As Hobart Lady Chargers coach Mark Nash reflected - his side had every excuse to lose their season-opener against Sandringham Sabres on Friday night.
Going into the match the Chargers had seven players out, just six regular players able to play and one of those was forward Kylie McCauley who is 25 weeks pregnant.
Maybe McCauley counted as two players.
Either way it was hard to find anyone who tipped last year’s south conference champions to win, especially since the Sabres have a gun import in Brittany Smart plus WNBL and Opals star Alice Kunek in their line-up.
But the magic from last year’s finals run is still in those Chargers singlets and, cheered on in the final term by a 1000-strong home crowd, a fatigued Chargers held a six-point lead.
Then came a couple of tired errors which let the Sabres cut to within a point with just seconds to go.
But just as they did all night, import Kathleen Scheer (28 points, 15 rebounds) and McCauley (10 points, 17 rebounds) stood tall making vital foul shots as the Chargers secured a 76-73 win.
Nash said there wasn’t the crazed celebration that should follow such a win.
“They were too stuffed,” Nash said.
“The girls worked so hard and they thought it was one of the best wins we have had as a club.
“They all enjoyed getting round our supporters, we had close to 1000 there for the second half - last season the supporters really got behind our women’s program and in the last couple of minutes it was the loudest we have heard the stadium.
“To get that support is massive for us.”
Scheer, an accomplished WNBL and SEABL import, led the statistical lines while point guard Eliza Chilcott added 20 points and three assists but rolled her ankle late in the game hobbling out the final minutes.
The starters and newly re-signed reserve Gabby Mann were the only Chargers to take the court with the teenage bench players suiting up as a precaution.
Sadly Chilcott will miss this week’s trip to Geelong due to her ankle injury although Nash said the Chargers will have their second import, Amy Kame, for this game.
“Amy played guard in college but will play some forward for us just because of our player shortages, with her athleticism she can play anywhere from point guard to power forward in this team,” Nash said.
The Chargers’ were missing star Alex Finlayson who ruptured her achilles in the pre-season and Victorian recruit Mikaela Dickson who tore her ACL, also during pre-season.
With Kame still to arrive, the Chargers were also without Tasmanian under-18 players Ellie Collins, Lauren Mills-Norton, Taylor Mole and Georgie Fagan who are playing for their state at the under-18 nationals in Ballarat this week.
Nash said his under-18 players would still be out for this coming week but all would play minutes this season.
As for McCauley, Nash said she remained a week by week proposition with the mother-to-be keen to play on until she is further down the road.
“I’m still wowed by Kylie’s performance, I can’t believe she is still competing at this level,” Nash said.
“She will drop out of the team at some point but we are just taking it week by week.”
With so many players out, taking it week by week is all the Chargers can do.
*Launceston Tornadoes had winners all over the court in their victory over Sandringham with Alex Wilson scoring 28 points and adding six boards and two steals while imports Mikaela Ruef (17 points, 17 boards) and Emilee Harmon (26 points, seven rebounds, seven assists) dominated both ends.
*Bendigo Lady Braves’ WNBL triple-headed backcourt of Tessa Lavey (22 points), Kerryn Harrington (21 points) and Kelly Wilson (15 points, 10 assists) showed they can score in combination powering the Lady Braves’ 83-51 win over Ballarat on Friday night.
*Geelong Supercats point guard Cortney Williamson flirted with a triple-double in her side’s close win over Ballarat on Saturday night with 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
*Sandringham Sabres’ import Brittany Smart is reportedly a top-end star and her 26 points and 14 rebounds against Hobart added to those reports.
*Hobart Lady Chargers’ import Kathleen Scheer stood tall with 28 points and 15 rebounds while playing the full 40 minutes on Friday night.
*Dandenong centre Jacinta Kennedy was again a tower of strength for the Rangers with 25 points, 10 rebounds in 36 minutes on Saturday night.
SEABL media links
Want more info on the women’s competition? Here’s a handy guide…
*Leader newspapers’ Megan Hustwaite (@MeganHustwaite) reports Nunawading Spectres women are champing at the bit to start their season this weekend. Story: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/sport/nunawading-sets-itself-for-the-new-south-east-australian-basketball-league-season/story-fnglemo4-1227297330277
*Launceston’s Examiner newspaper put up this great picture gallery of the Tornadoes’ win over Sandringham. Gallery: http://www.examiner.com.au/story/3005253/torns-v-sandringham-photos/?cs=96
*Dandenong Journal’s Jarrod Potter (@JarrodPotter) reports on the Rangers’ taking a men-women double over Kilsyth. Story: http://dandenong.starcommunity.com.au/journal/2015-04-13/double-ranger-danger/
*Ballarat Courier’s Melanie Whelan (@Melanie_Whelan) reports Ballarat Rush didn’t meet expectations in round one. Story: http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3004479/rush-fail-to-deliver-on-hype-in-season-opener/?cs=63
*The Courier also filed a cracking gallery of SEABL pictures, check their site for a national under-18 championships gallery as well. Gallery: http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3007205/basketball-miners-and-rush-season-openers-in-pictures/?cs=63#slide=48
*Bendigo Advertiser’s Nathan Dole reports Bendigo Lady Braves coach Jonathan Goodman very happy with his side’s big win. Story: http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/3003957/lady-braves-start-season-in-hot-form/?cs=81
*New Hobart import Amy Kame’s college profile. Link: http://www.usdtoreros.com/sports/w-baskbl/mtt/amy_kame_677005.html
- Roy Ward (@rpjward) is a freelance sports writer who has covered the NBA, NBL, WNBL, SEABL and Big V during his career. He will be filing weekly columns on the SEABL men’s and women’s competitions this season. For feedback or suggestions send Roy a tweet or email him at email@example.com