Launceston Tornadoes concede 26 straight points late against Kilsyth Cobras

ON THE MOVE: Ellie Collins was one of the Tornadoes stars in a strong first-game at the Elphin Sports Centre on Saturday night. Picture: Phillip Biggs

ON THE MOVE: Ellie Collins was one of the Tornadoes stars in a strong first-game at the Elphin Sports Centre on Saturday night. Picture: Phillip Biggs

Amid all the talk of a new era, Launceston Tornadoes came out to play hard.

But in a near point-for-point game during the first three-and-a-half quarters, it quickly turned from fired up to more like fizzle.  

Back on court for their much-awaited SEABL season opener, the Tornadoes surrendered a three-point break to go and concede the final 26 points of the encounter.

Kilsyth ran over the top of an under-strength home side to win 93-70 on Saturday night at Elphin Sports Centre.

Rookie coach Derrick Washington, after a handful of years as development coach for two WNBA clubs, was in charge of his own side for the first time.

But the American kept his composure in assessing the fadeout against the perennial title contenders.

ANIMATED: Coach Derrick Washington responds to a call on the court. Picture: Phillip Biggs

ANIMATED: Coach Derrick Washington responds to a call on the court. Picture: Phillip Biggs

“To be honest with you, they hit a lot of open shots at the end,” Washington said.

“So we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

But Washington was far from disappointed looking at the bigger picture.

That vision of the season ahead included Launceston jumping out of the blocks to lead by as much as eight points in the first quarter.

In the wake of Tornadoes captain Lauren Mansfield and US import Mikaela Ruef stranded playing playoffs in Europe, the coach has called on his band of Tasmanian players to stand up.

Power forward Ellie Collins certainly delivered.

The 18-year-old on the rise scored an equal game-high 22 points that included 15 first-half points.

She provided a wall at the defensive end, adding 10 immovable rebounds.

Lauren Nicholson was also another who heeded Washington’s call.

The Sydneysider battled in the first half, but finished considerably strongly in the second to collect 20 points and a further eight rebounds.

But Washington had kind words to say about the efforts of all his players.

“I’m really proud of them – they did a great job for most of the game,” he said.

BURST THROUGH: Emma Haywood dribbles away from the Cobras defence. Picture: Phillip Biggs

BURST THROUGH: Emma Haywood dribbles away from the Cobras defence. Picture: Phillip Biggs

“But like I say, we can always improve. We’ll go back to the drawing board and figure what work we have to do.

“But everybody on this team played well tonight.

“Everyone stepped up and came ready to play.”

Trailing by two points at the long break, Kilsyth took total control of the game.

Cobras guard Sophie Parsons (22) and Hope Terdich (20), coming off the bench, kept nailing the shots. But the Torns kept fighting back.

They hit the front for the first time of the second half with little over six minutes on the clock when Nicholson timely nailed the 11th of her 13 second-half points. 

INDECISIVE: Ally Wilson poises while looking for inside options. Picture: Phillip Biggs

INDECISIVE: Ally Wilson poises while looking for inside options. Picture: Phillip Biggs

But that was nearly the last of the side’s effective shots.

Launceston, in fact, went on to miss its last seven attempts that included five outside the three-point arc.

Washington had a simple response to it all.

“Sure, we had cobwebs tonight,” he readily admitted.

“But like I always say, we’ve got to score the ball.

“We’ve got to get the ball down court and just got to score more points than that.”