TACTIX DEFEAT MG MYSTICS TO CONTINUE WINNING RUN
Desperate for a win, the Trident Homes Tactix did just that when delivering their best game of the season to outclass the top-of-the table MG Mystics 54-49 in Auckland on Saturday.
With the odds stacked against them, the Tactix kept their slim homes of making the Finals Series alive following an encouraging outing in the rescheduled Round 4 match. In the process they pocketed their first win of the season against the Mystics after previously succumbing to 19 and 11-goal losses.
Once they got their noses in front late in the second quarter, the Tactix held strong to repel several surges from the home side to ensure they secured the points. On the back of greater shooting accuracy and the increasingly-effective defensive efforts of Karin Burger and Kelera Nawai-Caucau, the Tactix did a fine job in holding the home side at bay.
Without influential shooter Grace Nweke, out for a second straight game due to an ankle injury, the Mystics opted for Monica Falkner and Filda Vui under the hoop while the tall figure of goalkeeper Kate Lloyd got her second start of the season for the Tactix.
The Tactix made the most of their early opportunities before the home side found their feet to negate the fast start from the visitors, the first stanza developing into a tight arm wrestle.
The Mystics midcourt of Peta Toeava, Tayla Earle and Michaela Sokolich-Beatson were particularly effective both an attack and defensively while in-circle defenders Phoenix Karaka and Sulu Fitzpatrick were always menacing.
Experienced shooter Te Paea Selby-Rickit was an influential figure in the Tactix attack line in tandem with the ever-present Kimiora Poi but it was the Mystics, who got the jump to nudge ahead. Not to be outdone, the Tactix surged back to leave the teams locked at 13-all at the first break.
It was a similar pattern on the resumption with the visitors showing their fighting qualities to keep the Mystics honest. Well in the groove, the Mystics made the best of starts, their free-flowing attacking movement getting plenty of ball into the hands of the well-performed Falkner and Vui.
At the other end, the Tactix were forced to work harder to penetrate on attack, Selby-Rickit getting through a big workload inside and outside the circle. Showing their resilience, the southerners hung on, keeping the Mystics in check and hanging on to their coat-tails before the tables turned.
The imposing figure of Nawai-Caucau replaced Lloyd midway through to correspond with a spirited resurgence from the Tactix. With Selby-Rickit and Ellie Bird providing the accuracy under the hoop and staunch team defence creating turnover opportunities, the Tactix sprung out to a 27-25 lead at the main break.
After a strong opening, the Tactix made a dramatic move to enhance their fortunes during the third stanza. Pushing out to a five-goal lead before the Mystics replied with a run of their own, the Tactix held their poise, steady and composed play helping the southerners retain the upper hand.
Selby-Rickit and the increasingly-influential Bird continued their accuracy under the hoop but it was a different story at the other end with the Mystics scorers struggling with their radars. The Tactix in-circle defenders of Burger and Nawai-Caucau also came into their own in denying their opponents scoring opportunities.
With the Tactix stretching out to as much as a seven-goal lead, the Mystics had plenty to think about when trailing 42-37 at the final turn.