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The Sevenoaks Suns made their long-awaited return with a weekend double header, defeating both the Manchester Met Mystics and Essex Rebels to solidify their place at the top of the standings and extend their unbeaten run to 11 games.

The weekend began with a dominant 80-41 victory over the Manchester Met Mystics led by the 16 points off the bench from Janice Monakana.

Guard Cat Carr also contributed a very well-rounded game, as she flirted with a triple double posting a stat line of 11 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists.

It was an impressive collective effort on both sides of the court with all but one starter recording double digit points, whilst defensively restricting the Mystics to a field goal percentage of 24%, as they struggled to find any rhythm, shooting 15-61.

The Suns defense also forced their opponents into 16 turnovers, in which they scored 23 points from which helped create separation between the two sides.

From the 3-point line, the Suns did well as they shot 40% on 22 attempts compared to the Manchester side’s 26%. However, it was in the paint where the Suns really took advantage as they destroyed them from up close, outscoring their competition by 30 points.

A strong first quarter showing set the tone for the rest of the game as the Suns raced into a 25-8 lead. The Mystics edged the second quarter 12-13 in a period where both teams found buckets hard to come by, shooting a combined 22%.

The visitors shooting woes continued through quarters three and four thanks to the Suns tough defense as they were forced into taking difficult shots from behind the arc and in the midrange which led to their low field goal percentage.

Len Busch’s team closed the game on a 26-11 run which ensured an emphatic victory to go 10-0 on the season.

The second game was a much closer affair as the Suns edged out the Essex Rebels 79-71. The 8-point margin of victory marked the tightest game of the season with Judit Fritz contributing a game high 16 points.

Despite the final score line suggesting an even fight throughout, the home side’s first half display took the game away from the Rebels as the Suns lead 40-22 at the half. However, a spirited effort in the second half from the visitors made the game a lot tighter than the Suns would have liked with their opponents outscoring them by 5 points in each of the final two quarters.

The points were well spread throughout the team again, with all but one starter reaching double figures for the second game in a row. 14 points from Carr and a further 12 from Julia Koppl added to Fritz’ 16.

Following the game, guard Renee Busch and Coach Len Busch gave their thoughts on what was a very successful weekend.

Renee said, ‘It was a really long time since our last game back in early December, so it was really fun to get back on court all together, and get back out there.

‘We’ve got a lot of things to refocus and work on going forward but really it was just fun, fun to get back together. We’ve been going really hard in practice so to play against another team and have each other all on the same side was really fun and I’m looking forward to what we’re going to do in the second half of the season.

‘I think we’ve got a lot of potential as always and we’ll just keep enjoying every opportunity to get out there and play.’

Len added, ‘It was good to get two wins, Manchester was relatively straightforward, and was a very comfortable game. The Essex game presented a few more issues. They had a few more players who can cause us problems and were a bit more focused defensively. It’s a win and getting two wins in a weekend is very, very good.

‘Not a bad result considering we haven’t played a game since December 5th. Essex made it quite competitive at the end. Positives for us are we have some things to work on which will help us get better and there was some good things on the weekend from everyone who played. It’s not a bad result, we’re always happy to get the win, sometimes they’re not as pretty as we’d like.

There was a slight blow as Jamila Thompson picked up a minor injury but Busch hopes that it ‘can be dealt with’.

‘Back to work this week. It was great to see so many people at our game, and we hope we continue to progress, both with our on-court play and our new game day presentations.’

Author: Angelia Ronayne

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