Bognor Amazons went down to the Suns but struck against Crawley Lightning.
Southdown Suns 64 Bognor Amazons 49
Bognor Amazons hit the long road to Eastbourne - and came back empty-handed.
Amazons have a good record against Suns but knew their hosts were a strong outfit.
Within the first minute Amazons’ Stapely started the scoring with an easy lay-up to the basket, but Suns’ Rooney replied straight away with a three-pointer.
Suns crept ahead to take the first quarter 16-12.
Stapely put the first points on the board in the second quarter, again followed by Rooney making another three-point shot. Suns upped their intensity on defence and created turnovers.
In frustration Amazons committed more shooting fouls and allowed Suns to gain some easy points, and it was 35-23 at the half-time break.
Amazons were taken by surprise as Suns started the third quarter strongly, scoring three unanswered baskets in a row.
More mistakes by Amazons allowed Suns to rack up the points, assisted by scoring six out of six free throws on the line.
A perceived incorrect call from the ref incensed Amazons captain Smith, who fired up her team and led by example by finishing the quarter with two strong drives to the basket. However it was a bit late to impact on the score in that quarter and Amazons trailed 54-34.
Amazons’ passion from the end of the previous quarter carried on as they outscored Suns by seven points in the first five minutes.
It was Suns’ turn to make mistakes as Amazons were sent to the free-throw line four times; however they weren’t able to convert all shots into points. Despite a huge effort from Amazons, being aggressive on offence and disciplined on defence, drawing no fouls the entire quarter, Amazons were unable to make up the gap and Suns took a 15-point win.
AMAZONS: Smith 22, Stapely 15, M Phillips 4, Campbell 2, Vitanyi 2, Camburn 2, Gabb 2, Thorne, J Phillips.
Bognor Amazons 53 Crawley Lightning 41
These sides both won on each other’s home ground last season but Amazons did not let history repeat itself.
Lightning began with a fighting spirit, using their size to their advantage, and startling Amazons with their strength.
A quick run of seven points left Amazons on their heels. Amazons became frustrated at an apparent lack of referee calls, and when they finished the quarter 12-8 down, they were bewildered by how the game was developing.
The second quarter started with Lightning using their tallest player to create moves under the basket. In response Amazons decided to push their defence and hassle the guards.
This seemed to work as Amazons slowed down Lightning’s scoring and created turnovers and generated fast breaks. Still, Amazons went into the half-time break 24-20 down.
Amazons altered their zone into a man-to-man defence. There was an immediate change at the start of the second quarter as Amazons pushed their defence further up the court, provoking mistakes by Lightning.
Scoring 14 unanswered baskets in a row, Amazons took the lead for the first time. It was clear they were enjoying themselves again, and by the end of the third quarter, Amazons led 40-31.
Amazons continued with their effective defence throughout the final quarter, which contained Lightning’s offences. However Amazons again found it difficult to break through Lightning’s compact zone.
Amazons attempted to move the ball quickly from one side of the court to the other. As the clock ticked down, Amazons slowed the game down to try to use up time.
Lightning were unable to force them into mistakes and Amazons were relieved to hold on for victory.
AMAZONS: Vitanyi 19, Smith 14, Stapely 6, Gabb 6, Thorne 4, Campbell 2, Lawrie 2, M Phillips, J Phillips.
Amazons’ next home game is at 8.15pm on Tuesday, December 10.