Newcastle Netball Association: BNC Whanau overcome three-time defending premiers Souths Lions in open championship | photos

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A best-on-court display from skipper Sam Belcher has helped BNC Whanau overcome three-time defending premiers Souths Lions in round nine of the Newcastle Netball Association open championship.

The wing attack was outstanding in Saturday’s narrow 44-42 victory at National Park according to BNC coach Cherie Aoake Puru.   

“She [Belcher] had a phenomenal game,” Aoake Puru said. “She just drove the entire court and was our strongest player.” 

Belcher’s performance in the tight tussle was timely with BNC missing four regulars, including former national league basketballer Mikaela Dombkins and Australian schoolgirls representative Dakota Thomas.

Dombkins’ older sister Rebakah Wallace debuted for BNC at centre. 

Aoaka Puru also praised the efforts of shooting pair Caity Lobston and Lucy Geise.

“Both of them would have been up around the 90 [per cent] mark,” she said.

The match see-sawed across the 60 minutes with the lead changing several times. BNC were ahead after the first quarter but the Lions held the advantage at the remaining two breaks. 

“Our girls we’re just building and building and building the entire game,” Aoaka Puru said.

“We had to try and shut down a few of their key players and we eventually got there.” 

It was BNC’s third straight win and keeps them within striking distance of the top three while it was just the second loss of the 2017 season for the second-placed Lions.

Elsewhere leaders Wests Leagues Balance thumped Maryville Tavern Alize 61-15, Forsythe Business Advisors join the Lions in second after beating last-placed Junction Stella 54-39 and Nova Thunder jumped Souths Pride into sixth with a 47-41 triumph.

LADDER: West Leagues Balance 29, Souths Lions, Forsythe Business Advisors 27, BNC Whanau 25, Maryville Tavern Alize 20, Nova Thunder 17, Souths Pride 16, Junction Stella 15.