Basketballers bounce back to form in first home game of the season.By Chalpat Sonti
It was a bittersweet victory for the Seymour Blasters in its first home game of the season on Saturday night.
The sweet part was bouncing back from the loss at Wodonga to down Maryborough 84-65. It was a game the Blasters always seemed to have in control despite the Blazers Matt Johnston almost singlehandedly staging a revival.
Marc Sartori and Zac Pell create a Maryborough sandwich.
Seymour set the win up with a 30-17 first quarter but never really got away from Maryborough after that, with the margin getting down to 10 points early in the final quarter before the Blasters finished the better.
But the bad news was yet another injury, as Leigh Hockley left the game with an ankle injury. Combined with injuries earlier in the week to Christian Brock (hamstring) and Brett O’Donnell (groin) it looks like Seymour will be without three experienced players until after Christmas.
Robbie Sartori brings the ball up court.
Hockley was one of the Blasters’ best until he was injured, along with Robbie Sartori (24 points) but the likes of Jordan Hockley and Leo Viitala also chimed in with double-figure totals.
‘‘Those younger guys had to step up after Leigh hurt himself and Leo (14 points) and Jordan (17 points) did,’’ coach Craig Hockley said.
‘‘Zac Pell too, he stepped up after Nathan (Gorman) got into foul trouble. There was some really positive stuff there, our shooting was a lot better.’’
Fielding a side might be interesting with the Blasters’ next game at Deniliquin on Sunday. Aside from the injuries, the younger players will be unavailable due to a training camp.
Tess Feery was again superb, with Nikki McDonald not far behind, as Seymour overcame a slow start.
After surprisingly trailing by three at both quarter time and the long break, the Blasters outscored Maryborough 40-13 in the second half.
Morgan Zotti lines up a free throw.
A feature was the long-awaited return to the court of netball star Kathryn Hard — the former rep basketballer reckoned it was about 10 years since she last played — and she impressed Hockley.
‘‘She was really good, she knows where to go,’’ he said.
‘‘Tess is another level above most of the players in this competition and that showed again. She kept us in the game in the first half and after half-time we really gelled well together.’’
Feery scored 21 points and Hard 11 while there were solid contributions by all who had sufficient court time.
The side will face Echuca at home on Saturday night, keen to avenge a narrow defeat in the opening round, before travelling to Deniliquin on Sunday.
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