By Lance Jenkinson
One win is all the Werribee Devils need to secure the Big V Basketball women’s state championship crown at their first attempt.
The Devils know closing out the series on the road will be the hardest ‘W’ to get after taking care of business on their home court to hold a 1-0 lead over Keilor Thunder in the best-of-three grand final series.
A runaway 77-64 game one victory at Eagle Stadium in Werribee last Saturday night will give the Devils plenty of confidence for the remainder of the series.
Devils caretaker coach Corey Michailidis and his team is fully aware of the threat a backs-to-the-wall Thunder will pose, especially with games two and, if required, three, scheduled for Keilor Basketball Stadium.
“Everyone knows the job is only half done,” Michailidis said.
“I was really pleased to see the awareness of that in the locker room.
“Everyone was happy to get the first game under the belt, but we emphasised from the outset, don’t underestimate any player on their roster.
“They’ve got a deep roster, they’re well coached and at home, they’re going to bring a big crowd, so you never know what’s going to happen.”
Could you blame the Werribee supporters if they were getting a little bit excited after the game one performance of their team?
The Devils were not only firing on all cylinders on offence, but they locked down well on defence.
It was a strong all-round game worthy of a series lead.
“We were very happy, not just to put up 77, but more importantly keep Keilor to 64,” Michailidis said.
“They’re a great offensive team, so to keep them to 64, we were very proud of that.”
Import Alisia Jenkins has been a huge addition for Werribee this season.
Playing under duress after being struck down with flu during the week, Jenkins produced one of her gutsiest performances in a Devils uniform.
Not only did Jenkins provide a much-needed 22 points and 14 rebounds, but she limited the impact of Keilor import Erin Bollmann, the favourite for the league MVP.
“The Bollmann-Jenkins match up was the one that everyone was looking forward to,” Michailidis said.
“Credit to Jenkins, she’s been battling the flu all week, so she didn’t train at all and has been resting, but we started her on Bollmann and I thought she did an excellent job.
“I know she [Bollmann] still dropped 25 points, but I thought we made it quite difficult for her, so I was quite proud of Jenkins for that.”
Maxine Allan, marking dangerous Keilor shooter Aneta Bandilovski, and Sarah Elsworthy, facing the explosive Thunder guard Ellen Kett, excelled in their defensive assignments.
Georgia Tauschke provided some great off-ball defence to make an impact for the Devils.
Offensively, Werribee shared the load and genuinely enjoyed each other’s success.
Game two will tip off at Keilor Basketball Stadium on Saturday at 7.30pm, with a possible game three tipping off at 2pm on Sunday.