After a missed game-winning buzzer-beater decided last round’s match with Myrtleford, there were no such nerves as the Seymour Blasters’ round 11 battle with Shepparton Gators went down to the wire in overtime.
With scores levelled at 55-all after regulation time, the clock was reset for a further three minutes, in which Seymour ran out the match three-point winners.
At the helm of such a young team, Seymour coach Bill Pearce said the side spoke about "staying the course" for those extra minutes.
“We are a young, fit, running side, and we were going to push the ball down the floor,” he said.
“We knew we had three minutes, and we knew we could run those minutes out with the legs we had.
“I knew we could continue and I didn’t know whether Shepparton could. I thought they could run out of steam a little.”
However, Pearce said if it had gotten close, the Blasters would have taken a time out and called the same set play used against Myrtleford in their loss before the Christmas break.
“We talked about how it probably would have worked this time,” he said with a laugh.
But the Hail Mary wasn’t required to seal victory this time around, with a composed Dyani Ananiev knocking down four free throws to secure the match-winning buffer.
“For her to step up and knock the four points down, with the pressure on us, it was a really good leveler for us,” Pearce said.
He said the victory was “just desserts” for how hard the Blasters were working to get on the right end of close matches.
With Seymour’s leading scorer Tayha Watkins out of the side as she prepared for the Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup this week, it was left to her teammates to fill the void left in the scoring department, although very little changed in the way of their structures.
“We ran with the same offence, but we talked about the ball going through hands more,” Pearce said.
“We were scoring quite quickly with Tayha, because Tayha is a very dominant player.
“But this was an opportunity to get the ball through more hands and use the ball a little bit better and create some opportunities.
“We missed Tayha dreadfully, but she creates her own opportunities and can score through three or four sets of people.
“We have great 10s, 15s, five and six-point shooters, so when you put those together, it makes a great score.”
Among those to shine were Ananiev, who showed a maturity on court beyond her 15 years, while Maddison Ford continued to be a force to be reckoned with.
Lucy Zotti and Hayleigh Frost were two others who added pace on the floor and took their chances when going up to the basket.
With two home-and-away rounds remaining this season, Saturday’s win sees the Blasters continue in outright third, with a win now separating them from fourth.
The buffer will be a welcome respite with tough games against Myrtleford and the undefeated Wodonga set to close out Seymour’s fixture.
“I haven’t done the exact numbers, but this was a pretty good result for us,” Pearce said.
“But we just need to go out and play. We’re happy to leave it at that.”
Full time: Seymour Lady Blasters 62 def Shepparton Lady Gators 59
Top scorers: Dyani Ananiev 20, Maddison Ford 14