Suns looking for our support
By Judy Smith
THE Coffs Harbour Suns state league teams are at home this weekend to both Grafton and Taree.
Saturday night will see the game of the season, when the Suns take on arch-rivals Grafton Vikings in both men and women.
The Suns women, tipping off at 5.00pm, will be hoping to secure their second place on the ladder, following good wins over Newcastle and Port Macquarie. Grafton are sitting in fourth place with just one win from two games.
Grafton's women are back in the league after many years absence, and while their return is welcomed, their team is not well known. Coach Herb Haddon believes the Grafton girls will be big and strong, and their defensive zone formation will be hard to penetrate. However, he will be looking to the speed of the Suns guards to out-run the Grafton girls. The Coffs Suns will be without Rachel Harrigan this weekend and Brooke Secombe is carrying a back injury, but Bonnie Kuchel is hitting the court for her first State league game, so the Suns are almost at full strength.
The men's game is expected to be a very tough encounter, and tips off at 7.00pm. The newly formed Suns will be up against an experienced Vikings outfit, so it could be a game of 'youth v old heads'.
However, with the return this week of Gus McKay from injury and a fully recovered Tom Coe, the Suns will be looking to make every shot a winner. Coach Glenn Riddell will be rotating his players to keep the defensive intensity of the team high and hopes that the fitness of the young Suns players will help decide the game. Work on the boards will be intense with the Suns' Jacob Whittenden and Mitch Cole hoping to dominate at both ends of the court.
Certainly spectators will be treated to two of the best home games of the season this Saturday night, so get along and support your Suns.
On Sunday morning at 11.00am the Suns men will suit up against Taree at Sportz Central. In their previous encounter the Suns won 141-67, but with more games under their belt and an appreciation of the intensity of the State league, Taree might just be more difficult than the first round game.
n Coffs Junior Suns Go North
IN search of some tough games prior to the start of the Northern Junior League both Under 14 Women #1 and Under 16 Women #1 teams set off on a road trip to play in South East Queensland last weekend.
The Under 14's first game found them playing South West Metro Pirates. This team was coming off winning their grand final the previous week by 17 points and only having a single loss in their entire season. Our girls rose to the challenge and at three quarter time only 4 points separated the teams. The superior teamwork and height of the metro team told in the end as they pushed on to a strong win. Great defensive work from Billie Burke and Bronte Emanuel kept the Coffs girls in the game. Strong work under the basket from Alex Gailbraith and field shooting from Laura Bamford were highlights of the game.
Later that day it was back to the Gold Coast to play the Runaway Bay Under 16W #2 team. Despite their height and strength advantage our girls were able to overcome the Runaway Bay team and win by 6 points. Courtney Martin and Jessie Reeves stepped up to the older team taking great rebounds and providing many opportunities for their team. Siarn Woods steals and distribution helped enthuse our team to victory.
Sunday we were back in Brisbane for a tight tussle with Southern District Spartans. Only two points separated the teams at each break. Despite a heavy foul count against the Coffs Suns Ruby Mayson and Tiarne Saunders remained strong on the boards and converted offensive rebounds .A gallant effort in both defence and offence from Nicole Howarth combined with some great assists gave our forwards the opportunities to convert. Unfortunately it wasn't enough and in the last minute the heavy foul count began to hurt. Combined with a game total of 24 converted free throws saw Spartans win 60-49.
The Under 16's played against Runaway Bay Sea Hawks Under 18W #1 on Saturday afternoon, recording a 73-70 win. Coffs were 12 in front at the end of the first quarter and retained that lead to halftime. Coffs looked fatigued in the second half and only just managed to hang on to the 3 point victory.
Runaway Bay Under 16 Women #1 were our opponents on Sunday morning.
The constant pressure defence of the Runaway Bay girls saw Coffs behind by 23 at halftime. In the second half Coffs came back with renewed vigour to get within 6 points late in the last quarter. The final score favoured the Sea Hawks 68-60.
Sammy Cooper, Jerica Lacey and Brittney Ainsworth were the big scorers for Coffs over the weekend while Phoebe Mayson, Lauren Linton and Alex Barnes made their presence felt in the rebounding department. Khaila Hurst, Michaela Smidt and Emma Howarth worked hard at both ends of the court.
The weekend's games were tough for both Coffs teams with all players showing real character. All three South East Queensland Associations expressed interest in coming to Coffs Harbour later in the year.