WE’VE WON! Lady Pi­rates break lengthy drought

The Riverine Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By An­drew John­ston

THE WILD seas are fi­nally calm.

The Pi­rate flag is fly­ing at the top of the mast.

A mis­er­able jour­ney has come to an end.

For the first time in close to two sea­sons, the Echuca Lady Pi­rates have bro­ken through to claim vic­tory in the CBL.

On an his­toric night for the Pi­rates bas­ket­ball club that saw Echuca come away with wins in both the men’s and women’s com­pe­ti­tions, this was fi­nally the Lady Pi­rates’ mo­ment.

The Shep­par­ton Lady Ga­tors threw ev­ery­thing they had at Echuca — both in­side and out­side of the rules — but could only watch on as the Pi­rates took the match by six points.

Lucy Hig­gins pro­duced a dom­i­nant show­ing, drop­ping six three-point­ers en route to her 27-point haul.

And fi­nally, the Lady Pi­rates had the win.

‘‘We al­ways felt like it was com­ing,’’ coach Si­mon Eish­old said.

‘‘The girls are al­ways work­ing hard to get bet­ter, their skills are con­stantly im­prov­ing and we knew they had this re­sult in them.

‘‘The only is­sue they were faced with was that they lacked con­fi­dence. This group has been play­ing to­gether for two or three years with­out re­sults, so as much as they have im­proved, there was an el­e­ment of not be­liev­ing it. So for them to fi­nally win, it makes a huge dif­fer­ence.’’

Eish­old held ex­tra praise for Hig­gins’ per­for­mance.

‘‘She caught fire dur­ing our game,’’ he said.

‘‘She showed in ju­nior Pi­rates her abil­ity, so hav­ing her in this team and now work­ing to our sys­tem, it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore she pro­duced at this level.’’

The win did come at a cost, with Meg Eish­old leav­ing the game with knee is­sues af­ter an in­ci­dent on the court.

The sever­ity of the in­jury is not known, though it is ex­pected she will miss a num­ber of games as a re­sult.

The Lady Pi­rates’ week­end wouldn’t end on the same re­sult, with the Pi­rates go­ing down by 12 to Myrtle­ford on Sun­day.

Eish­old ad­mit­ted the jour­ney was a chal­lenge.

‘‘Af­ter a phys­i­cal con­test on Satur­day night, to travel for three hours and come up against a side that didn’t play the day be­fore is a big chal­lenge.

‘‘It does have a ma­jor im­pact on the team’s en­ergy and in the end we just ran out of legs.

‘‘I think we might need to look at the sched­ule when a team plays twice in a week­end. It’s some­thing we have ben­e­fited from on oc­ca­sion, but I think the league should look at it in the fu­ture.’’

But the re­sult of Satur­day can­not be doubted.

It’s only the one vic­tory, but Echuca has their win, and bas­ket­ball in the twin towns is the best it has been in a long time.

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