Echuca Pirates ladies’ coach Simon Eishold has seen the margins between his side and opponents get closer in recent weeks — and can see a future pay-off for the club as a result.
The Pirates lost 51-85 on Saturday night at home against Swan Hill’s Flyers.
The visitors suffered a high foul count but Echuca couldn’t convert enough of its free throw chances or sink enough two-pointers, with both teams managing just two three-pointers each.
Morgan Dingwall was far and away the best for the Pirates with 16 points, and she was also the only Pirate to make double figures whereas Swan Hill had four of a squad of nine score 11 or more individual points.
‘‘Certainly our effort is showing distinct improvement,’’ Eishold said.
‘‘There’s no question about that, or our ability to stay in games for longer.’’
The free throw dilemma was well accepted by the coach.
‘‘That’s a valid point and good interpretation (of the stats),’’ Eishold said.
‘‘It’s disappointing when you can’t nail those free shots but it’s not through lack of practice at training.’’
A combination of solid Swan Hill defending under the basket and attempts at scoring variety meant points looked hard to come by for the Pirates.
‘‘We were trying a couple of things to score but our efficiency hasn’t seen a return for effort, sadly,’’ Eishold said.
‘‘We suffered on the boards, not greatly but enough, and gave them free and easier shots in unforced errors and turnovers. (It was) maybe worth a 20-point advantage.’’
‘‘Our scoring’s been across the board across the season so far,’’ he added.
‘‘It was probably Morgan’s highest-scoring game for the season but we’ve probably relied on too few to score due to inexperience. I’m trying to encourage the girls that they’re as good as anyone and to have a go. Bec Kellett has grown in confidence at this level, evident from Saturday’s game. Kelly Gould played tall and short at the other end of the game.’’
Echuca’s men remain winless after six games while the women sit eighth of 10 teams with a 2-6 record.
The club has a bye this coming weekend before two more games ahead of the Christmas/New Year break.
Eishold said he’d continue to aim to get the best out of his playing group for the rest of the summer.
‘‘We have a set number of players on the roster and I understand that,’’ he added.
‘‘Playing CBL and committing to it isn’t for everybody given the travel and game times so the girls who are prepared to play are regularly training and trying their best. If I was to coach again next year and these girls were back then we’d be even better. Basketball’s a very difficult sport to just turn up and play (particularly) at CBL level with a domestic attitude.’’