Giant-killing game by Vikings
THE Grafton Vikings women's State Basketball League team claimed their second big scalp in the space of a week with a 22-point win over Tamworth in Grafton on Saturday night.
A week earlier the underrated Vikings had beaten the highly-fancied Coffs Harbour side in a thriller.
On Saturday they again proved their critics wrong with an outstanding display of skilful basketball, winning 77-55.
The performance represented a 40-point turnaround against Tamworth, who had thumped Grafton only two weeks earlier.
And the win was all the more impressive considering two of the side's starters were unavailable.
Grafton started the game well, as they had against Coffs Harbour, and led 17-10 at quarter-time, a lead they would not relinquish for the remainder of the game.
However, unlike the previous week they continued to build on that lead at each change.
Emma Kopcikas, with eight points, was instrumental in establishing the first quarter lead.
Grafton outscored the visitors 21-16 in the second quarter and 20-15 in the third to set up the victory.
Coach Bruce Leonard was proud of the team's effort to down another top rated opponent.
“It was a real team effort from everyone, no-one let the team down,” he said.
“I have a real luxury with this team as no matter who is put on the court, it is not weakened at all.”
Hayley Cassell continues to impress with every game, and produced another outstanding performance on Saturday with 18 points. Natalie Sear played another blinder, shutting down Tamworth's most dangerous player, Alice Honnery, and then, when the opportunity presented itself, scored vital points.
“The young girls in the team have given her a new lease of life,” Leonard said of Sear's form this season.
Brittany Ainsworth, Gabby Johnson (11 points), Kopcikas (19), Alex Wilson, Kelle Murphy and veteran Leigh Predo all made solid contributions to the win.
Next weekend represents another vital game for the Vikings women and men when they travel to Lismore.