A guard's return to Warrnambool Seahawks' roster after a year off is paying dividends.
Josh Dean collected 10 steals in the Tim Gainey-coached side's 88-65 Big V win over Bellarine Storm at the Arc on Saturday night.
His defensive prowess, coupled with import Aaron Harrison's game-high 33 points, helped the Seahawks break a two-game losing run to start the season.
Gainey said Dean, who also dropped 12 points and had four assists, was a barometer for the team.
"His experience and his speed and his intensity at training shows in the games with the way he plays," he said.
"I don't think other guards like the way he plays against them which is a plus for us."
Warrnambool found itself one point down at half-time and it was Dean who set the tone in the second half.
The Seahawks outscored the Storm by 24 points after the main break.
"We missed a lot of shots we normally make, so guys had their heads down a bit but I just told them 'look, we've got to play defence and if we miss a shot we can always get it back on the defensive end'," Gainey said of his half-time speech.
"In the second half guys actually stepped up and played defence first and offence came to us, so it was really good.
"I think Josh led the charge. He had 10 steals, that's unheard of in basketball. Other guys just followed along."
Toone drove to the basket for a lay-up on debut and Rea sunk two free throws.
Both players received a rousing reception from the Seahawks' bench and home crowd.
"It is good to see them get on the court," Gainey said.
"It's a different intensity for them but they both scored tonight which is always a plus and I bet you their parents are smiling."
Harrison, playing in his third game since joining the club in the off-season, showed what he is capable of, reeling in 12 rebounds to go with his 33 points.
Leader Alex Gynes chimed in with 22 points, collected a team-high 14 boards and recorded four blocks.
Ollie Bidmade was also effective and posted 13 points and three steals.
Warrnambool was without James Mitchell who sat on the bench with his leg in a brace.
Gainey, who produced four blocks, is hopeful the 2016 championship winner will be back on court soon.
Mitchell adds to the Seahawks' height stocks.
"Hopefully it's positive. He was supposed to have surgery today and they looked at it and they're not going to have it at the moment," he said.
"Hopefully it can heal properly, let it rest, get in the ocean, that type of stuff.
"He'll be back in a couple of weeks I'm hoping because he's been playing really good basketball for us."
The Seahawks have a double-header next weekend, travelling to play Whittlesea Pacers (Saturday night) and Collingwood All-Stars (Sunday).
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