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The Sevenoaks Suns ended a busy seven days with a crushing 102-34 victory over Gloucester City Queens following a 102-77 defeat to Nottingham Wildcats and a 62-41 win over Leicester Riders earlier in the week.

A game high of 26 points which included 8 triples from Renee Busch led the way for the Suns as they put in an utterly dominant display against the Gloucester City Queens.

The first quarter set the tone for the rest of the game on both ends of the court as the Suns shot very well, converting 12 of their 19 shots whilst restricting their opponents to just 2 points.

It was a very similar story in the second, with Busch and Cat Carr contributing 17 of their side’s points whilst the Queens continued to struggle terribly from the field, with the league’s best defense clamping down and allowing only 6 points and a total of 8 at the half. Back to back 25 point quarters gave them a 42 point lead after 20 minutes.

In the second half, the Queens showed a bit more quality on the offensive end, tripling their entire points total from the first to end the game on 34. However, they couldn’t contain the red hot offense of Sevenoaks as they broke the 100-point barrier for the first time this season.

It was a huge team effort as six players reached double digit point totals, with Janice Monakana, Jamila Thompson, Frankie Wurtz, Julia Koppl and Cat Carr posting significant numbers to add to Busch’s 26, creating the large 68 point deficit.

Whilst they bounced back with this huge result, the week begun on a disappointing note with just the second loss of the season, against the Nottingham Wildcats. It was against the odds as the Wildcats sit 6th in the Championship table, but they came out on top in a very high scoring game, winning 102-77.

In what was an uncharacteristic defeat for the Suns, they gave up 30 and 32 in the first two quarters, struggling to show the defensive prowess that we have been so accustomed to seeing all season. Whilst they still managed to get some rhythm on offense, they were unable to get any stops, falling behind 62-37 at half time.

Despite a good 24 point third quarter which was headlined by Cat Carr’s 9, they were only able to cut into the lead by five, as the Wildcats showed no signs of slowing down even though they shot 6/15. Trips to the free throw line and 3-point field goals helped them maintain a healthy lead going into the final period.

This trend continued and ultimately the Suns fell to a 25-point defeat. Janice Monakana led the scorers with 23 off the bench. Nottingham shot an efficient 54% from the field in comparison to Sevenoaks’ 38%.

They had the opportunity to put the result behind them as they returned home to face the Leicester Riders, a game in which they ran out 62-41 victors.

It was a must win in order to keep the pressure on 1st place London Lions, and they delivered to take a 21-point victory.

They weathered an aggressive start by the Riders to take a six point first quarter lead. A low scoring second period suited the Suns as their strong defense allowed them to maintain and extend the advantage. Both teams struggled from the field but a 3-point jump shot from Monakana in the final possession of the half gave her team a lead of 11 going into the third.

From then on it was quite straightforward for the home side, with the lead dipping under 10 for just a mere couple of minutes for the rest of the game. Leicester’s offensive difficulties continued, as they failed to pass 10 points in either of the remaining quarters.

Thompson and Wurtz combined for most of the third quarter scoring with 10 whilst Monakana dominated the fourth with 8 of the Suns’ 13 points.

This was enough to cruise to victory against a very good Riders team who currently sit 4th in the table.

Following their last game of the week against the Queens, head coach Len Busch and guard Renee Busch reflected on what was a pivotal run of games in the race for the top place in the Championship.

Coach Busch said, ‘The Nottingham game was a bit of a shock for us, we didn’t really enjoy that one very much. They were extremely hot, they gave us a good beating but upon reflection we realised that we had come out a bit soft and let them do what they wanted to do and when they got hot, started making shots, it was tough for us to recover.

‘We looked at it and we decided that that’s not who we are, we have to play much more disruptive defense, and we focused on the Leicester game on the Friday and we came out and played a much better game, holding them to only 41 points.

‘Then we played Gloucester on Sunday and they’re honestly not a very strong team and we won quite easily but we’re still focused on what we need to do which I was happy about.

‘We’ve got two big games this week, Leicester and London and we’re going to try and continue to move forward as a strong, aggressive defensive team to try and finish the season strong.’

Renee added, ‘We’ve had a pretty busy stretch of games because we’re getting down to the end of the season, obviously the game at Nottingham was not the performance we wanted to put on so we really took that one and took the learning from it, watched the film and we’re gonna be better from that and I think the way we bounced back versus Leicester really showed more of who we want to be and it was a good team win, then the Gloucester game we took care of business. Obviously in all three games it’s been tough to play without Judit also, she brings so much to the team.

‘This is the point of the season where you’ve got to grit out games and keep stepping it up and it’s better to get tough lessons at this point when we can take them on and get better in each game from it.

‘I’m really proud of the way we bounced back versus Leicester and the performance we put on today against Gloucester and we’ll keep getting better from here and prepare for the playoffs.’

Sevenoaks now sit level on points with the London Lions at the top, albeit having played two more games. The two rivals face each other in the final game of the season on the 24th April, in what will be a crucial meeting to determine the final standings ahead of the playoffs. The penultimate fixture is a trip to Leicester to face the Riders again this Friday.

Author: Angelia Ronayne

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