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The Sevenoaks Suns fell to their fifth defeat of the season following a close 64-57 loss to the B.Braun Sheffield Hatters.

It was the second meeting between the two sides with the Hatters coming out on top both times, despite the Suns’U best efforts.

Janice Monakana and Julia Koppl led the scoring for the Suns with 15 and 14 points respectively, however it was not enough to overcome the potent display from their hosts.

Each team got off to decent starts, with the lead being exchanged throughout in what was a very even battle. Defences were on top, as the Suns shot 35% from the field whilst the Hatters shot just shy of 30%. The hosts managed to gain some separation with a five-point lead, but an 8-0 run from Sevenoaks helped them claw back and take the lead themselves.

With the score line standing at 12-13 in favour of the Suns after the first, the Hatters really locked in on both ends of the floor and started to dominate the game. A minute and a half into the period, Kin Omer-Jones hit a three to tie the game, which sparked a 12-0 run to take a nine-point lead. This resulted in over four scoreless minutes for the visitors.

A trip to the free throw line for Koppl stopped the bleeding but they still couldn’t stop the Hatters’ offense as all the momentum lay with them. Monakana drained a pair of free throws at the close of the half to cut the deficit to 13.

Similar offensive opportunities arose for Sheffield in the third, and they managed to keep the Suns at bay until the closing minutes of the quarter. As a result, it proved very difficult to cut into the deficit. The lead ballooned to as many as 23 points, but a 6-0 run with buckets from Judit Fritz and Koppl gave their team some life heading into the final period.

And what looked like a valiant effort to just get back into the game, it soon turned into a genuine possibility of a comeback from the away team. A sudden burst out of the blocks saw eight straight points to cut the lead down to 11, with plenty of time to go. A couple of huge scores from Georgia Gayle helped the Hatters regain a 13-point lead and then a 10-point lead following buckets from Monakana and Renee Busch.

Up 10 with three minutes to go, it seemed the Hatters had weathered the storm as the Suns gave themselves too high of a mountain to climb. This meant the Suns were condemned to defeat, mostly due to the tough second quarter they endured on both sides of the ball.

Len Busch’s side will look to bounce back again next week as they host table-topping London Lions on Saturday and Oaklands Wolves on Sunday.

Author: Angelia Ronayne

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