Warrnambool Mermaids division one women's coach Lee Primmer has lauded his group's grit and determination in its memorable semi-final victory on Saturday night.
The Mermaids dug deep to produce a stunning performance against minor premiers Sherbrooke on the road to book themselves a Big V grand final spot in a couple of weeks, winning 73-61.
"We're very excited about what we achieved and what's ahead, it was a really good performance," Primmer told The Standard.
The minor premiers shot out to a handy lead early before the Mermaids found their groove and kickstarted a stunning comeback.
"They got a great start and I think they were 10-0 before we hit the scoreboard and we pegged it back to a margin that wasn't too bad at quarter-time and then the second-half was an arm-wrestle really," Primmer said.
"We were playing some good basketball and I thought we'd give ourselves a chance, they've been the best team in the competition without a doubt, but in the third quarter I had a timeout after the first four, five minutes and we were 17 down and we had a talk about how we were going to do this and to get to the basket a bit more and put some pressure on them.
"Defensively we threw a bit of a zone at them and it probably was the catalyst in us coming back because they didn't handle that very well at all. Our defence was probably the catalyst in the victory."
The Mermaids mentor said veteran Kate Sewell was tremendous off the bench with a team-high 17 points from just 18 minutes, as well as six rebounds and added her impact around the group had been felt.
"When we lost Liv Fuller to the AFL, we were very small, Kate had trained once or twice with us but had no real plans to play and with Matilda playing it was a great opportunity for a parent to play at a high level with her daughter," he said.
"It was appealing to her to see how she went - she has gradually just been chipping away and she was our top-scorer and six or so rebounds.
"She had a big impact and her daughter had 13 points too - what she's doing for her age is so impressive."
Primmer also paid mention to Molly McKinnon, describing her an "x-factor" on the court with her 16 points and seven rebounds a decisive factor in the win.
Confidence is high ahead of what will be a three-game grand final series with Primmer believing his group was primed to give the title a shake.
"We hadn't knocked them off or Camberwell all season, but it wasn't as if we knew we couldn't beat them, it was just about putting together a consistent number of minutes together and obviously we did that in a game that means something," he said.
"If you take away our loss to Camberwell about five weeks ago now, our last loss was against Sherbrooke in May, so we've been as close to the in-form team in the competition and the girls are gaining confidence with every game they play."
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