Nail-biters in the nation’s capital
A thrilling night of basketball for Canberra fans had them experiencing every emotion as the Capitals Academy defeated the Kilsyth Lady Cobras by a point before the Gunners suffered the reverse in a one point loss to the Kilsyth men's team.
Sitting atop the South Conference coming into the round, the Lady Cobras showed no signs of rust after an extended three-week break to lead by 15 in the second quarter. Canberra did not give in though and showcased their grit to turn the deficit into a 2-point lead by three-quarter time.
The margin see-sawed in the final term before Julie Forster’s 1-2 effort from the free-throw line gave the Capitals a two-point lead with 18 seconds remaining. Jordyn O’Shea tied the match on the following possession before a miss from Canberra’s Steph Talbot saw the game enter overtime.
With just over a minute left in the extra period, the Lady Cobras owned a three-point lead but that was cut to one by an Ellie Junod jumper. Following a miss from Kilsyth, a crazy offensive sequence ensued for the home side.
Talbot missed a three before Katie Langhorn failed on another opportunity following an offensive rebound. Sarah McAppion then finally connected while being fouled to hand Canberra the lead in the dying seconds. Her missed free-throw gave the Lady Cobras no time for a buzzer-beater as the Capitals snapped a six-game losing streak to win 75-74.
All five starters reached double-figures with Forster recording a massive 20 points and 23 rebounds. Her nine offensive boards helped Canberra out-score their opposition 13-4 in second chance points while Talbot again impressed at both ends of the court with 15 points, six rebounds, six assists, a steal and a block.
In the following match, the Gunners found themselves down by 13 with under five minutes remaining. From there, they rallied to score an incredible 15 straight points and take a lead with 29 seconds to go. Nnaebuka Anyaorah (17 points, nine rebounds) had seven of those points while his side shot 5-8 in the space of four minutes.
Kilsyth managed to re-gain the lead on a Tim Lang free-throw. However, his miss on the second attempt allowed Canberra a final chance with Dan Joyce missing a three-pointer. Reece Kaye then had a quick attempt on the siren but was unable to connect as their fairytale comeback fell short, 71-72.
The heart-breaker has firmly fastened the Gunners to the East Conference’s bottom position but the evenness of the competition means they are only three wins behind top spot.
After a win earlier in the year against Launceston, two of the Capital’s three victories have come against top-four sides and with the forward combination of Forster and Talbot, they could still make waves before the end of the season.