Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Close but No Cigar for Suns

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Close but No Cigar for Suns

Article excerpt

Byline: BRAD GREENSHIELDS

WITH only five minutes remaining in Sunday's State League final the Coffs Harbour Suns were leading the highly credentialed Central Coast Crusaders by a point and thoughts of winning the State title were suddenly appearing.

Unfortunately the lead was whittled away and the Suns went down 64-53 after showing enormous fighting quality to bounce back from a 10 point deficit on numerous occasions.

"We were behind all the time and the girls kept fighting back all of the time," Suns' coach Herb Haddon said.

"A couple of times they got out to a 10-point lead but we kept fighting back and then finally in the last quarter we got it back to even and then took the lead.

"We just couldn't get a basket after that."

Haddon said that when the Suns hit the lead there were a few signs from the Crusaders' bench that had him thinking that maybe 2009 was finally going to be Coffs Harbour's year.

"They were looking a bit panicked, they weren't handling being under the pump," he said.

"If we could've got another basket in to bring that lead out to four or maybe five with a free throw or something maybe they would've crumbled.

"But it wasn't meant to be, we just buy a basket in the last five minutes."

Haddon said though that the inability to score late in the contest probably stemmed from the fact that there were very few petrol tickets left within the squad after fighting back so many times.

"We used a lot of gas to get that lead but we were basically out on our feet," he said.

It was the Crusaders who jumped out of the gate and took control of the game early. Looking inside to centre Tristan Black at every opportunity it was the Coast who led the Suns 13-2 after only two and a half minutes.

At that stage the situation looked grim and Haddon admitted that the Central Coast big guns were heating up early.

"In the final they were very tough opposition and basically they were a side that played in the ABA last year with Gosford and in the State league this year with the Central Coast so they weren't scratchy," he said.

Never overawed, the Suns clawed the margin back to three at the first break before the Crusaders again extended the lead to double digits in the second stanza.

Coffs Harbour, however, rallied late and behind some fine play from point guard Sammy Cooper and Bonnie Kuchel with 14 points and seven rebounds hit some late shots to again close the gap to just five at the main break.

The fight continued in the second half until the Suns finally took the lead half way through the final term.

The disappointment among the playing group when the final buzzer sounded was obvious as the Coffs Harbour girls came so close to knocking off the competition Goliaths.

Haddon was equally disappointed but made sure he let the girls know how well they had played.

"I basically told them that I was very proud of the effort that they put in," he said. …

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