Home-floor heartbreak: 'We know we should have won that'
BASKETBALL: The Rockhampton Cyclones have crashed out of the QBL playoffs with a five-point loss in their home quarter final.
The second-placed Cyclones were beaten 79-74 by seventh-placed Ipswich Force in a drama-charged showdown at Adani Arena on Saturday night.
It was better news for the Rockhampton Rockets, who scored an impressive 90-70 win over the Cairns Marlins in Cairns.
Cyclones coach Chris Muggeridge was devastated by the defeat, left to rue a four-minute lapse that ultimately cost the game.
But he praised the courage of his players who came back from 15 points down to almost snatch victory.
"The last seven minutes of that game was outstanding and if we had played like that the whole game we win easily,” an emotional Muggeridge said.
"We just didn't get the job done.
"I think everyone's disappointed. We know that we should have won that game.”
The Cyclones led by 10 points before the Force worked their way back to lead by three at half-time and seven at three-quarter time.
They extended that to 15 with seven minutes to play before the Cyclones stormed back.
The rally was led by Kiwi international Mary Goulding who finished the game with 20 points, 16 rebounds and four assists.
The recovery mission looked all but complete when champion point guard Jessica Thomas landed a three-pointer to level the score at 72-all with 1.23mins on the clock.
But Ipswich would not be denied and edged back in front and held on for victory.
Muggeridge said the Cyclones' comeback typified the fight they had shown all year and just how good a team they were.
But he said the Force should never have got to a 15-point lead.
"Defensively we had lapses. We started to stress about the scoreboard ticking over instead of just doing our job and controlling boards and getting stops and contesting shots,” he said.
"Instead of working together in that period, and it was only a four-minute period, we started to single out and look for other people to do the dirty work.
"Once we fixed that up we brought the 15 points back very, very quickly but the last minute we just didn't hit shots or we got to the rim.”
Muggeridge said despite the heartbreaking loss, the season was one he was proud of.
"I said all along that this team reminded me of the 2014 team that got to the grand final for the very first time.
"The vibe and the culture within this group was fantastic and I'd love to have them back.
"We'll regroup and try to get better for next year.”