A mid-game health scare for coach Simon Pritchard has not deterred his enthusiasm after Bendigo Spirit defeated the Melbourne Boomers 60-58.
During the game Pritchard began to experience heart arrhythmia, a health condition which he has managed since he was 20-years-old.
“It’s not exercise or stress related. It happens every six months or so and lasts for periods of around five minutes or longer,” Pritchard said.
“Once the arrhythmia lasts for more than 45 minutes, that’s when it starts to get dangerous.
“The irregular heartbeat means there’s minimal blood circulating throughout my body.
“But last night as soon as my heart went back to the correct speed, I was alright straight away.”
After the game Pritchard was taken to hospital for observations and was discharged in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
During the game Pritchard called on the expertise of assistant coach David Flint to take control, leading the Spirit to its fourth win of the season.
“It was a no brainer,” Pritchard said.
“Dave has been with me for the last four years and has over 25 years of experience as a coach.
“He was more than capable of taking over and he did a great job.”
On court, Nat Hurst was able to lead the team “beautifully” which Pritchard said made the job easier for Flint and the other players.
“It was a true team performance,” he said
After half-time the team focused on defensive alignment against the Boomers.
“Our spacing wasn’t right. There were too many strides for our players to get out to the three-point shooters,” Pritchard said.
“By the end of the game the Boomers missed their three-pointers because we had a hand on the shooters as our defensive spacing had improved.”
His focus is now on the Spirit’s home game this weekend against the Sydney Uni Flames.
“We hope to pick up another win on Sunday,” Pritchard said.
“We want to make our home (Bendigo Stadium) a fortress and not allow anyone to win in Bendigo.
“And if we can do this well, we will have a good chance of making the finals.”
Last Saturday night the Spirit defeated Adelaide Lightning in front of its home crowd 70-52.
Spirit’s captain Nat Hurst was selected as the WNBL Round 4 player of the week, after leading her team to back-to-back victories.
Nat Hurst Round 4 Stats: 19.5 points on 13-23 (57%) shooting including 7-14 three-point shooting, 7.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
Spirit now sit in third place on the WNBL ladder, with 4 wins and 2 losses.
Bendigo Spirit (4-2) will play Sydney Uni Flames (0-6) this Sunday at the Bendigo Stadium, tip-off at 2pm.
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