By Lance Jenkinson
Werribee Devils are keeping pace with the leading pack in Big V basketball women’s state championship.
The Devils had to hold off the fast-finishing Casey Cavaliers for a thrilling 86-84 win at Eagle Stadium on Saturday night.
Having led all night, the Devils found themselves trailing with four minutes left.
But a pair of field goals from Sarah Elsworthy and a triple from Maxine Allan ensured they wrestled back the lead for their third straight win that keeps them in third place on the ladder.
Devils coach Reece Potter lauded his side’s character.
“We knew it was going to be a really tough test,” he said.
“We jumped out and at one stage were leading by 15 in the second quarter. But we just weren’t able to really build on that and we let them back into the game with a couple of really poor possessions.
“They sort of ground us back in the third quarter and early in the fourth and were able to take the lead.
“But luckily our group rallied and were able to come away with the win at the end with a couple of big plays.”
There were even contributions across the board from the Devils’ starting five.
But Elsworthy was the pulse of the unit with 22 points, seven rebounds and six assists from the point guard position. She came up big for the Devils at key moments.
“She played a massive role,” Potter said.
Maxine Allan was both a scoring spark and a defensive menace. She finished with 16 points, including a team-high four three-pointers.
Her efforts on the defensive end, including seven steals, were noteworthy.
“I thought Maxine Allen was outstanding,” Potter said. “She did a great job defensively and offensively she was real good.
“She played a great game and it’s certainly something we want her to build on and see on a regular basis.”
Imports Alisia Jenkins and Alexyz Vaioletama were busy. Jenkins had 14 points and nine rebounds, while Vaioletama finished with a double-double 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Georgia Tauschke contributed 11 points and six rebounds, including three threes.
Potter is pleased with the variety of players stepping up for Werribee early in the season.
“We had five players in double figures and some good contributions off the bench,” he said. “That’s a testament of our group at the moment – that each player can step up.”
Werribee Devils (4-1) will hit the road on Sunday to face McKinnon Cougars (2-3) in what Potter is calling a “danger game” that will require his side to prepare well and go with the right mindset.
In men’s state championship, Werribee Devils had a tough double header weekend, losing both games narrowly.
The Devils had a heartbreaking 112-110 loss to Casey Cavaliers on Saturday night at Eagle Stadium, followed by a 93-86 loss to Keilor Thunder at Keilor Basketball Stadium on Sunday.
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