Derrick Washington says Launceston is a real chance to win its second-ever championship after its shock win at Bendigo on Saturday.
The Braves had been unbeaten in 20 games before falling to an 84-77 defeat at the hands of a Tornadoes side short of its best player from last season, skipper Lauren Mansfield.
“We knocked the best team in the league, it feels great,” Washington said.
“We knew we could beat them after the first time we played them at home - our defence wasn’t at its best (then), but we knew if we locked in defensively like we were supposed to, we would come out on top and we did and did it very well.
“Being able to see players execute your game plan and the teaching that you give them during game night, that’s the best feeling when you coach.”
Launceston will now meet the winner of Saturday’s semi-final between Melbourne and Nunawading in a home preliminary final on August 11, which will see Mansfield’s return.
Washington chose not to risk his skipper for the Bendigo game due to the star’s quick turnaround from Opals duty in China – a decision vindicated by the sublime form of Lauren Nicholson and Ally Wilson.
“I know we can win without Mansfield - Lauren Mansfield is the icing on the cake for our team,” Washington said.
“She loves the team and I know she wants to be a part of it ... when she comes back it’s going to be even better.
“And we’ve got Lauren Nicholson too ... she had 34 points and 11 rebounds and played very well, and she’s a leader on and off the court.
“We’ve got some amazing players at the Torns and I’m just excited, I’m a happy coach.”
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