Lady Pirates book finals berth

By Andrew Johnston

ECHUCA's Lady Pirates needed just one win on the weekend to claim a spot in the Country Basketball League's North West finals.

They only needed their first match to do it.

The Lady Pirates locked in third place on the ladder after a 25-point win against Swan Hill on Saturday night 71-46.

With Zara Pearson once again leading the way with 19-points, well supported by Greta Pearson's 14, the Pirates took the lead less than three minutes into the opening quarter, and did not once fall behind from there.

Lady Pirates coach Lisa Baker said she could not have been happier with Saturday night's outcome.

“We're very pleased with the outcome of Saturday night,” she said.

“It was an important game in terms of our season, and the girls gave one of their better displays for the year, so we were really impressed with the outcome.

“Swan Hill weren't at their best, their side was depleted a bit, but it was still always going to be a challenge. As a side we produced some really good basketball, and we got the result we deserved.”

The Pirates second game of the weekend saw a 16-point loss at the hands of ladder leaders Bendigo.

Zara Pearson again did the bulk of the scoring for her side, putting up another 18-points, while Erin Hill scored nine as the side lost 51-67.

Baker said both results were important for the team going forward.

“We gained a lot of confidence out of the result against Swan Hill,” she said.

“We also had a pretty good game with Bendigo. We were blown out a bit late, but we were able to keep them pretty close throughout the rest of the contest.

“Their three point shooting was the difference in the end, they were able to get those shots at key times, so being able to shut them down from behind the line is something we will work on.

“Our defense has been strong, but we would like to see a bit more improvement come finals time.”

Attentions will now turn to a semi-final showdown with the Maryborough Blazers in two weeks time.

The Pirates most recent game against the Blazers on December 14 saw Echuca get a five-point win at home, while the team also got the win at Maryborough by two-points on November 16.