Tactix celebrate first win of the season at home
In a high-scoring contest, The Good Oil Tactix returned home to secure their first win of the season in a 63-59 thriller over Splice Construction Magic in Christchurch on Sunday.
With the match ebbing and flowing throughout, it was the defensive class of Jane Watson and Karin Burger that turned the match in the home team’s favour through an absorbing final stanza.
There were some anxious moments when key attacker Te Paea Selby-Rickit, working her way back from injury and suffering from cramp, was forced from the court with six minutes to go, the Tactix holding a slim two-goal lead at that point.
However, the home team held their poise in the face of a gallant and spirited challenge from the Magic, who gained a valuable bonus point for their efforts in a high-quality clash.
It was a night for the shooters where Ellie Bird converted an impressive 54 goals from 55 attempts for the Tactix and fellow tall timber at the other end, Caitlin Bassett secured 45 from 48 as both turned in their best performances of the season.
Goal attack Selby-Rickit got her first start of the 2021 campaign, helping the Tactix get away to a seamless start. With the experienced shooter controlling the home side’s attack line, it was steady stream of possession that found its way into Bird’s hands.
The improved structure on attack was evident for the Tactix, who had an untroubled pathway to goal while Magic had to work a little harder for the same results. With her team-mates finding the direct route to goal, Bird responded with pinpoint shooting.
Five straight goals handed the home side a handy buffer. The response from Magic was immediate with the athletic Georgia Tong replacing Temalisi Fakahokotau at goalkeeper which provided instant success.
Threatening to take off at times, the Tactix were held to a 19-15 lead at the first break, a highlight being the 100 percent success rate delivered from all four shooters.
Impressive 18-year-old shooter Khiarna Williams replaced Chiara Semple at goal attack on the resumption as the Magic started with a bang.
Tightening up on defence, Tong and Erena Mikaere made the Tactix shooters work for their keep while the play-making skills of Williams helped a steady stream of ball land in the hands of 1.96m shooter Bassett.
The Australian import was a standout under the hoop for the visitors, who inched their way back, a four-goal run helping them level up. Both teams pushed for the momentum heading into the main break, the Tactix introducing Sophia Fenwick at goal defence while moving Burger to wing defence to help stem the flow.
The impasse couldn’t be broken as the teams went into halftime all square at 33 goals apiece.
The desperation emerged from both teams in a rollicking third stanza where momentum swung back and forth. The Magic made the first move, stoic team defence where Sam Winders led the charge, helping the visitors forge a four-goal lead.
The Tactix reverted to their starting seven with Charlotte Elley returning to wing defence and Burger back on the other defensive wing. Quiet for much of the match, goalkeeper Watson lifted her performance levels as the home side swung back into life.
The sting was taken out of the Bassett/Williams connection as the Tactix went on a five-goal run to regain the lead and hit the last break with a tenuous 49-48 lead, leaving the match hanging on a knife edge.