Cool hand Luke is red hot for Pi­rates It was nice to be able to hit a few threes. ’

The Riverine Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By An­drew John­ston

YOU CAN al­most taste fi­nals.

An­other win or two would lock it down.

The Echuca Se­nior Pi­rates are in the mid­dle of their best sea­son yet.

And they have com­pounded that with a win against one of the com­pe­ti­tion’s best.

On the back of the hot hand of Luke Rosendale, the Pi­rates torched Castle­maine by 31 points.

Rosendale dropped seven three­p­oint­ers in his 23 points on the night, as Castle­maine fell to third on the CBL lad­der.

For the Pi­rates, it was a ma­jor achieve­ment to beat a side that had pre­vi­ously beaten them by 28 points.

‘‘We took it a bit per­son­ally to get spanked ear­lier this sea­son,’’ Rosendale said.

‘‘So it had that ex­tra el­e­ment of get­ting the re­sult on our floor. It also shows that we are learn­ing and im­prov­ing, which is re­ally im­por­tant at this point in the sea­son.’’

Rosendale was only too happy to con­trib­ute to his team’s per­for­mance.

‘‘It was nice to be able to hit a few threes,’’ he said.

‘‘But we got there through a team ef­fort, we moved the ball well and were able to find the open spots on the court for each other to put up shots, and that’s what got us over the line.’’

Coach Leo Ten­nace said it was good to turn the fix­ture around.

‘‘To get a win against a side like Castle­maine, and to do it by a sim­i­lar score to what they did to us, it does mean a bit,’’ he said.

‘‘It shows that this team is con­tinu- ing to im­prove, we are get­ting even bet­ter, and these vic­to­ries mat­ter be­cause it re­minds you that you can beat any­one.

‘‘Our sys­tems are bet­ter, our pro­cesses are work­ing bet­ter and that is mak­ing us into a bet­ter side over­all, so that makes a huge dif­fer­ence.’’

Ten­nace also said that the Pi­rates’ home court ad­van­tage played a role.

‘‘I think it made us more com­fort­able, not be­ing on the road it al­lows you to pre­pare for the game a bit bet­ter, and now we are see­ing the re­sults.’’

Echuca now has four matches re­main­ing in the sea­son, and with two at home, it shouldn’t be hard to lock up a fi­nals berth.

‘‘It would be great for the team to get there,’’ CBA pres­i­dent Phil Candy said.

‘‘For one of our teams to play fi­nals would be huge for bas­ket­ball in Echuca, and that is now start­ing to look like a re­al­ity.’’

DAN­GER­OUS FROM DIS­TANCE: Luke Rosendale drained seven three-point­ers against Castle­maine.

GO­ING UP: Matt Kel­lett makes a jump shot.

LOOK­ING FOR OP­TIONS: Ri­ley Clarke pre­pares to in­bound the ball.

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