The Sabres VYC Women have put together another outstanding season under Head Coach Jo Wood. Seeking to go back to back after last year’s Grand Final win, the team finished the regular season on top of the Terrill Conference with a 19-3 record.
Last weekend they dispatched Bendigo in the Elimination Final with a reasonably comfortable 81-65 win. “Bendigo just refused to give in and even though we edged away a number of times they just kept coming and capitalised on our missed box outs and poor defensive rotation”, Wood said.
The Sabres have been successful on the back of solid team basketball with a strong defensive mindset led by their more experienced players. Coach Wood was full of praise for Meg Ragauskas and Chloe Hicks who have set the tone for her group. “Meg has been outstanding. She plays on the oppositions best scorer every game and has hardly been beaten. She just sets the tone defensively for the team and gives absolutely everything. Chloe Hicks has played every game and has doubled her scoring from last year which has been really important for us. She has also recorded more steals than any other player in the league. Sophie Van Vliet has stepped up enormously in the absence of Cass and Ella and finished top 10 in average rebounds as well as playing some great defence.”
After numerous personnel changes over the off-season which saw some of the girls from the championship winning team graduate to senior basketball, the team has been able to regenerate with a number of Under 18 junior Sabres being integrated into the squad. “Mia Cigognini has stepped up especially when we haven’t had Cass and Ella, and Madi McFarlane has had some great games too but I think probably Daisy Walker has been the most impressive. She can shoot the ball, is a solid on ball defender and a very strong rebounding guard. I’m really lucky to have such great leaders in Issy Shea, Cassie Hill, Ella Batish and Meg Ragauskas who are just so desperate to win again.”
This coming Sunday the Sabres host the Melbourne Tigers in a cut-throat Preliminary Final with the winner advancing to the best of three Grand Final series. The Sabres defeated the Tigers in last year’s finals series and will be looking for a repeat dose this weekend. “We have only played them once (this season) and it was a very tough game which we just got over the line. They have won about 9 on the trot though so are in very good form.”
Match Details this weekend:
What: VYC Women – Preliminary Final (winner advances to Grand Final series)
Who: Sandringham Sabres v Melbourne Tigers
When: Tip-Off 2.00pm
Where: Sandringham Basketball Stadium
Adults $6, Children $3. Free Entry for children wearing Sabres singlet or SBA domestic club singlet