Pirates receive awards after great season

By Andrew Johnston

THE 2019/20 Country Basketball League season was the best for the Echuca Lady Pirates in years.

A semi-final appearance has lifter the Pirates’ belief of bigger and better things to come sky high.

Now two of the cornerstones of the campaign have been rewarded for their outstanding performances.

Zara Pearson has been named the CBL North West most valuable player after leading the competition in scoring, while both Pearson and Georgie Eishold were named in the All-Star Five.

It was a perfect return to the home-town team for both players.

Pearson said being named MVP was a great feeling after a break from the sport.

“For me it was a huge confidence boost,” she said.

“I haven't played basketball for about three years at this level since I came back from college.

“I started the season with a lot of nerves, so for our side to have a successful year was fantastic.

“To personally be given these awards is a great feeling, but I look at it more as a boost for next year as we look to get even better.”

Eishold, who joined Pearson in the All-star Five, said while she was proud to be selected, it was her team who had driven her success.

“It's a great honour,” she said.

“But I'm very lucky to have such a great side who are willing to do the hard work and want to be successful.

“Everyone puts in the effort which leads to great results, which has helped Zara and I have the individual success.”

Pirates coach Lisa Baker said she was incredibly proud of what Echuca basketball was able to achieve.

“When we were told two of our players were getting an award, we assumed All-star Five,” she said.

“But for Zara to take out MVP is huge for Echuca.

“We could not be prouder of what our players have achieved as individuals and what our team achieved as a group.

“Hopefully it's just the start. We all want a grand final appearance, and we will continue to build towards it.”

With a successful season behind them, attentions already turn to the new year.

“I'm not going to play netball this year,” Pearson said.

“I'm already looking at how I keep fit, spending a bit more time shooting around and focusing on the game.

“I just wanted to enjoy last year, I didn't do as much preparation, but this has motivated me.

“Now I start looking at any way I can to get better and to add more to our game.”