By Lance Jenkinson
Top-of-the-ladder Werribee Devils had to survive a late scare on the scoreboard to overcome Casey Cavaliers in the Big V basketball women’s state championship at Casey Stadium on Saturday night.
The Devils emerged with an 81-72 victory, but played nowhere near their potential on a frustrating night for coach Reece Potter.
“We did get it done, but it was probably a sloppy performance to be honest,” he said.
“Not to take anything away from Casey because they made it a tight contest, but we certainly have to tidy up some things.
“We’ll obviously take the win and we did a good job to steady late … but there were signs that we really need to work on things within our structures and really tighten that up in the back half of the season.”
Werribee struggling against Casey is nothing new.
The last time the two sides met, earlier in the season, it took the same late grit for the Devils to come away with an even tighter two-point victory.
Even though the Cavaliers went into Saturday’s clash on the back of a four-game losing streak, they took it up to a Devils side that was a hot favourite.
“They’re a tough match-up for us,” Potter said. “They’re a really good big team, so it’s a bit awkward for us because we’re not an overly tall or physical team.
“Last time, it came down to the last couple of possessions and this game was really close the last few minutes.”
Alisia Jenkins played another starring role for Werribee. She finished with a double-double 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists – just another night at the office for the star import.
The best development to come out of the game for Werribee was the performance of Alexyz Vaioletama.
Vaioletama had the scoreboard ticking over early when the Devils established their lead, but also came up big in clutch moments late in the game when Casey made a late run.
She finished with 19 points, six rebounds and four assists.
“She’s starting to show signs of what she can do,” Potter said. “She is legitimately one of the best imports in the league.”
Potter was also pleased with the impact of Sam Moodie and Maxine Allan off the
Sarah Elsworthy was not as lethal offensively, but had the enormous task of taking on Casey import Sarah Halejian and did a respectable job.
Werribee Devils will take an 8-1 record into its double-header round against Southern Peninsula Sharks on Saturday night at Eagle Stadium and Bulleen Boomers at East Doncaster Secondary College on Sunday.
In men’s state championship, Werribee Devils enjoyed a 106-99 win over Corio Bay Stingrays at Geelong Basketball Netball Centre.
Imports Konor Kulas (37 points) and David Shepard (31) led the way offensively for the Devils.
Werribee, which has won three of its past five games to improve to 4-9, will visit the Chelsea Gulls (3-10) on Saturday night.
MORE BIG V NEWS