Whittlesea Pacers know they weren’t far off making a grand final on their first attempt and are determined to make it the second time in Big V women’s division 1.
The Pacers, who finished on top of the ladder, fell three points short in a thrilling qualifying final against Geelong Supercats on Saturday night.
The Supercats won 63-60 to go straight to the grand final, while the Pacers will face Camberwell for the right to play them again.
Pacers coach Shannon Bodley said it was a learning experience for many of his side.
“It’s the first time as a group we have played a final and it’s a big learning experience, while Geelong have some seasoned finals competitors,” he said.
“Obviously it’s a disappointing result but it was typical finals atmosphere and intensity.”
The Pacers made the better start to lead by 11 points at quarter-time.
But Bodley said the third quarter was the difference between the two sides.
“They showed us what it was about … they jumped us,” he said.
“The momentum went their way. We tried to get it back and, credit to the girls, they didn’t throw in the towel.”
Kimetria Hayden top-scored with 25 points after flying out of the blocks.
Bodley said his team needed to look for options other than Hayden.
“They double teamed Kimetria and we didn’t capitalise and look for the free players,” he said.
He said defence would be the key to beating Camberwell.
“They have a lot of good shooters,” Bodley said. “It’s about defence for us and I think we outsize them and can shut them down.”
Meanwhile the Pacers men’s youth side is youth men’s division 1 champions after defeating Coburg on Saturday night.
A strong second half from the Pacers set up the 70-57 win.