Rebels beat Sevenoaks and Make History
The Essex Rebels women’s basketball team started off 2023 with history being made! The Rebels beat the Sevenoaks Suns in the first round trophy game, their first win against the Suns since entering the league. The two teams met a month earlier with Sevenoaks taking a narrow 4 point win, but it was all Rebels on the day winning with a score of 79-64.
The game started with both teams looking ready to play, with a Sevenoaks Suns 3-pointer leading off, followed by 5 quick points by the Rebels, and a trade of 3-pointers all within the first 2-minutes. Ashleigh Munns then hit her second 3-pointer of the game and a tough finish by Daniella Turner helped the Rebels take a 5 point lead with 5-minutes remaining, before Tia Freeman added a 3 and Megan Haines completed an and-1 finish to extend the gap to 21-13. After a Sevenoaks timeout to try and stop the Rebels offensive onslaught, the Rebels responded with another two Haines lay-ups and foul shots from Tia Freeman to end the quarter with the Rebels up 27-19. The second quarter began with a quick transition basket for Sune Swart, but the Suns responded with a 3-pointer of their own. Both sides continued the trend of trading baskets, before a scoring run by the Rebels with points coming from Swart, Turner, and Haines gained the Rebels a 13 point lead with just under 3-minutes remaining in the half. Foul shots helped the Suns, as they converted 4 to finish out the half, but the Rebels maintained their 13 point lead heading into the half-time break.
Third quarter action got off to a quick start once again for the Rebels with a high-low finish under the basket for Sune Swart that was quickly followed by a Sevenoaks 3 and a Megan Haines lay-up to answer. However, the pace dipped slightly for both teams, before a 3-pointer from Jade Mbam helped jump start the Rebels offense once again, with Jade adding two additional 3-pointers in a 2-minutes span to help the Rebels go up 19. The Suns, playing desperation defense to finish the quarter, got two steals which helped them close the gap a little, but it was the Rebels who entered the final quarter looking to hold onto a 17-point lead. The final 10 minutes was a tale of two mindsets, with Sevenoaks rushing to regain some momentum and the Rebels desperate to hold on. The Suns came out and scored 5 straight points in the first 3 minutes of the quarter. The pressure kept mounting for both teams, with the Rebels struggling to convert foul shots and the Suns reacting to a call that resulted in a technical foul, with the Rebels maintaining a 15 point lead with 5 minutes remaining. Scoring dried up for a bit of time before a Suns 3-pointer inched them closer, before two made foul shots from Tia Freeman gave the Rebels some breathing room once more. Two foul shots from Claire Paxton and a floater from Daniella Turner brought the Rebels lead to 16 with just under 90 seconds to play. The time eventually ran out on the Suns, with the Rebels kicking out last year’s Trophy finalists from this year’s tournament with a score of 79-64.
Head Coach Tom Sadler had this to say about his team’s first game of the New Year, “The first half may have been the first time this season that everything seemed to click for us. We were great defensively and we had some really strong contributions on the offensive end. We knew going into the locker room at half-time that we couldn’t be satisfied with just 20 minutes, especially against a team like Sevenoaks who has been consistently one of the top teams in the league since the WBBL started. We continued that momentum from the first into the third, but as expected the Suns were never going to just give up and it meant a really back-and-forth final quarter where we were just watching that clock tick down slowly. But we focused on our defense, which led to some good opportunities on the other end of the floor, and we were able to hold on. We’ve been knocking on the door of beating the Suns for so many seasons now, so to get a win in the Trophy and start 2023 off with this win was a great feeling I hope we can continue to take forward.”
Top Performers –
*Sune Swart – 15 points, 10 rebounds, 6 blocks
*Megan Haines – 15 points, 3 assists, 2 steals
*Daniella Turner – 14 points, 6 rebounds
*Jade Mbam – 9 points
*Renee Busch – 12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists
*Janice Monakana – 14 points
*Judit Fritz – 10 points