Lakers look good as Christmas looms
It took the Mount Gambier Lakers women three quarters to break away from the Surfcoast Chargers in Round 12 of the Country Basketball League season.
The Lakers were victorious in the end, but the Chargers were in the game until their final term.
The Lakers took the lead in the opening game after a basket-by-basket quarter, with the two teams separating just two points at the first break.
Sarah Ritter was once again the focus of Mount Gambier’s offense, while Emily Dawe had rejoined the side after her recent return.
The Chargers took their second term chances to beat the Lakers by a point, but not enough to take the lead, by a single point on the main break.
From there, the Lakers started hitting their belts, with a more composed third term to open the lead slightly and take a five-point lead over the last term.
The talls in Mikaela Horrigan, Olivia Wormald and Keryl Ousey hit their straps and the score started to open up.
By the final whistle, the Lakers had established a comfortable lead to emerge victorious with an 85-66 score.
Ritter finished the game at the highest level with 22 points, while Wormald (12) and Ousey (11) were also in double figures.
Coach Bryan Green said it was a fine effort on his part on what he described as the toughest road trip on the season’s calendar.
“It takes over five hours to drive to Torquay to play and then drive five hours home,” he said.
“The girls did really well.
“They were very physical, but we got the job done, which was very gratifying.”
Green said the time on the road certainly influenced his players early in the competition.
“We didn’t get on the pitch in the race – you could put that down to a couple of things, but having to be in the car for five hours and then play is pretty tough.
“We were all over the store in our first quarter, but thanks to the girls they stuck with it and kept grinding and grinding until we beat them.”
Green noted the energy Dawe has brought to the team since her return a few short games ago.
“She’s been playing with these girls all her life as a junior, so she’s getting back in there, filling a role for us, getting on the pitch and pushing,” he said.
“She’s always lively and walks around with a smile on her face.
“It’s good to have her back and she sets the tone for a lot of things we do.”
Green said he was pleased with the contribution of Knight, Ousey and Horrigan, along with noble Wormald.
“Sarah has played pretty well and Mikaela is always good,” he said.
“She’s a good shot and I don’t think she realized how good she could be.
“But if Olivia hadn’t played we wouldn’t have won that game.
“She did everything you would expect from someone of this class.
“She led from the front, doesn’t come up with a lot of points – she had 12 but would have had 15 or 16 rebounds – she denied everything and was a real leader on the court.”
Green also noted the performances of youngsters Ambah Beveridge, Ava Collins and Tenielle Human, all of whom contributed well to the win.
The Lakers sit second on the ladder going into the Christmas break, behind Millicent Magic, with a bit of daylight back to third-placed Warrnambool Mermaids, which Green said was an ideal spot.
However, he said there was still work to be done to end the season on a high note.
“To be ready at Christmas seven and two, you can’t ask for more,” Green said.
“But we have a double header in January, it’s going to be a tough weekend.
“We go to Horsham who beat us then Portland come over here same weekend.
“If we split that up and beat Terang and finish nine and three, I think we’ll be right.”
With a bye thrown in, the Lakers now have a break until Jan. 15, 2023 when they host Terang Tornados.