Overtime thriller in Bendigo

November 24, 2018 | Townsville Fire news

The JCU Townsville Fire have escaped Bendigo with an 89-82 win in overtime.

During a see-sawing battle, the Fire trailed at quarter-time – as well as the main change – before levelling the scores at three-quarter-time.

Ally Malott (13 points and five rebounds) then gave them the go-ahead head basket with 16.6 seconds to play before the Fire coughed up a cheap lay-up.

With the game on the line, the Fire inbounded to six-time WNBL MVP Suzy Batkovic, who was colossal all game, and the inspirational skipper was fouled with just 0.7 seconds left on the clock and was awarded two free throws to ice the match.

While Batkovic missed the first, she slotted the second to force overtime as the Fire ran away with the game in extra time courtesy of Malott and Laurin Mincy (13 points and five rebounds).

“It was a tough game and we’re glad to come away with the win,” Fire coach Claudia Brassard said.

“I think we did a better job on the defensive glass – we didn’t give up many extra possessions – and we were good down the stretch.

“We also had multiple contributors which we’ve been talking about for weeks, so hopefully we can carry this into the re-match.”

Batkovic (25 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks) was simply brilliant in the first term as she rattled off the Fire’s first 11 points of the game before Malott hit back-to-back jumpers.

The Fire threatened to blow the game wide open but the Spirit rallied on each occasion as they went in to the first change leading 20-18.

Tess Madgen (15 points, 14 assists and three rebounds) got active in the second term, while Zitina Aokuso (six points and eight rebounds) proved a sparkplug off the bench.

Leading by seven near the main change, the Fire, prone to defensive lapses this season, squandered a golden opportunity to open up a sizeable advantage as Bendigo led 40-38 at half-time.

The Spirit then threatened to seize the advantage as the opened up a nine-point lead before the Fire came steaming home going into three-quarter-time.

During the final term, the two teams traded the advantage before a thrilling final minute.

The Fire and the Spirit will square-off in a tantalising rematch at Townsville Stadium next Thursday in their annual Hoops For Troops game.

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