Warrnambool Seahawks lose in key players' absence, while Mermaids get back in the winner's book

STRIDING OUT: Warrnambool Seahawks player Xavier Johnson-Blount was again among the team's top performers in Saturday's loss to Blackburn Vikings.

STRIDING OUT: Warrnambool Seahawks player Xavier Johnson-Blount was again among the team's top performers in Saturday's loss to Blackburn Vikings.

THE Warrnambool Seahawks have identified a few key areas to improve before they take on Terrill conference ladder leader Keilor Thunder next Saturday.

The Big V division one men’s basketball team was found wanting against Watson pool leader Blackburn Vikings in Saturday night’s cross-conference clash at Knox Basketball Stadium.

The Seahawks were without key players Alex Gynes and Brock Carter in the 79-95 loss, which acting coach Tim Gainey said highlighted some areas for improvement for the Warrnambool team.

“We probably just didn’t adjust to how they (the Vikings) were playing on the night,” he said.

“They shot the ball really well and we probably didn’t control shots like we should have.”

The home team had the better of proceedings in the first and third quarters and although the Seahawks won the second and fourth terms, they struggled to make up the lost ground.

The fourth quarter was just back and forth; we shot the ball really well - Tim Gainey

Gainey said the Seahawks showed enough during their good patches of play, but couldn’t drag back the deficit.

“(When) we switched on … we just controlled shots,” he said. “They (the Vikings) were a bit taken aback by that as they had to change what they were doing. The fourth quarter was just back and forth; we shot the ball really well.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who can score – we can score with anybody in the competition, which is a great thing to have going forward.

“Our defence just needs to get a bit better.”

Xavier Johnson-Blount scored 25 points in another impressive performance, also collecting 11 rebounds, while Gainey said Josh Dean produced the kind of aggressive game the Seahawks had been hoping for, and was strong defensively.

Gainey said Carter would return to the line-up next week, and was hopeful Gynes would join him back in the team.

TOP SCORER: Molly McKinnon scored 22 points for the Warrnambool Mermaids on Saturday.

TOP SCORER: Molly McKinnon scored 22 points for the Warrnambool Mermaids on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Warrnambool Mermaids bounced back with a 69-44 win over Blackburn Vikings earlier on Saturday, led by the strong tandem act of Molly McKinnon (22 points) Abbey Sutherland (17).

Mermaids coach Louise Brown said it was a big improvement over last week’s performance, which saw them lose their first game of the season.

Saturday night’s 69-44 win at Knox was made all the more impressive by the fact the Mermaids only had six of their regulars able to make the trip. Juniors Leah Bartlett and Georgia McCullagh – the latter in her first senior game – stepped up and contributed to the win.

“It was a pretty tight game until half-time,” Brown said. “At half-time, I said it was going to go one of two ways: we were either to come out and dominate – which we did – (or we would lose).”

The third term was the key for the Mermaids, who restricted the Vikings to just five points while putting through 23 of their own. “It was probably the best quarter of defence we’ve played in a long time,” Brown said.

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