A STRONG emphasis on defence is expected to pay long-term dividends for Country Basketball League outfit Warrnambool Mermaids.
The Mermaids executed coach Louise Brown’s defensive plan in their 72-64 win over Portland Coasters on Saturday night.
“If we have the same effort defensively all game, it will hold us in dips in our offence,” she said.
“There’s been a huge improvement from game one to yesterday but there’s still a long way to go.
“We’re trying to get minutes into the young kids and a few are stepping up and accepting the challenge.”
Brown was thrilled with the Mermaids’ fast start and felt they held momentum all game despite the Coasters rallying at times.
“We’ve been working on our starts and setting the tone from the beginning instead of trying to flick a switch at half-time,” she said.
“We took our foot off the pedal in the second quarter. Defensively we fell asleep and let them back in the game.
“At half-time we might have only been up six or eight points after being 15 up at quarter-time.
“I am trying to teach the girls that you can’t afford to take your foot off the pedal against decent teams.”
Brown praised veteran Renee Tuck for her shooting accuracy and experienced point guard Nicole Gynes for her on-court leadership.
Amy Wormald drained a game-high 27 points.
But it was a pair of up-and-comers in Lily Killey and Molly McKinnon who stood out.
“It was only Molly’s second game and she did some nice things,” she said.
“She is super athletic and gets after the ball. She reads the ball well.”
Brown hopes the Mermaids can have a scrimmage against the Seahawks’ roster this week given they have a bye next round.
The Seahawks edged out the Coasters 87-81 on Saturday night.
Lukas Essenwanger (19 points), Mitch O’Sullivan (18), Austin Steere (15) and Liam Osborne (11) shared the Seahawks’ scoring load.
Two players with links to the Warrnambool club, Hayden Annett and Brock Carter, were Portland’s most prolific players.
Annett sunk 20 points and Carter, who played in the Seahawks’ Big V championship in September, 19.
Meanwhile, Terang Tornadoes’ impressive rise claimed two more scalps.
The Tornadoes defeated Millicent Magic 67-64 and Mount Gambier Lakers 72-67.