Phoenix swoop on Mountaineers in season opener
BASKETBALL: A spirited Mountaineers performance has pushed the Sunshine Coast in the opening round of QSL fixtures.
Despite not having trained together as a whole unit for the past fortnight, the Toowoomba women showed fight in a 69-59 defeat to the Phoenix at Clive Berghofer Arena.
Coach Karina Agius said she was pleased with how her team was able to remain in the contest after falling behind early.
“I was super happy. For a team that’s only been together for a limited time and haven’t trained with everyone there over the last two weeks,” Agius said.
“Our defence did a good job. When we changed it up we were able to pull back their lead.
“Our juniors really stepped up too. It was a good team effort.”
The Phoenix took a 12-point lead after the first term, and held a 35-24 advantage at the main break.
The visitors extended it slightly to 57-43 with one quarter to play.
Tyla Stolberg led the Mountaineers with 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Rhiannon Phelan had 13 points in her first senior match.
“Tyla did a great job and was super strong on the board,” Agius said.
“Rhiannon is one of our 16-year-old guards and she was able to handle the physicality of her first senior game. Her defence was great.
“When we ran with the ball we were hard to stop.”
In the men’s fixture, the Sunshine Coast came out firing and were able to maintain a healthy gap throughout the contest, coming away 102-82 victors.
The Phoenix took a 23-14 lead into the first quarter, before gradually extending out as the game progressed.
Paul Aleer made a big impact in his return fixture in a Mountaineers jersey, finishing with a team-high 16 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.
Another returning Mountaineer, Adam Gehrig, chipped in with 13 points, five rebounds and six assists.
In what proved to be a tough day at the office for Toowoomba, both men’s division two sides dropped their respective fixtures.
The Mountaineers 2 side was edged out 99-91 by the Phoenix, while Mountaineers 3 fell to South West Metro 99-61.
Clinton Bagiri led a balanced offensive output from Mountaineers 2, scoring 20 points, with five other teammates reaching double figures.
The Mountaineers will next face USC Rip City and South West Metro this weekend.