City of Birmingham Rockets Women’s First Team won the YBL Playoff Final after beating Lasers Basketball Club 65-57 at Nechells Wellbeing Centre on Wednesday night, in what proved to be a tightly contested game.
The game started quickly with both sides looking threatening. This resulted in a relatively even first quarter with Rockets carving out a four-point lead by quarter’s end as they went into the first break 22-18 up.
Rockets came out strong in the second quarter, racing away to establish an 11-point advantage.
Number nine, Sarah Mullgrave, caused the Lasers defence problems throughout and was especially potent in this period as Rockets built their biggest lead of the night.
Lasers were hindered by injuries to key players which slowed them down as the game progressed, with Coach Mintoft’s side capitalising to open up a commanding 40-29 halftime lead.
Our visitors came out of the interval looking dangerous, however, putting Rockets on the back foot as they chipped away at our advantage before taking their first lead of the night.
Nevertheless, we reacted well to this setback and levelled the scores at 40-40 with just over seven minutes left to play.
Nerves began to creep in as Rockets fought to hold on to a narrow three-point lead going into the fourth quarter with the score at 47-44.
Despite this, we started the final quarter very well; taking a six-point lead early on and keeping it for the majority of the game’s finale.
Sarah Mullgrave and Sandra Hewakowska were in good scoring form to help us hold on to the lead, with Grace Turton also providing some key baskets as we held off Lasers’ late attempts to salvage the game.
Coach Mintoft’s side managed the game very well in the last few minutes, eventually running out 65-57 winners.
Celebrations began on what proved to be a memorable evening of celebration for all involved.
The win concludes what has been a very successful YBL campaign for Coach Mintoft’s team as they finished top of the league, winning ten of their twelve league fixtures, before going on to win the playoff final.
By Joe Boon