LITHGOW Workies Lazers survived an early scare in the State League cross-over match to see who would advance to the finals.
Cheered home by a noisy supportive home crowd, the Workies Lazers scored an excellent 78-64 win over Tamworth Thunderbolts at the Lithgow Lazerdome.
Both sides had topped their pool and the Lazers were shell-shocked by the intense start by Tamworth.
The Lazers were off target and did not register points until seven minutes into the game.
By then they were trailing by 17 points with the big crowd unusually quiet.
Their defence was at sixes and sevens, leaving big holes which saw the Tamworth defence pouring through.
Coach Richard Marjoram called a time out and emphasised to his side to concentrate on their defence and their attack would come.
Lithgow scored a couple of late baskets to trail 19-10 at quarter time with better signs for the Lazers starting to show.
The second quarter saw the Lazers continue their fight back with some good fast breaks.
They applied a full court defence pressure on Tamworth which paid dividends when they forced some turnovers.
Lithgow won this quarter 17 to 11 and at the halftime break Tamworth held a slender lead of 30-27.
“I was pleased at being only three down after our shocking start,” Marjoram said.
“We had to concentrate on our strong defence which got us back in the game.
“We were also aware we had to continue our domination in the next five minutes after the break and keep our moment going.”
Lazers did just that and with Todd Brownlow and Kurt Northey controlling the boards, and Adam Marjoram, Boaz Gregg, Ryley Hughes scoring good baskets, the team won the quarter 29-19 and hit the front to lead 56-49 and this time it was a shell-shocked Tamworth Thunderbolts.
In the final quarter, Kurt Northey and Todd Brownlow fouled out, but the team stayed with the game plan.
Good scoring by Michael Cox, Kurt Northey (before he was fouled out) and Matt Hughes meant Tamworth’s defence had to spread across all players.
Lithgow were at their best with the big crowd getting right behind them with the home side taking the last quarter 22-15.
The final score finished 78-64, a testimony to the Lazers’ determination and never say die attitude.
Top scorers for the Lazers were Adam Marjoram 22, Boaz Gregg 15, Michael Cox 13, Ryley Hughes 9, Kurt Northey 8, Matt Hughes 7, Todd Brownlow 4.
For Tamworth, their best were Reece Graige 18, Justin Leemy 15 and Chris Skilton (one of the league’s top 10 scorers) was kept to only 10.
The win sees Lithgow go straight to the finals weekend in Maitland (September 1 and 2).
The semi final will be played on Saturday and the final on Sunday.
Once again the night provided a great atmosphere for the big crowd with the under 12 Lazer girls playing an exhibition match as a curtain raiser.
Entertainment was also provided by music man Si Townsend, and the talented Jessica Dick who sang the national anthem and at halftime of the main game accompanied herself on guitar with a beautiful song much to the delight of the appreciative crowd.
Master of ceremonies for the night was Charlie Healey.