Tigers off to a flier

Michelle Fletcher (Jacob Pattison)363952_01

Harper Sercombe

Kyneton Tigers’ women’s team are off to a flying start in the Country Basketball League.

The Tigers are undefeated from the first two rounds of the season, kicking off the season with four wins.

Now, after playing back-to-back games over the first two weekends the Tigers are enjoying a well deserved break.

Tigers’ coach Ash Clark said he was delighted with the way his side has started the season.

“I suppose you hope for that sort of start but you don’t really expect it,” Clark said.

“I believe it’s based around the girl’s defence, they’re just locked in on a defensive structure that’s really hard to beat.”

The defence Clark speaks of was on full display against both the Macedon Ranges Rockies and the Maryborough Blazers, keeping them to 57 and 46 points respectively.

One player who has particularly caught the eye of Clark this season, is the Tigers star player Michelle Fletcher.

Fletcher took out last season’s CBL most valuable player award, and was a part of the all-star five. She has been a part of the Tigers program since its inception after she played more than 300 games in the South East Australia Basketball League and had her jersey retired by the Bendigo Braves.

“It’s probably funny to say, because Michelle’s the reigning MVP yet she’s taken her game to the next level,” Clark said.

“The starting five really are just leading it themselves and leading that side of things to the next level.”

It has not just been all defence for the Tigers this season with two of the league’s three most prolific scorers to this point, coming from the side.

Poppy Blanch and Alexandra Strawhorn have been fantastic, averaging 20 and 17.5 points a game respectively.

“Alex showed to me in the pre-season that she was ready to take her game to the next level and she’s showing that,” Clark said.

While it’s only been two rounds of the season, the workload has been big for the Tigers, with this weekend a good time to recover, Clark said.

“There were a couple of girls a bit sore,” he said.

“I think they were looking forward to the break, that’s for sure.

“It has been a bit full on for the start.”

The Tigers next game is against Mildura Heat on Sunday afternoon at the Kyneton Sports and Aquatic Centre.

The Heat only played two games from the first two rounds, winning and losing one.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Clark said.

“They’re the ones that knocked us out last year.

“They’re a quality young team that shoots the ball, and the girls will certainly have to be on the ball with it again.”

After last year’s heartbreak, and a strong start the Tigers are setting their targets high for the remainder of the season.

“Absolutely finals are the goal,” Clark said.

“Then we hopefully can take it one step further than last season.”