The men's Pirates team finished their comeback season with a diffiuclt double-header last weekend.GEORDIE COWAN January 25, 2014 4:23am
The Echuca-Moama Pirates will finish the Country Basketball League season in seventh spot and will not play finals.
All three of the team’s victories came on its home court, against Wangaratta, Maryborough and Castlemaine.
The season ended on the weekend with tough games against finals-bound teams Seymour Blasters and Shepparton Gators.
After a close first term against Seymour, the team fell away and a disastrous third term saw the margin at 30 points.
However, the Pirates fought back to win the last quarter 22-15, with Shaun Atkins (14 points), Glenn Hopson (13) and Rick Roberts (12) the main scorers as the team lost 69-92.
The team played its last match of the season on Sunday and came close to pulling off a big win against Shepparton.
The Pirates trailed by just four points at the last break after good first and third terms, but the visitors pushed away to win by 10, 54-64.
Staci Richardson (12) with four three-pointers and Hopson (10) led the way for Echuca-Moama, but the team could not hold Gators player Matthew Waight, who scored 23 points in his best game of the season.
Pirates coach Chris Clyne said he was happy with how the team played against the Blasters despite the final score.
‘‘It was just a couple bursts either side of half-time that blew that game out,’’ he said.
‘‘Probably for 34 or 35 minutes we were actually very competitive with them.
‘‘It was therefore disappointing to lose by that much after being so close ... but it carried out on to the Shepp game.
‘‘There we had a very good chance of knocking off a top-four team, but we just couldn’t do it.’’
While the coach had been hoping for a couple more wins, the season was as much about re-establishing the team in the competition as winning.
‘‘Realistically it was about getting competitive and gaining interest in the season for the men’s basketball program and I hope we’ve achieved that,’’ Clyne said.
The Pirates had a mixture of players aged over 30 and then a ‘‘good group’’ of guys in the 17 to 21 age group, he said.
‘‘Hopefully we can keep the bulk of the squad together,’’ Clyne said.
‘‘We will have a new crop of kids finish under 18s and hopefully we can get them to come here.’’
Rick Roberts and Anthony Matthews were the only two players to be involved in all 14 games and the coach paid tribute to their impact on and off the court.
‘‘It is a fantastic effort from our oldest player Anthony to have played all the games,’’ Clyne said.
‘‘He has been battling a few injuries ... but he is a handy player and his knowledge of basketball is very sound.’’
Clyne was also pleased with the development of 17-year-old Shaun Atkins, who averaged more than 15 points a game.
‘‘I was very impressed with how he went about it in what I think is his first full season of senior basketball,’’ he said.
‘‘It was a steep learning curve, but he has adapted well and I think he will be a very handy player wherever he goes.’’
■ The Lady Pirates lost their last match on Sunday but will play in a semi-final away against the Wodonga Lady Wolves next weekend.
The Lady Pirates lost to the Shepparton Gators 48-69 and finished fourth on the ladder.
With only seven players getting on the court, the Pirates lacked a little depth compared to the Gators but still competed well in the first and second quarters, falling four points behind during each term.
Unfortunately after trailing 32-40 at half-time, Shepparton pushed away in the third quarter to score 17-6 and finalise the win.
The Lady Pirates again locked down the visitors in the final term, but were still outscored 10-12.
Maddie Couroupis and Emilly Atkinson were the team’s top scorers with 12 points each, while Greta Pearson (8), Tess Ringin (7) and Georgie Eishold (6) also contributed to the scoring.
Shepparton had five players reach double figure scores.
■ A preview of the Lady Pirates semi-final will be in next Friday’s Riverine Herald.
The sky is the limit for Wanganui Year 12 VCAL student Leigh Polan, 18, who decided to create two posters examining birdlife around the school.
The under 16 Pigeons kick started the YFNC's finals campaign with a resounding victory over the Paul Spargo led Scots College in the Grand Final of the AWJFL Elwyn Langford Shield at the Albury Sports Ground on Sunday.
Greater Shepparton City Council was successful in securing the National Cutting Horse Association Victorian Futurity Cutting Horse Championships for 2014 and 2015, with this year’s event scheduled from September 10-14 at Tatura Park.
An ad for the Healthy Ageing Project will be filmed in Echuca, Rushworth and Rochester today.
More than $15,000 was raised at a family day on Sunday. The event was to raise money for the families of Barry Purtell and Dave Lobb.
Book Week gets colourful turnout.
Deaprtment of Environment and Primary Industries unhappy about Mt Disappointment vandals.
Jerilderie Shire deputy mayor Ruth McRae handed the key over for the new Rural Fire Service station last Friday.
Farmers have a new weapon in the fight against mice.
Cobram kids learn about health with hospital as state-wide obesity campaign is launched.
Murray Irrigation to search for new boss after Anthony Couroupis finishes with the company.
A few anxious customers were outside the closed gates of the failed Bee-Jay Machinery business on Goulburn Valley Hwy in Shepparton on Tuesday morning, wondering what would become of deposits they had paid for tractors and other machinery.
The Benalla Indian Myna Action Group will pay a $1 per bird bounty on live birds delivered to CAL farm. National Party MP Bill Sykes donated $100 to fund the bounty.
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