Jets dig deep to overcome key on court absences

Chelsea Burns returned to the starting line-up and was a key defensively for the Sunbury Jets. Picture Shawn Smits.

The Sunbury Jets are continuing to respond in winning ways no matter what is thrown at them in Big V women’s division 1 basketball.

The Jets’ have started the season with 10 straight victories and continue to develop as a side, with different players standing up each week.

On Sunday, they set the tone defensively against Hawthorn and that provided the basis for their 67-34 win at Boardman Stadium.

They restricted the Magic to less than single figures in each of the first three quarters, producing 21 steals and 10 blocked shots.

Captain Chelsea Burns, who returned to the starting line-up after a hamstring injury, led the way with six steals, three blocked shots and eight points. Courtney Duever top scored with 21 points. She also had 10 rebounds, two steals and three blocks.

The win is the Jets’ third without coach Kennedy Kereama and centre Jess Bygate, who are both with the New Zealand national team.

Starter Naomi Stevens was also missing from Sunday’s win.

Acting senior coach Lisa Townsend said it had taken the side a little bit longer than expected to adjust to not having Kennedy at the helm.

“Last week was better than the week before,” she said. “Training was better and girls are getting used to everything and everyone is working out their roles.

“We’ve had a few injuries as well, which haven’t helped. We’ve been plugging away. Everyone wants to beat us.”

In a good sign for the Jets, on Sunday they had 13 points from players coming off the bench – a vast improvement from a combined six points in the previous two games against Keilor and second-placed Geelong Supercats.

Townsend said she thought the bench improvement was part of adjusting to not having Kennedy.

The Jets’ tough run continues with matches against Mildura, Camberwell and Latrobe City in coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the Jets’ men’s side fell short in overtime against Casey Cavaliers on Sunday afternoon.

Celebrating Nathan Sellwood’s 350th senior game, the Jets came from behind at three-quarter time to level the scores at 73-73.

In overtime, the two sides went goal for goal before the Cavaliers secured an 83-82 victory.