THE addition of “double-double machine” Shanice Steenholdt has proved the “final piece of the puzzle” for Latrobe City Energy’s BigV division one women’s side.
The Energy scored its fourth consecutive victory at Traralgon on Saturday night, 68-62 over Western Port, led by United States import Steenholdt with 17 points and 20 rebounds.
After losing original import Jasmine Hunt to injury, Steenholdt has provided both an X-factor and balance to the side, which has brought the best out of the whole squad.
Coach Andrew Harlow said contributions were now coming from everywhere as players settled into their natural roles on the court.
“It’s been fantastic. We’re getting contributions right across the team – that’s exactly how we wanted to do it,” Harlow said.
“Early on without Shanice we couldn’t really get that because we had people playing different spots and a few different things.
“Now the team has settled we’re getting the results we really think we deserve.”
Since coming into the side Steenholdt has managed a double-double in all four appearances to date, averaging 21 points per game and 17 rebounds.
Harlow said her presence had been immense.
“She’s come in and really just delivered. She had an immediate impact on the team, exactly the way we wanted her to, and that’s been the great thing about it,” he said.
“It’s by no means an effort she’s put in by herself, it’s just getting everything on the same page and making sure everyone’s playing together and that’s really what’s led to our success.
“I think really what it is, we’ve put all the pieces of the puzzle together; Shanice has been the final piece.”
Energy led at every change after racing to a 20-8 quarter-time lead.
The Lady Steelers clawed the deficit back gradually, winning the second and third quarters narrowly, but the host held on for a six point win.
Warragul recruit Alysha Marcucci continued her superb form with 14 points and six rebounds, while mainstay Tanarly Hood also added 14 points.
Young talents Coco Henry (13 points) and Samantha Labros (six points) are also coming into their own in a system which is now operating at full capacity.
Despite the volume of offensive output, Harlow said the real magic was happening at the other end of the court.
“It’s the defensive end where things really happen and sometimes not everybody hits the scoreboard, but it’s all the effort they put in at the other end of the floor that really makes the difference,” Harlow said.
Fifth placed Energy will now face Mildura, which sits two rungs up on the ladder, this weekend.
“That’s going to be a really big, defining game for us to really see where we’re at,” Harlow said.
“We’re looking at top four, there’s no excuses as to why we can’t get there.”
The Energy men were humbled by Blackburn 68-89.