19 Jun 2018

Stars secure first win for 2018

6:43 am on 19 June 2018

The Northern Stars have broken a twelve game drought by securing their first win of the 2018 ANZ Premiership season with a 56 to 53 win over the Mainland Tactix.

Stars shooter Maia WIlson, Tactix defender Temalisi Fakahokotau

Stars shooter Maia WIlson, Tactix defender Temalisi Fakahokotau Photo: Photosport Ltd 2018 www.photosport.nz

In their previous two matches, only one goal seperated the Stars and the Tactix result and it looked as though the same would happen in round seven at Auckland's Pulman Arena when the sides saw glimpses of history repeating with seven minutes left on the clock.

It was a game marked with outstanding performances from players on both sides of the court. Stars goal shoot Maia Wilson notched up another 90 percent accuracy record shooting 36 from 40 goals, while wing defence Fa'amu Ioane took three crucial intercepts and named MVP.

The Tactix were buoyed by the shooting of Ellie Bird, who converted a hard-earned 45 from 51, while star defender Temalisi Fakahokotau gathered five intercepts for the visitors.

Driven for that first win, the Stars made their initial breakthrough halfway through the first quarter up seven goals on the Tactix.

Goal defence Ama Agbeze caused headaches early for the Tactix shooters, and the Stars quickly capitalised on turnovers. Grace Kara and Holly Fowler didn't hesitate to feed the Stars shooters, who in return, scored off most of their attempts.

Tactix goal attack Brooke Leaver fought back with some clever passing to Bird, but couldn't shake the the Stars who took the first quarter comprehensively 18 to 11.

The Tactix returned as a tighter more focused unit, with the experienced Kate Beveridge injected into the shooting circle, and Leaver's sharp feeding put to good use at wing attack.

They closed the gap to four, but again the Stars settled into the quarter and took control. Fowler's defensive background paid dividends at centre for the home side, while captain Kara's eye for the intercept was also finely honed.

Paula Griffin made a big impact at goal attack for the Stars, setting up Maia Wilson, while putting up her own fair share of shots of 20 from 26 attempts.

Up 35-26 at halftime, the Stars were well aware that their second half performances this season haven't been as strong as their first half efforts. And so they started by maintaining same passion and pressure.

But the Tactix weren't giving up the fight. Fakahokotau and Jane Watson fired up their team-mates with a streak of smart intercepts, while Kimiora Poi was clever on attack.

Tactix claim the quarter 14 to 11 just six in arrears going into the final spell, 46-40.

Nerves were obvious in the first few minutes, but the Tactix regained composure quicker, closing the gap to three. Wing defence Charlotte Elley made her presence felt in the final stages battling for every ball in the midcourt.

With seven minutes remaining, the Tactix were just one behind. But a tip from goal keep Olivia Coughlan turned the tide back in favour of the Stars, and they held on for their much-prized win.