for Southside.
Deakin Melbourne Boomers – 66 (Magbegor 15, Garrick 13, George 11)
Southside Flyers – 70 (Clydesdale 19, Cole 19, Blicavs 11)
Next week Boomers kick off Round One of the WNBL Season against Bendigo Spirit in Bendigo.