Launceston Tornadoes defeat Dandenong in SEABL

Energetic: Coach Derrick Washington orchestras proceedings for the Tornadoes against Dandenong. Picture: Scott Gelston
Energetic: Coach Derrick Washington orchestras proceedings for the Tornadoes against Dandenong. Picture: Scott Gelston

If the Launceston Tornadoes can show half the energy of coach Derrick Washington this season, a SEABL title is on the cards.

The entertaining American was at his excitable best as the sixth-placed Torns withstood a late surge from the fourth-placed Dandenong Rangers to win 82-74 at a rocking Elphin Sports Centre.

“Hey man, part of my game is the passion,” said Washington who even attracted the attention of the referee for one high-speed head-slapping sprint down the line and probably requires post-match ice baths more than his players.

“I love the game of basketball and just want the best for my girls. I just want them to be successful. I’m into the game and love it.”

The coach’s passion was matched by the players’ performance although it got nervy in the final term when a Rangers side led by former Torn Tayla Roberts cut a 15-point three-quarter time lead back to just four points.

Washington called a timeout and delivered a timely message.

“I don’t get nervous I just knew we had to stick to what we needed to do.

“We got our time out, I told them what we needed to do and they executed it. I said be composed, run our sets, do what we do and we’ll be fine. And that’s what we did.”

Captain Lauren Mansfield was eased back into the fray in her return from an ankle injury and it was Lauren Nicholson who stood tall, amassing 29 points, while Ellie Collins added 17 and kept Roberts relatively quiet.

“It was a good solid effort,” Washington added.

“We jumped out on them and played steady. I told them if we could score over 75 points we’d win the game and we did that.

“Lauren Nicholson really stepped up, Ellie Collins playing on Tayla Roberts that’s a battle and she did her job.

“I knew Dandenong would come with a run and they did but we withstood that. We played hard and fought through adversity.

“Launceston is great, the Torns are treating me well, I wouldn’t want to be in another place.”

Rangers shared the points around with six players who reached double figures.