The South Coast Blaze put in an electric final quarter performance to overcome Central Coast and notch up their third win of 2023 on Wednesday night.
Trailing 40-36 at the final break, South Coast charged forward early in the fourth term to take the lead, which they were able to hold onto for the rest of the game.
The Heart came back late, getting within one goal with about 10 seconds left, but the Blaze held on in dramatic fashion to claim a 52-51 victory. Central Coast appeared to have drawn level on the final whistle, however, the umpire declared no goal as the match's time had elapsed.
Earlier in the night, the Heart had jumped out to a 14-9 lead at quarter-time, which was reduced to 27-23 at the main break. Central Coast then maintained that lead through the third term, before the Blaze surged home in the last.
It was a crucial win for the Blaze, who have now secured three wins from the first six rounds of the NSW Premier League opens competition. They now sit in fifth spot on the ladder.
"We had a very simple plan around having some patience when we had the ball, in terms of control and decision-making," South Coast opens coach Marji Parr said post-match.
"We wanted to make sure that we were finding each other on the inside and keeping to the game plan as much as possible, which is something from last week that we were very well aware of (Blaze lost 77-43 to North Shore).
"Defensively, the balls that were coming down through the court were executed well in terms of ball-handling, and then getting it through to the posts.
"It was a huge effort from the team, I'm very happy."
Conversely, the Blaze's under 23s team have been left searching for answers after they fell 50-43 to Central Coast on Wednesday night.
South Coast started well, jumping out to a 13-10 lead at the first break, which they extended to 26-21 at halftime.
However, the Heart fought back in the third term, outscoring their opponents by 18-7 to lead by 39-33 at the final break. They then held the Blaze at bay in the last quarter.
It was the Blaze's third loss of their 2023 campaign, with the side sitting in seventh place on the under 23s ladder.
"We need to work on our consistency. I think that we're definitely getting a build, and it's coming, but we've just got to now do it across four quarters of netball," coach Heather Smith said.
"As a whole, we probably played tonight in two parts, and that's where we've got to be more consistent."
The South Coast under 23s will look to turn their fortunes around when they take on the Panthers next Wednesday, while the club's opens side will aim to make it two wins on the trot when they also face the Panthers on the same night.
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