Launceston Tornadoes shock Sandringham Sabres to cap off flawless road double

BREATHER: Tornadoes star Ally Wilson contemplates the perfect road trip for Launceston. Pictures: Dion Georgopoulos
BREATHER: Tornadoes star Ally Wilson contemplates the perfect road trip for Launceston. Pictures: Dion Georgopoulos

Launceston Tornadoes have cast aside Sandringham Sabres in a stunning reversal of fortunes on the road.

Some 57 days after the fifth-placed rivals blitzed the Tornadoes in their backyard, the Derrick Washington-led visitors owned the Sabres’ court towards a dynamic 114-84 win on Saturday night.

The Tornadoes also fell just one point shy of breaking their own SEABL season scoring record set against Albury-Wodonga Bandits six weeks earlier.

The performance came on the back of a strong 28-point victory 24 hours earlier and with leader Lauren Mansfield still yet to return from injury.

“It was our best game this year,” Washington declared.

“I would say it was our best performance defensively and offensively for four quarters.

“If you look at the stats, we led the whole game – well for 39 minutes and 35 seconds.

“Defensively, we just were locked in for all four quarters; offensively, we were locked in for all four quarters.

“Every one of the players contributed and moving forward, it’s going to be just beautiful – especially when we get Lauren Mansfield.” 

Launceston’s fast-paced game piled on the pressure and asked questions of the hosts early, stacking up back-to-back 34-point quarters to lead 68-44 by half-time.

The Sabres had pulled the margin back to 12 points with two minutes remaining in the third term before the Tornadoes settled again to take a 16-point advantage heading into the last change.

Courtney Williams stood up in the final quarter after a quiet game to polish off 10 of her 13 points to drive the Texan’s new side to a 27-19 closing term.

Shooting a strong 55 per cent from the floor, including 62 per cent from beyond the three-point arc compared to just 29 for Sandringham, Washington pointed to the other end of the court as vital behind the resurging win.

“The key tonight was pressure defence,” he said.

“That’s one thing we just haven’t been doing consistently; we’ve been doing it in spurts and quarters.

“But tonight we were able to put pressure defence on them from start to finish.”

FINISHER: Launceston import Courtney Williams shoots for a three-pointer in a breakthrough weekend for the American.

FINISHER: Launceston import Courtney Williams shoots for a three-pointer in a breakthrough weekend for the American.

Ally WIlson executed perfect passing and made great decisions at point guard, just missing a triple double once again with 27 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds.

Ellie Collins bounced back from just two shots from 15 on Friday to monster her way to 27 points and 16 rebounds.

Tireless Lauren Nicholson for the second night in a row top-scored in a winning side with 30 points.

Paige French continued her upwards trajectory off the bench to score 11 points.

French, Emma Haywood and Ali Partridge led the full-court defensive pressure, targeting Australian Opal Rachel Jarry and star teammate Jessica Bygate from the jump.

“I’m really proud of them because they knew we had to win it and they took care of business,” Washington said.