Three in a row for Vikings
THE Grafton Vikings women's team turned a 22-point halftime deficit into an authoritative eight-point victory over Lismore Storm on Saturday night.
It was the side's third consecutive NSW State Basketball League victory and cemented their place at the top of the North pool.
Grafton trailed the Storm 47-25 at halftime in the match played at Lismore, with Emma Kopcikas the only Vikings player able to find the hoop in the first half.
The Vikings entered the third term with a simple goal - reduce the margin to 10.
They did a little better than that, shaving 13 points from Lismore's lead to trail by just nine points heading into the final term.
Veteran Leigh Predo led the third-quarter fightback, pushing her younger teammates to lift.
Kopcikas, Kelly Murphy and Aimee Durbridge were also instrumental.
The belief inside the Grafton huddle at the final break was well-founded, with the visitors outscoring Lismore 26-9 to secure a 76-68 victory.
The Vikings again turned in a great team effort, playing without two of their best players.
Predo played a brilliant game, controlling the team and scoring 22 points, 19 of which came in the vital second half. She was neat unstoppable in the latter half of the game.
She also pulled down numerous defensive rebounds, denying Lismore second shots.
Durbridge played well, pulling down rebounds and adding 14 points.
Murphy out-rebounded just about everyone on the court, while Kopcikas (27 points) and Alex Wilson both had excellent all-round games.
Tammie Hillary was outstanding for Lismore with 39 points and showed why she is the leading scorer in the league.
In a sign of Lismore's weakness, she was the Storm only player to reach double figures.
The Vikings women, like the men, now have a strong chance of making the play-offs, but have to play Coffs Harbour twice and Tamworth and must win two of these three games to make it.