ONE goal separated the Southern Mallee Giants and Harrow-Balmoral when the final whistle sounded on Saturday.
It was a more than eventful game at Balmoral and the two Horsham District league heavyweights put on a show for spectators.
The Giants were victorious and won 49 to 48.
Giants coach Kelly Gray described the 97-goal thriller as “exciting”.
“The last time we played them, we lost by 22 goals,” she said.
“New defenders have come in since then, along with a couple more new players. I was playing when we played them last.
“We were confident coming into the game but were expecting it to be very close.”
At the end of the first term, it was all tied at 14-all.
“It was close the whole way through. At halftime we were up by four goals,” Gray said.
“I didn’t think our third quarter was very good.”
The Southern Roos gained the advantage coming into the final term and led 35-34.
“In the end it was a shootout,” Gray said.
“In the last quarter it was level pegging. Whoever shot the last goal was going to win.”
Gray praised her goal attack and goal shooter in Annabel Stewart and Codie Robins respectively.
“I would hate to be a shooter. The pressure they are under in those circumstances … they both played well,” she said.
“(Sara McCuish) had a quiet game in goal shooter for (Harrow-Balmoral) but then Sarah Cleaver stepped up.”
Gray was happy with the full team effort.
“We were patient and composed. We didn’t lose our passes and also didn’t give them an opportunity to get them,” she said.
“We had to make sure we found the shooters. We didn’t do long balls through the court it was more short and sharp passes.”
Stewart was named best on court for the Giants and scored 24 goals at 71 per cent shooting accuracy.
Robins was lethal underneath the ring and she scored 25 goals.
Goal defender Courtney Wareham was second best on court for the Giants.
“She is just a tenacious player. She puts pressure on her opposition player whenever they get the ball. Anne Noonan was very strong in the centre. She is experienced in defending as well so she gives us more defence in the centre.”
Ebonie Salter was named best on court for the Southern Roos and she played in goal defence.
Cleaver was on fire against the Giants and scored 32 goals from goal attack.