Crossfire may have dropped into the preliminary final after a defeat at the hands of Heat last weekend, but they’ve earned their right at a second chance with a tight victory over Purnells.
The Central club edged out a 49-45 win to book their move into the big dance, cutting short Purnells’ unlikely run after they scored a second lease at life in the playoffs.
While the ‘lucky losers’ grabbed an early lead against Crossfire in the final elimination round, it was the squad’s late-game control that brought them back into the tie, as well as shooter Yvette Mataora’s scoring precision.
Crossfire’s leading offensive scorer was “key”, club coach Katherine Johnson said after the four goal victory, as well as praising the “whole team effort”.
“Mataora had a brilliant game, she shot so well, grabbed plenty of rebounds and moved really well,” Johnson said. “It was awesome.”
Johnson also praised her entire squad for their qualification into the final, after admitting they had simply “expected to make it into finals” as a primary aim.
“It’s really cool to get into the final, we didn’t really have that expectation at the start of the season,” she said. “We’re just happy to be there, and to face Heat is great because they’re such a lovely team.”
While Heat’s undefeated record may be daunting on paper, Johnson also revealed her squad is taking it one step at a time coming into the decider, and said a “close game, within ten goals” would be as much of a victory as a win.
“Heat are a fantastic outfit, they’ve been great all season, and we know that coming in,” she said. “We’re just happy to be in the final because it’s more than we expected, so we’re just going to see how we go on the day.”
Heat and Crossfire will contest the title at 1pm next Saturday.