Home' Portland Observer : PO-20131202 Contents 14 PORTLAND OBSERVER Monday December 2 2013
EMAIL: email@example.com spec.com.au
Coasters setting the pace
THE Portland Coasters are not sitting comfortably on top of the South
West Women's Country Basketball League ladder after maintaining their
unbeaten run on the road over the weekend.
The Coasters faced the previously unbeaten Horsham Hornets on Saturday
afternoon before backing up to take on the Stawell Wildcats on Sunday,
handling both tasks comfortably.
The Coasters went into the matches without head coach Ellen Zeunert, with
local junior basketball academy coach Greg Morrissey picking up the reigns
for the weekend
The Hornets stung the Coasters early in the match on Saturday night, holding
a sluggish Portland team to just nine points for the opening term to scoot
away to an 18-9 lead at the frst break.
It was not a promising start for the visitors, however it proved a catalyst for a
rethink of the way they were playing, returning to the court with a great focus
on their defensive game, and the results followed.
The Coasters were stifing in their pressure in the second term, led by Steph
Pye, who clearly had put in some work on her defensive game since the
opening match, coming away with a number of defections and steals to limit
the home side to just 10 points for the quarter.
Complementing this was Portland also putting together the highest scoring
term for the game, knocking down 22 points to take a three-point lead into
It was a sizable turnaround from the young Coasters side and seemed to
inject the belief into the team that they could go on with the performance.
The third term was tighter than the second, with both sides working harder
to limit the other's scoring opportunities, which at times led to the game
becoming fairly physical.
The combination of some sharp outside work from Brooke Morrissey and
Courtney Preece and a strong inside game from Julie Caldow helped the
Coasters cling on to their lead, going into the fnal term with a four-point
The Hornets tried to lift in front of their home crowd but the energetic young
Portland side had the answers, winning the fnal term by two points to take
the match 64 to 58.
Caldow and Morrissey each had 14 points in the win, while Courtney Preece
had 10, Hannah Bunney eight and Pye six.
Sharon Fedke and Chloe Bibby each had 13 points for Horsham in the loss,
while Maddison Iredell had 11.
The second leg of the road trip saw Portland taking on the Stawell Wildcats
at Stawell and with a win over the highly touted Horsham side under their
belts the Coasters side was brimming with confdence.
Despite this it was Stawell who got away to the better start in the opening
quarter, with experienced campaigner Jessica Williamson leading the side
with some strong ball control.
Portland fought back late in the term and by quarter time trailed by two
points 20 to 22 in what looked headed for a high scoring shootout.
The Coasters soon put a stop to that notion, however, holding the Wildcats
to just two points for the second quarter in what was an outstanding
demonstration of shut down basketball.
Pye was again heavily involved in the action, while the return to the line
up of Kayla Pickert and Brooke Polaski ensured the Coasters constantly had
fresh legs on the court, helping to keep the Wildcats under pressure.
Pickert and Caldow troubled the Wildcats' defence in the second and by half
time the Coasters were out to an 11-point lead, 35 to 24.
When the Coasters again applied a choker hold on the Wildcats' offensive
game in the third the match was effectively decided, with the visiting side
extending their 20-point three-quarter-time advantage into a 34-point win in
the last, 73 to 39.
Portland had a real spread of scorers in the Sunday game, though Caldow was
again prominent in the frst half, with Pickert, Bunney and Brodie McKinna
also chipping in.
The two wins see Portland sitting comfortably on top of the ladder as the
only undefeated side in the competition.
The Coasters will play their frst home game of the season on December 14
when they take on Warrnambool at the Lighthouse at 6pm.
Training could make Coasters unbeatable
STAND in coach Greg Morrissey believes when the Portland
Coasters women's side starts to get some more regular training
patterns they could truly dominate the South West Country
His assessment comes off the back of guiding the side to back to
back wins on the road in Horsham and Stawell this weekend which
saw the side catapult to be clear leaders of the competition.
A veteran of the Portland basketball coaching landscape, Morrissey
has helped develop many of the players in the current women's team
through his role as Basketball Victoria Country Academy coach for
Portland in recent years and said on talent alone the current Portland
open women's team was a formidable combination.
"Over the whole weekend, it didn't matter who came on or off the
court, they were all of one standard, so you didn't lose anything,"
Morrissey said of the side's depth.
"The team is really evenly balanced.
"We have a few 14 and 15 year old girls who have all stepped up
for it and they seem like ready made players for this standard."
Morrissey said the side still needed to work on its starts to games,
allowing themselves to play catch up in both games over the
weekend, but said it was a great sign that the young team was able
to fght its way out of trouble each time.
He said the defence of the side was clearly its strong suit,
highlighting the work done by Steph Pye both in the game and in
training to improve her game.
"Steph Pye's defence was really good, she stuck her hands in there
and got a few steals.
"She has stepped right up in the last couple of weeks.
"Rebel (Coasters men's coach Rebel Noter) helped her out recently
with a bit of foot work and it has really made a difference.
"When we run the court our transitions really well, on our fast
breaks we are passing it around and it looks good.
"There is a bit of work to do in our offence, but our defence was
unbelievable, we played split line really well.
"We still have a bit of work to do in our offence, because we were
only having one pass and then shoot, players are trying to do a bit
"In the second half of Sunday's game they passed it around and it
looked and worked a lot better.
"I pushed to get two or three passes before they shot and as the girls
started to do this better opportunities opened up."
He said aside from the more experienced players such as team
captain Julie Caldow and Brooke Polaski the side was basically
teenagers and players in their very early 20s however the
fundamental skill levels and game knowledge of the team belied the
relatively limited experience of the side.
"There are eight or nine girls there who have come through the
Academy program, so they all know basketball and have good
"You have Julie and then maybe Brooke Polaski, and then your
next oldest is probably Courtney (Preece), who came through that
Morrissey said the one missing component at the moment
was training, with the team's late formation coupled with some
unavailabilities leading to very little time having been spent on the
training court together.
He said when this was addressed the offensive game would soon
catch up with the defence.
"They are not even really training I think, only a couple of them are
turning up, but I think they will start to get going soon.
"Just getting to training and working out a few things will really
"If they can get to training and start putting a few things together
no one will get near them."
PORTLAND'S Stephanie Pye gave both Horsham and Stawell some headaches with her tenacious defence over the
weekend, playing a big hand in the Coasters' two wins.
Picture: JOSH NASH 131026jn044
Links Archive PO-20131204 Navigation Previous Page Next Page