Late comeback can’t spark the Fire

January 12, 2019 | Townsville Fire news

A stirring comeback from the JCU Townsville Fire has fallen short against the title favourites.

For the third time in a month, the UC Capitals proved too strong for the Fire as a scintillating 15-0 run to start the game after Darcee Garbin (10 points and eight rebounds) had made the opening bucket threatened a North Queensland annihilation.

With the lead ballooning to 24 midway through the second term, things did not look good for the Fire before a second half onslaught at Townsville Stadium had the home fans believing in another famous come-from-behind victory.

The Fire used a 22-13 third quarter to reduce the margin to 12 at the final change before making a late charge.

With Mikhaela Donnelly (four points and six assists) wheeling and dealing – and Laurin Mincy (15 points, four rebounds and five assists) shouldering the offensive responsibilities in Suzy Batkovic’s absence – the Fire was able to reduce the margin to 64-70 with six minutes to play following back-to-back baskets from the former.

A Kelly Wilson bucket followed by a Leilani Mitchell triple proved a dagger, however, as the Caps arrested the momentum to secure an 80-68 victory to return to top spot on the ladder.

“We dug ourselves into an early hole with the way we started the game but I was pleased with the way we fought back,” Fire coach Claudia Brassard said.

“The way we played in the second half is the way we wanted to play from the outset.

“We had a good spread of contributors – I thought Laurin was great again tonight – but we need to be able to piece it together for four quarters.”

Young gun Zitina Aokuso finished with 13 points and six rebounds, while Opals playmaker Tess Madgen posted 11 points and seven rebounds.

The Fire will depart for Melbourne on Saturday ahead of a rematch with Dandenong on Sunday afternoon from 2pm.

Click here to see full box scores between the Fire and the Caps.