Launceston Tornadoes’ SEABL season has finished at the conference final for the second year running but coach Richard Dickel said he would love to try and take the team to the next step.
A 91-80 loss to the Bendigo Lady Braves brought the curtain down on Tasmania’s SEABL involvement following earlier departures by both Hobart Chargers teams and the North West Thunder.
After finishing the season fourth, the Torns have visited the three sides above them in successive weeks, beating third-placed Hobart and minor premier Dandenong but unable to complete the hat-trick at second-placed Bendigo.
A disappointed but philosophical Dickel praised the Braves and reflected on the positives since taking charge of the Torns earlier this year.
“We probably did not make adjustments quickly enough but hats off to them for a solid shooting effort,” he said. “It was just their night tonight.
“We took a lot of steps forward this season especially with the local girls. We’ll go through a thorough review now and see what we need for next season.”
Dickel, who was recruited on a one-season basis, said he would love to be a part of the club’s future.
“They will go through a process in the next couple of days and advertise for a three-year position which I will most likely apply for because I would love to come back.
“I love the community, I feel part of it, I have my partner’s blessing to come back so we’ll see what happens over the next month and go from there.”
After leading by a point at quarter-time, the hosts put in a big second term to take a nine-point buffer into the main break.
This stretched out to a game-high 19 points before the visitors forced their way back into the contest, coming within five points late on.
While Launceston only broke 20 points in the final quarter, Bendigo did so in every term and rarely looked like losing in front of a partisan crowd at Bendigo Stadium.
Despite finishing on the losing side, Lauren Mansfield and Lauren Nicholson dominated the scoring, finishing with 27 and 26 respectively.
Bendigo shared its scoring around with all five starters reaching double figures and both Carlie Smith (18 points and 12 rebounds, despite averaging half that over the season) and Chante Black (17 and 12) recording double doubles.
Captain Jane Chalmers (18) and WNBL rookie of the year Kelly Wilson (16) also made helpful contributions as Bendigo completed a hat-trick of wins over the Torns, having triumphed in Rounds 6 and 17.
In the east conference, Geelong beat Kilsyth and will face Bendigo in the grand final next week in Kilsyth.