Breakers rebound with stunning win
BALLINA Lady Breakers rebounded from their first-round hiding away to Newcastle Hunters to record a stunning 70-58 win against the same opponents on Saturday night at Southern Cross K-12 School.
The first round away game left a bitter-sweet taste for the Lady Breakers after a second-half fade-out which was largely the result of a long road trip.
The Hunters took this match 68-47 after the Breakers held them to a one-point difference at the half-time break.
But the Lady Breakers were primed to exact revenge on their home court against the slightly different line-up Newcastle brought up north for this game.
The Lady Breakers scored the first points and led for the remainder of the game.
Having a full bench of players this round brought the Breakers the advantage of youth, height and experience in their substitutions.
Stand-out performances by young gun and shooting point guard Jess Ward, and some tough and athletic positioning by centre Kylie Prince were highlights for the Lady Breakers.
Some serious defensive hustle by Christine McCombe and Jess Eke lifted the Lady Breakers at crucial moments, and this was also complemented by the height and agility of youngster Lauren Sculley at both ends of the court.
Following the women's team's impressive showing, the Breakers' men went down 63-61 against Port Macquarie Dolphins in a heart-stopper.
The Breakers, hammered 74-42 by the same outfit the previous weekend, came within 12 seconds of amazingly reversing that result.
The final three minutes saw the lead change multiple times.
In the final 30 seconds Breakers' Jesse Coates hit a dynamic three-pointer pointer to bring the home team into the lead by one.
The Dolphins then scored from an offensive rebound giving the Breakers only 12 seconds to clinch a win.
But Ballina was unable to convert due to some physical defence by the Port big men.
The Breakers welcomed back some size and scoring potential in Dylan Sharp and Tom Butchies for this match and started strongly to lead the first quarter.
John Schmetzer had a solid performance giving Ballina the composure they needed.
Chris McIllhatten also brought speed and explosive ball handling.
Earlier, the big home crowd supported the Biggest Twilight tea fundraiser for the Cancer Council.
The Breakers men's team's next home fixture is on Saturday against Armidale Lions starting at 6pm while the women have the weekend off.