A disjointed Launceston Tornadoes looked terribly out of sorts on Friday night, suffering a third straight loss at home to start the season.
Tornadoes coach Derrick Washington was at pains to explain the uncharacteristic 97-69 defeat at Elphin Sports Centre to a superbly polished Sandringham Sabres.
The margin had blown out to an almost incomprehensible 38 points midway through the last quarter that left Tornadoes fans stunned.
“Of course, we want to get a home win for our crowd,” Washington said.
“We know we can do it.
“We know can draw back and we’re going to make that happen next week. It’ll definitely happen next game.”
The night was so miserable that the highlight was almost the opening 20 seconds that brought a deafening roar.
The old firm were back together for the first time in 18 months when Lauren Mansfield scooped up an errant ball, dribbled down court and found Ally Wilson on the lay-up for the first two points.
But the captain’s first game back after a hardened season in Poland proved frustrating.
Mansfield was given 35 minutes court time, but only finished with five points.
Washington appeared unconcerned of any court rust.
“It’s a new style for her,” he said of his game plan.
“But she’s a top basketballer – she’ll bounce back. I’m not worried about that.”
The truth was the Sabres had contributors all over and Tornadoes just didn’t.
The Bayside Melbourne club would pile on 30 and 31 points in consecutive middle terms to outscore the hosts by 30 there alone.
Rachel Jarry, the two-time Olympian, controlled the game to calmly slot 20 points and collect 10 rebounds.
New Zealand behemoth Megan Craig stood 205cms, dwarfing Torns rival Ellie Collins at tip-off and moving opponents across the floor.
Five Sabres made double figures and nine scored at least seven points each.
The Tornadoes called on Wilson for a game-high 26 points to rescue the side.
Lauren Nicholson was galant with 18, and Collins added 12 with 10 rebounds.
The last pair were a telling set of figures. Just three Torns reached what all Sabres did on the scoresheet. Launceston was also out-rebounded 48 to 28 at both ends.
But that can come down to bench depth in the absence of Ali Patridge, Emma Haywood and Sophie Ackerley.
Jess Russell and Samantha Chilcott were forced to come in for their first games in a difficult assignment that leaves the Torns at 1-and-4.
The coach did not want to labour on that point.
“At the end of the day, we just have to stick to our game plan,” Washington said.
“Pushing it up, getting back on D. Otherwise, we’ll settle in a little bit.
“We had a couple of new faces from not too long ago.
“Until they adjust, you can’t address something like that in just four days.”