Warrandyte Basketball Director of Coaching & Player Development Manager NICOLE HOWARD has fallen short at the final hurdle, losing the final of the Southern Cross Challenge held on the weekend (January 16-19 2015).

Nicole was promoted to Head Coach of the Vic. Metro Navy team, due to the withdrawal of former Venom womens' player Sally Phillips. The girls went undefeated through their pool games, including a 39-34 victory over Vic. Metro White, the team that would be their grand final opponent.

The girls were slightly disadvantaged on the final day (Monday), needing to play an early morning game and only having a few hours to recover before playing the final against Vic. Metro White, who had a full nights' rest to prepare for the final. The girls got off to a nervous start, with White scoring the opening 5 points before settling down to level the contest at 10 apiece by quarters' end.

Both teams went basket for basket in the second period, keeping the margin close throughout. Vic. Metro Navy were able to edge ahead late to take a 3 point lead into the main break. The third quarter saw the Navy girls manage just 7 points for the quarter as the players began to show the effects of the additional game, meanwhile Vic. Metro White continued to score crucial baskets as they took a 37-29 advantage into the final quarter.

The final quarter saw White stretch their lead beyond double figures, holding the Navy girls scoreless for over five minutes, but to their credit never stopped trying and were able to fight back late in the game to finish just 10 points adrift at the final buzzer.

Coach Howard was very proud of the efforts of the team, which was made up of girls from various club teams and will now turn her focus to preparing the Warrandyte Venom Senior women's team for their assault on the upcoming Big V season.

Warrandyte Basketball congratulates Nicole and the team on their achievement and look forward to continued success moving forward.


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