At the conclusion of the 2015 season, we look back on how the teams from Launceston fared.
Wins – 14
Losses – 8
Standing – 4th South Conference
Post-Season Results – lost to Kilsyth (PF)
2013 result – 6 wins 18 losses, 5th South Conference
Making the playoffs for the first time since 2010 was a major achievement by coach Reece Potter and his side while beating Hobart in the Semi-Final was an even bigger accomplishment. Alex Wilson was highly efficient at the offensive end, averaging 17.9 points while scoring 20+ eight times and Lauren Mansfield has developed into one of the best point guards in the league, collecting 17.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. The Tornadoes finished with a 6-2 record against fellow South Conference finalists.
They will rue a poor finish to the regular season that saw them lose three of their final five games as they could have finished second in the South Conference and earned a double-chance in the playoffs. A 27-point loss to Bendigo in Round 14 hurt their chances as they fell behind in the head-to-head battle but a loss to Frankston in the final round was the nail in the coffin.
Leading the league in both offensive and defensive rebounds, Mikaela Ruef was completely dominant on the glass all season, finishing with an average of 16.1 points and 15 boards. She would have recorded a double-double with offensive rebounds alone on three occasions while she tallied three 20+ rebound games. Winning Defensive Player of the Year, Ruef was an overarching presence in the paint and turned in her best performances at the clutch end of the season, averaging an incredible 18.8 boards in her final five games.
Launceston’s goal must be to repeat the effort of reaching the playoffs and putting in a consistent performance in 2016. Their front-court matches it with the best so retaining Emilee Harmon, Ruef and Wilson is paramount to their success but a solid back-up for Mansfield will help their transition play and maintain the on-court pressure when their start point guard has to rest.
The Tornadoes have more than their fair share of young point guards rising up the ranks including Ali Partridge and Sami Phillips but Mariah Payne showed this year that she can be the primary back-up to Mansfield. She reached double-figures in scoring three times while averaging less than ten minutes a game and if she can improve her assist ratio next season, Launceston should find that balance between the front and back court.