A season-ending injury to United States import Jasmine Hunt did not stop Latrobe City Energy from posting a first up division one women’s victory at Traralgon on Saturday night.
Hunt, who is headed home after suffering a meniscus injury, watched from the sidelines as Energy knocked off Hawthorn Magic 74-66 led by first gamer Alysha Marcucci who put up a game high 19 points.
Energy coach Andrew Harlow said the local girls stood tall in the absence of their star signing.
“Everybody played significant minutes… I was quite pleasantly surprised with how they performed because you never know in round one but they were really good,” Harlow said.
“The final score wasn’t really a close result; they hit a couple of threes right near the end so the margin could have been a bit bigger.”
Energy bounded out of the gate and built a commanding 27-19 lead by quarter-time.
Accuracy from the field waned in the second quarter but the home side made the most of their chances at the free throw line, hitting nine from 12, to lead 42-35 at the main change.
The second half went about even keel as Energy retained its advantage to win out comfortably.
Tanarly Hood was influential with 18 points, five rebounds and four steals, while the young guard of Casey Sherriff (6pts, 4rb, 4ast), Coco Henry (8pts, 5ast) and Samantha Labros (6pts, 2rb) made the most of significant court time.
Harlow said the loss of Hunt was a big blow but the club was already negotiating to sign a replacement.
“She was going to be good for us to, it was a shame, but she wasn’t going to be able to compete for the year with the way it was,” he said.
The women’s next assignment is against Mildura after Easter.
Teething issues emerged for Latrobe City Energy’s new-look division one men’s side in its 90-64 round one loss to Casey at home on Saturday night.
Energy shot just 27.5 per cent from the field as panic hindered the offensive game plan while playing from behind against last season’s conference champion.
Coach Jason Sutherland said while there were positives on the night the side strayed from the game plan too frequently.
“We were pretty competitive, we were minus four points in the paint, minus one on rebounds and in front on fast break points, it came down to them making shots,” Sutherland said.
“We were one from 21 from the three-point line and they were nine from 26 so there’s 24 points and we lost by 26.
“Because they made some shots early we kind of panicked and tried to get the score back quickly and by doing that took shots outside of our offence; because we didn’t run through our offence guys didn’t know where to go.
“We just need to trust our systems and trust each other a little bit more.”
Energy was within four points by the first break but Casey gradually increased the margin every quarter.
Both Energy imports, Jordan Coleman (30pts, 13rb) and Raheem Lemons (13pts, 14rb) made double doubles but somewhat struggled to adapt to the game.
Coleman shot well from the foul line with 16/20 but had no luck from three-point territory, hitting none from 13 attempts.
“I’ve shot with him a fair bit over the last four weeks he’s been here and I don’t think he’ll ever go 0/13 ever again,” Sutherland said.
Lemons fouled out in the fourth with a technical, when frustrations with his teammates boiled over, which saw him take an early spot on the bench.
Energy will return against Mildura at Traralgon after Easter.