Stepping off the tarmac and onto the court two hours after flying from Canberra to Melbourne conspired to end Launceston’s brave six-game winning run on Sunday.
Add the untoward pressure of a third straight game without inspirational skipper Lauren Mansfield guiding the Tornadoes around and that spelt a heavy 79-59 loss at Nunawading in Melbourne’s inner eastern suburbs.
But Torns coach Derrick Washington refused to put a downer on the performance considering an array of unusual circumstances.
“I wouldn’t say it’s disappointing – we still got to split this weekend, which was one of the goals,” he said.
“We knew it was going to be tough with the travel situation, as we had to travel on the same day and we played two hours after we got off the plane. So that’s why I won’t say it was disappointing.”
The defeat came on the back of the club’s lowest score for the year as well.
On the search for seven wins in a row after just one in the first five SEABL outings, Washington was quick to insist complacency did not creep into his side’s game.
Launceston got off to a sluggish start, down by 11 inside the first six and a half minutes and never hit the front all day.
“It’s never a bonus win – we knew we could beat them, but we weren’t able to hit our shots like we did last night against Canberra,” he said.
“It’s tough to do back to back. But we still stuck to our game plan and they were able to just score more shots than we were.”
But none of that falls on Lauren Nicholson.
The acting captain did go back to back – and to the well.
She shot 27 points against the Spectres after her 26 the night before and played 80 minutes of basketball without having a breather.
“She’s a warrior – that is what she does,” Washington said. “You know what you going to get every night.”
Power forward Ellie Collins and teenage guard Aishah Anis scored 10 points, with Ally Wilson adding a further nine points as the only others to score more than two in a shallow travelling bench.
Washington was quick again to praise Anis’s efforts for a third consecutive time.
The American said it was a good learning weekend in the absence of Mansfield.
“Like I say: you never lose, you always learn,” he said.
“Aishah is starting to play a few games and she is getting that learning experience.
“For a 16-year-old, she is doing really well.”
Launceston failed to win a quarter, but somehow was just 10 points behind at three-quarter time.
But the home side came out strong to score 11 of the first 16 points to shut the game out.