REVITALISED by the reunion of the Pearce sisters, Latrobe City Energy broke its Big V women’s first division drought against Whittlesea Pacers in Traralgon on Saturday night.
Danni Pearce returned to the lineup fresh from the under 18 national championships, but it was older sibling Jamilee who starred in the side’s first win in six matches. The eldest Pearce posted a game high 20 points, six rebounds, five steals and three blocks, shooting 57.1 per cent from the field.
She was ably supported by Carly Mullen-Bianconi who put up 17 points and nine boards in 30 minutes of game time. After wilting in the second half against Sunbury Jets last week, Energy maintained its lead throughout the match after a 27-15 second quarter set up a buffer of 13 points at half-time. The Latrobe City men extended their winning streak to four with a 83-69 win over the previously unbeaten Chelsea Gulls. The Gulls failed to hit the mark in the first quarter, hitting just four of 14 field goal attempts, allowing Energy to take a 22-15 lead at the break.
A 25-20 second quarter extended the home team’s lead at the main change to 12, and while Chelsea won the third quarter by four it could not haul in the deficit by the final siren. Energy coach Les Stothard said the side’s increased focus on defence had held them in good stead over the past month, and contributed to the victory.
“We shot the ball really well from the field, we executed well in the half court, we played hard, we played really good defence and… in the end we could have won by a bit more,” he said.
“To beat a team that hadn’t lost a game yet probably shows where we’re at and where we’re headed.”
Russell Permenter again led all scorers with 25, and completed a double double with a massive 21 rebounds.
Jordan Canovan was scorer and provider in an immense triple double effort with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists to continue his triumphant comeback to the club.
“Those two guys are very important for us and if they’re putting up those sorts of numbers we’d be pretty hard to beat no matter who we’re playing,” Stothard said.
“It’s good they’re getting those big numbers but we don’t rely on them to do that.”
A short sharp final quarter burst by backup guard Billy Hughes saw the dynamic small notch 10 points in 15 minutes of court time, providing the buffer Energy needed to regain control.
“Billy was huge on Saturday night… he hit his first three so I thought I’d leave him in a bit longer and next trip down the floor he hit another three and … probably really put the distance between them and ourselves,” Stothard said.
“He was huge in winning that game.”
The men will welcome Jack White back from the under 18 nationals this week. His return to the squad will mark the first time Stothard will have to make cuts for game day, adding competition for places. Energy has another home fixture on Saturday when both sides face Camberwell Dragons.
The club will be decked out in pink in support of breast cancer survivors and Breast Cancer Network Australia.