Launceston Tornadoes coach Reece Potter feels gutted but also pride in club's 2016 SEABL campaign

Reece Potter cut a harsh figure the day after that loss.

The head coach’s sombre mood soon after flying back into Launceston on Sunday morning could not hide his immense pride in the Tornadoes’ turnaround of fortunes in 24 months under his reign.

But firstly, the 57-53 loss to Kilsyth that came oh so close to knocking off the south conference beast.

“We’re so gutted to go down by four in such a low-scoring game,” he said.

“We made some really good adjustments two weeks ago and to keep Kilsyth, which have some of the best days in the competition, to 57 is an outstanding effort.

“It’s just unfortunate that we couldn’t consistently score ourselves.”

What was standard fare for the Tornadoes in their 19-5 season simply vanished.

Buckets wouldn’t drop, shots even didn’t come off.

He doesn’t fully know why.

“I think if we had that game at home, there is no way we’d lose it,” Potter said.

“A few more calls would go our way and we’d see the ball better. That’s not an excuse.

“We got into the situation that put ourselves in.

“We were in a position that we could’ve and should’ve won the game.”

While critiquing the conference final that would secure a place in the SEABL championship game hurts, Potter radiated positivity over his two years in charge.

Additionally, he considers himself “very lucky” to coach the club’s transitional phase from easy beat to title threat.

“It’s hard to look back at it now, but when you look back at the season, it’s been pretty successful – considering that two years ago the club won just six games,” Potter said.

“So as much it is disappointing, if someone had told me when I took on the job that we would make a preliminary final the first year and to a conference final the second year, I would have thought they were crazy.”

He was brought in as a mere kid coach from Sydney.

The ex-WNBL Flames staffer has grown with what Potter called an “outstanding group” of not basketballers, but people.

“Last year was a special year for us; we changed a bit of the culture of we expected from each of one another and we sat down and set the standard very high,” he said.

“We obviously changed the playing group a little bit, but also maintained some of it and changed the mindset of what we expect with them.”

Potter, 24, now feels the move to Launceston is paying off despite the heartache.

“There’s great people, great players, great role models and I couldn’t be any prouder to be their coach,” he said.

“I think how we respond – to me as a young coach – is a credit to them as people because a 23-year-old coach walking into some clubs, I don’t think players would respond as well as ours.”

UNITED WE STAND: Launceston Tornadoes gather in the pre-game huddle before their south conference final against Kilsyth on Saturday night in Melbourne. Picture: Jordie Gray

UNITED WE STAND: Launceston Tornadoes gather in the pre-game huddle before their south conference final against Kilsyth on Saturday night in Melbourne. Picture: Jordie Gray

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