RINGWOOD Hawks women have regained a place in the top four following a narrow 69-66 road win over the Sherbrooke Suns in Big V state championship on Saturday night.
Full of confidence after the previous week's win over title contender Eltham, the Hawks started well with import centre Krista Rabenberg scoring the first basket on her way to a double double (10 points, 10 rebounds) and quickly opened up a nine-point lead.
But the experienced heads from Sherbrooke fought back to narrow the margin to just one by the first break and spectators were about to witness an arm-wrestle for the remainder of the game.
Ringwood's import guard Tori Hansen had her fingerprints all over the game, producing a stat line of 11 points, six assists and six rebounds.
Returning from injury, veteran Lisa Ewin added 11 valuable points for the Hawks, including a buzzer beater to give the visitors a one-point lead heading into the final period.
Scoring the first six points out of the last break, the Suns regained the lead and signs were ominous for Ringwood. But as she has done in recent weeks, Jackie Vanderzaag stood up for the Hawks and, with six of her team-high 22 points and nine rebounds coming down the stretch, she sealed the win from the free-throw line.
Ringwood travels to meet the second-placed McKinnon Cougars on Sunday and while an unlikely win should seal fourth place and a finals berth, a loss will see its fate determined by winnable games against Hume City and Waverley in the final two rounds of the regular season.
Big V state championship women:
Melbourne 14 wins, 3 losses, 119.96 per cent; McKinnon 13, 3, 121.02; Eltham 10, 7, 103.69; Ringwood 9, 8, 94.81; Bulleen 8, 9, 97.97; Diamond Valley 8, 9, 111.14; Hume City 7, 8, 90.64; Sherbrooke 4, 13, 85.35; Waverley 2, 15, 83.53.