Back in business

1: Smithton’s returning 150-gamer Ty Stewart finds space to take a shot during the opening NWBU fixture against Somerset on Saturday. 2: New import Ashlee Trebilcock worked hard across the court in her first game for the Saints. Pictures: Jodie Saville.

NWBU. A milestone man and a winning performance from the Tall Timbers Smithton Saints’ women highlighted an action-packed opening round of the 2015 NWBU season.

Hosting Somerset in the club’s first series of tip-offs on Saturday, the Saints begun the night with a promising 13-point win to the women (73-60) while the men suffered a comprehensive 44-point loss (60-104) in the late game.

With a number of new players taking to the court and a new coach on the sidelines, Smithton’s women combined well in the early stages, matching the Heat point-by-point to remain almost level at the end of the first quarter and equal in the second.

In consistently peppering the basket with shots and remaining steady in defense, the home side were able to decisively pull away in the third, breaking to a 12-point lead and maintaining the margin in the fourth to earn a hard-fought win.

While returning players Tyla Free (16 points) and Gemma Korpershoek (13) contributed to the final score, the addition of Sarah Jaeger (15), Georgia Roberts (12) and Taylah Bourke into the side also proved pivotal.

Despite losing track of her foul count and being omitted after 27 minutes, import Ashlee Trebilcock was quick to make her presence felt across the court in her first game, cutting out a number of passes and earning a team-high four steals.

In the men’s game that followed, returning Saints player Ty Stewart was welcomed back into the league to mark 150 games for his boyhood club, while Zaniel Clark and import Fred Hunter made their debut appearances at senior level.

A narrow two-point lead for just over a minute in the first quarter was the closest the home side would get to their opposition, with Somerset’s fast movement and height overwhelming the Saints and the margin gradually increasing at each break.

Hunter (21, 12 rebounds) and Stewart (10) top-scored for Smithton, with duo Joel Quilliam and Steve Poulter expected to be back in the country this week and available for selection soon after.

The Saints will now take on Wynyard this Friday night away from home in round two.

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