Launceston Tornadoes score a big SEABL road win over Albury-Wodonga

PASSING IT OVER: Launceston favourite Ally Wilson had a lean night against Albury-Wodonga on Saturday night following her earlier triple double.

PASSING IT OVER: Launceston favourite Ally Wilson had a lean night against Albury-Wodonga on Saturday night following her earlier triple double.

Coach Derrick Washington did not hesitate for a moment in describing a resounding 115-91 win at Albury as the turning point on the road for the Launceston Tornadoes’ drive going forward.

After an early bumpy ride missing key passengers, the Tornadoes have picked up three wins on the trot to split a manageable 4-and-4 record.

“That game was definitely our best performance this year,” he said. 

“The ball was just moving around so nicely.

“For eight games in, we’re starting to reach our goals of what we want to do.

“We still have work to do.

“We can rebound a little bit better still and we have turnovers still, but all in all we are improving every game.

“And our girls are starting to get really comfortable with the style of play which is different to what they’re use to.

“The key thing is they’re having fun playing basketball – that’s all I ever wanted.”

The scores are indicative of that fun he speaks about.

That game was definitely our best performance this year

Coach Derrick Washington

Washington is the first to nod in agreement that the Tornadoes have to improve a defence that has leaked 85.25 points per game this year.

But less than 24 hours on since easily putting 98 points on Frankston Blues, the same side shot 115 against border hosts Albury-Wodonga, an opponent with a same win/loss record entering Saturday night’s must-win clash.

That triple-figure score is a SEABL record, bettering the season-best mark by 12.

Washington felt his side was “firing on all cylinders”.

“It was great to see the girls sharing the ball, just moving the ball so well – it was looking like poetry in motion out there,” he said.

That was done in stunning fashion off a power forward, a utility and a point guard combining for 80 points. 

There was even no need for sharpshooter Ally Wilson.

Ever-consistent Lauren Nicholson nailed 33 points, Ellie Collins lifted to her own season-high 27 and Lauren Mansfield backed up her 31 on Friday with a further 20, this time over the Bandits.

Emma Haywood played her biggest game since she returned to the Torns last year, coming off the bench to score 15 additional points.

“That’s the beauty of this offence. It’s a positional offence where anybody can have a good night,” he said.

CLOSE KNIT: Tornadoes coach Derrick Washington believes he is starting to build a good rapport with his new side.

CLOSE KNIT: Tornadoes coach Derrick Washington believes he is starting to build a good rapport with his new side.

“Ally didn’t have the best night, but she had a triple double [Friday] night. Others stepped up and that’s what I told them after last game.

“We only had three players in double figures [Friday] night and others have responded off that. 

“Ellie Collins stepped up, Emma Haywood stepped up so they’re responding to what I’m telling them. 

“They’re starting to understand the vision I have.”

The visitors got out to a eight-point lead at the first break, but a brilliant 37-23 third term stretched it out to 22 points – a lead they never surrendered all the night.