Keilor Thunder fails to live up to expectations

Keilor Thunder veteran Michelle Reid has announced her retirement. Picture Shawn Smits

A number of variables contributed to Keilor Thunder missing Big V basketball women’s division 1 finals.

But for the Thunder, season 2016 will ultimately be remembered as one in which the results were not commensurate to the talent on the roster.

Thunder coach Carey Paps concedes his team’s 6-14 record does not make for good reading, particularly when his team showed flashes of what it could produce against the best sides in the competition, albeit not with enough regularity.

“It’s been a disappointing year,” Paps told

Star Weekly. “With the personnel we had, I thought we could’ve done better this year.

“It’s a bit disappointing to finish early.”

The damning statistic for Keilor was points conceded. The Thunder conceded on average 76.85 points a game – a huge amount in 40-minute games for a team with designs on playing in the finals.

“Our defence let us down,” Paps said. “We put up a couple of big scores and couldn’t get a win. Against Mildura, we scored 92 points and we still lost.”

Keilor showed enough to suggest it can be the big improver next season.

In the final game of the season – against Sunbury, the 20-0 team that is white hot favourite for the title – the Thunder was competitive for three quarters.

“Except for that third quarter, we matched them all the way,” Paps said.

It was an emotional day for Keilor.

Two of its veterans, captain Nala Tubb and Michelle Reid, retired, with Amy Mitchener likely to follow.

“Both Nala and Shelly [Michelle] have played together since they were about seven years old through the Keilor ranks,” Paps said.

“Nala was our captain for the past couple of seasons and she provided good leadership.”

Jessica Scanell is favourite to win Keilor’s most valuable player award. She averaged 16.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

Others to challenge will include Jayne Maree-Sant, who averaged 9.8 points and 5.8 rebounds, but whose profound impact was sometimes not reflected in the stats, and Mitchener.

Paps wants to return to coach Keilor in 2017.

“I’d like to come back, but every year they advertise it and see what direction they want to take, so we’ll see how we go.”