Original Article from the Geelong Advertiser HERE
Feature Photo: Jacqui Neill
NEW Geelong Supercat Shea Ili says his side needs to go to work on its defence after a sluggish start did the damage in a loss to Mt Gambier Pioneers.
The Melbourne United NBL champion made his debut in the 90-96 defeat, putting up 21 points, six rebounds and four assists despite only having one practice with the team.
Ili said his new side needed to clean up its defensive rotations before facing Bendigo Braves at home on Saturday.
“We need to come in on Monday and focus on our defence,” Ili said.
“We knew what we were supposed to do, but we just didn’t connect together. We’ll look at film, talk about what happened and go from there.”
Supercats mens coach Justin Schueller said his side needed to perform from the tip after a poor first term.
The Pioneers jumped out to an eight-point lead in the first five minutes of the game and took a 12 point lead into quarter-time.
Pioneer Tom Daly had 14 points in the first quarter on his way to 40 for the game, with Geelong unable to shut down the guard.
Schueller said the slow start left his team playing catch up.
“For me it was that first five minutes – we let them get ahead and we were just chasing our tails the rest of the way,” he said.
“(At the end of the game) we were a position to win, even playing as poorly as we did on Daly, I just felt that we were a step too slow in that first half.”
The result was better for the Supercats women, who dealt with a slow start of their own to claim a 80-75 win over the Pioneers.
Star Sara Blicavs was thrilled with the win, after her side turned around a 14-point deficit at quarter-time.
She finished with 23 points and 19 rebounds in the win.
“I’m rapt with the win, we definitely could have gone about it a bit differently,” Blicavs said.
“The fact we could still get a win with a team right there the whole time proves we can beat just about any team.”
Coach Matthew Paton chided the Supercats for being “too reactive” early but was glad his side could turn it around.
“We’ve had some really great starts and come away with a loss – Nunawading and Frankston were similar games where we weren’t able to get over the line,” said Paton.
“We compete with really strong teams – being able to get a win, that’s where the value of having some veterans in the game comes.”