Warrnambool Mermaids score first CBL win of 2019-20 season

IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Returning Warrnambool Mermaids player Nicole Gynes scored 20 points in her team's CBL win against Millicent Magic. Picture: Anthony Brady
IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Returning Warrnambool Mermaids player Nicole Gynes scored 20 points in her team's CBL win against Millicent Magic. Picture: Anthony Brady

WARRNAMBOOL Mermaids coach Katie O'Keefe says Saturday night's Country Basketball League win was like a walk down memory lane.

The experienced leader suited up alongside Louise Brown, Jess O'Connor, Renee Tuck, Jae Leddin, Nicole Gynes and Carly Peake as the Mermaids overcame Millicent Magic 92-79 at the Arc.

O'Keefe said it was a thrill to play with some of her long-time friends.

"At the start me, Jess and Carly were sitting watching our kids play domestic competition and we were all saying 'we should run around again together'," she said of how they built their 2019-20 roster.

"I put my name down to coach and that was ticked off and then we recruited Renee, Louise and Jae."

O'Keefe said the Mermaids' experience was crucial in their hard fought win against the Magic.

"We were all aged 35 and over at one stage on the court," she said.

"We're starting to wind down our careers and we're playing with the people we started with.

"Our brains are moving a bit quicker than our bodies but hopefully that will come."

WORDS OF WISDOM: Warrnambool Mermaids coach Katie O'Keefe gives her team some advice on Saturday night. Picture: Anthony Brady

WORDS OF WISDOM: Warrnambool Mermaids coach Katie O'Keefe gives her team some advice on Saturday night. Picture: Anthony Brady

Brown and Gynes led the way for the Mermaids, sinking 20 points each.

"Louie in the last quarter got us over the line," O'Keefe said.

"At three-quarter-time it was 63-62. It was one of the highest-scoring games I've been involved with so it shows how much defence was not played.

"In the last quarter Carly Peake and Juina Lual played a full-court press and their defence got turnover after turnover."

The Seahawks also scored their first win of the season, downing Millicent Magic 95-73.

LEADING THE WAY: Warrnambool Mermaids' Jae Leddin was among the side's experienced cohort on Saturday night. Picture: Anthony Brady

LEADING THE WAY: Warrnambool Mermaids' Jae Leddin was among the side's experienced cohort on Saturday night. Picture: Anthony Brady

Coach James Mitchell, who made his return from a serious knee injury, said he was pleased with his players' response after a slow start.

"Daniel Kingsley was really instrumental. It was nip and tuck and he came off the bench and scored 10 points and Liam Osborne hit a couple of big threes," he said.

Liam Killey (20 points) and Josh Dean (19) were effective scorers for the Seahawks.

Mitchell said he was happy to hit the court but conceded he was "very rusty".

"The first couple of possessions were pretty ugly but at the end of the game it almost felt like I was back into it," he said.

Terang Tornadoes also had a win, edging out Bellarine Storm 90-87.

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This story Warrnambool Mermaids get the band back together first appeared on The Standard.