Pirates punished by superior rivals

December 14, 2017

IT wasn’t the best of weekends for Echuca’s Pirates, with both teams on the end of major losses.

The senior Pirates had a major loss to the Shepparton Gators, going down 54-108.

The Pirates were blown off the water in the opening five minutes, conceding four unanswered three pointers and falling to 0-14 before opening their account with a three of their own.

The team were able to sink a number of threes, but were never in the hunt.

Echuca were unable to break this form in the early going of the next day’s game against Wodonga either.

The Pirates were only able to score six points in the opening quarter and conceded 31, leaving a daunting 25-point deficit to come back from.

‘‘Shepparton are really in another league to us,’’ coach Leo Tenace said.

‘‘But the start to the game we had on Sunday is not what we want. They could easily have been 40 points up on us in that game.’’

Tenace said, however, that he was incredibly happy with the team’s performance in the rest of the game.

‘‘We outscored them for the remainder of the game. It was too far gone after that quarter to be able to get the win, but after the lapse at the start, they were far better and I think that’s something to be really pleased about.’’

The slow starts were also a problem for the lady Pirates.

After holding a lead in the opening minutes, the Pirates allowed Shepparton back into the game, falling to a 16-point deficit in the second.

After weeks of foul issues, the Pirates were able to get control of this issue, forcing contact and going to the foul line consistently throughout the second and third quarters.

Unfortunately, the Pirates were unable to capitalise on the chances at the line.

‘‘We missed 10 free throws,’’ coach Simon Eishold said.

‘‘We make those free throws, suddenly we are 10 points closer and who knows where we go after that. Mentally that’s such a big boost.’’

The Pirates made a major charge in the third quarter — scoring quickly, minimising the Gators’ ability to score and pulling to within 11 points before foul issues halted their momentum, the side ultimately going down by 21 points.

The following game against Wodonga was more problematic, with the Pirates falling by 41 points.

‘‘The simple fact is that we are not physically and at times mentally strong enough to follow these games up,’’ Eishold said. ‘‘It’s a long road to Shepparton, then to come back to Echuca when you’re getting home at a late hour, to follow that up with a trip to Wodonga at eight the next morning is tough on young players. We will get to that stage in coming seasons, but right now that’s just too tough of an ask for the girls.

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