Illawarra Kittyhawks well placed for Waratah basketball crown

Katherine Ups. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Katherine Ups. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

The Illawarra Kittyhawks are well placed for a run at back-to-back Waratah Basketball League crowns.

Illawarra accounted for Hornsby 65-55 in Saturday's grand final rematch, boosting their record to 4-2 and remaining in fourth spot.

Katherine Ups was the standout with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Georgia Ohrdorf was productive off the bench with 17 points and 14 rebounds.

Lauren Sparks tallied 10 points and four assists against the Spiders.

Off-season recruit Olivia White was integral with five points and 11 rebounds.

The Kittyhawks claimed their maiden Waratah title last year, upsetting the previously undefeated Spiders in overtime in the final.

Senior players Lauren Patterson and Cassie Mangos called it quits on a high note and coach Cheryl Lowe filled the vacancies with White and fellow newcomer Rachel Taylor.

Lowe has also blooded Kate Hewitt, Eleri Morris and Paige Phillips after the trio graduated from the Illawarra under-18 team.

"The younger girls are coming along really well," Lowe said.

The Kittyhawks are still adapting to being targeted every week.

"Everyone's out to beat us all the time, so we always have to be ready for that," Lowe said.

Four of Illawarra's first six games were on the road. This Saturday they are away to sixth-placed Penrith.

"The draw hasn't been too kind to us, but we've got a good run of home games coming up," Lowe said.

"Penrith have two very good players in Rohanee Cox and Alicia Poto, so it'll be a tough game."

The Illawarra Hawks have struggled in the Waratah men's competition, losing all six of their games to be last on the ladder.

Luke Jamieson led the Hawks with 16 points and 10 rebounds in Saturday's 73-70 loss to Hornsby.

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