DAKOTA Thomas made the difference in defence and Caity Lobston starred in attack as BNC Whanau eliminated Forsythes 45-36 from the Newcastle open netball championship on Saturday.
Third-placed Forsythes had beaten fourth-placed BNC both times this year but went into the elimination semi-final at National Park without go-to shooter Sabina Gomboso (holidays).
Despite the loss, Forsythes led by three goals at quarter time, prompting BNC coach Cherie Aoake-Puru to put Thomas on shooter Kelsey Moss and Dominique Murphy on Rian Hodges.
BNC quickly levelled then held slight leads at half- and three-quarter time before breaking clear in the last term.
BNC play the loser of next week’s major semi between Wests Leagues Balance and Souths Lions in a fortnight.
Aoake-Puru said Thomas and Lobston were key players in the win and Victoria Aoake’s battle with in-form Forsythes centre Karlie Robards was a highlight.
“Dakota did an awesome job in the circle, our defence held the game for us, but Caity Lobston controlled and directed our whole attack and she was phenomenal from the first centre,” Aoake-Puru said. “She was the difference in our circle and Lucy Geise from the second quarter was shooting from all over the circle.”
Forsythes coach Traci Baber was proud of the effort from her side.
“It was the best game the girls have played all year as individuals,” Baber said. “We let them get away in the last quarter but it was always going to be tough because Sabina is just so consistent.”
”I was really happy with them, the way they finished the year. It was really strong considering the way things went.
“We wanted to make a game of it and we did that. BNC played really well and both Caity and Lucy shot very well.”