CRUEL BLOW: See what cost the Rocky Cyclones their shot at a three-peat
BASKETBALL: The Frenchville Sports Club Cyclones hopes of an historic QBL title three-peat have been dashed by a heartbreaking loss in Gladstone.
The two-time defending champions, who needed an unbeaten run home to be any chance of playing finals basketball this year, were beaten 77-57 by Port City Power last night.
The team's finals aspirations seemingly evaporated when star import Shanavia Dowell suffered a game-ending knee injury in the 15th minute.
The Cyclones struggled to adjust to the loss of their point-scoring powerhouse and despite a spirited push in the fourth quarter could not reel in the margin.
Cyclones coach Chris Muggeridge was shattered by the loss.
"Championship-wise it's over, we're not making finals,” he said.
"The girls fought well. They definitely went down swinging but it wasn't to be.
"It's highly disappointing but that's sport and we will recover and come back next year.”
Muggeridge said the injury to Dowdell happened just as the Cyclones were finding their groove.
"It was close. Gladstone were ahead but I thought we had game momentum. We were starting to push forward and get on a roll. We were finding some holes in their defence and starting to execute well.
"At that point I was very confident we could get the job done.
"Shanavia had scored 10 points and had just started to motor on and build some rhythm.
"When we lost her the girls just didn't adjust quickly enough. Even though they were tyring their hearts out, you could see the injury had affected them.”
Point guard Jordan Reynolds top-scored with 18 points for the Cyclones, with Chloe Morrow chipping in with 10.
It has been a challenging year for the Cyclones, who lost their inspirational co-captain Alex Brady to a knee injury and star recruit Abby Bishop to Australian Opals duty midway through the season.
Muggeridge said the focus for the remainder of the season would be on giving the development players more court time.
"They'll be given a lot more court time. It's all about them getting experience under their belt,” he said.
"Obviously we need to get better and change some things up but I'm confident we'll be back to give it a real shake again next year.”
Women: Gladstone Port City Power d Rockhampton Cyclones 77-57
Men: Gladstone Port City Power d Rockhampton Rockets 99-77