Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

A mixed weekend for Shepparton Gators

Shepparton Gators have lost top spot on the Big V division two ladder after a loss and a win at the weekend in what was a tough double-header.

DAMEN FRANCIS July 1, 2014 3:15am

JL Lewis takes a shot on his way to 21 points.


Shepparton Gators lost top spot on the Big V division two men’s basketball ladder, but took plenty of valuable lessons out of the weekend’s gruelling double-header.

The Gators were bullied off the court and the competition summit by a physically superior Casey Cavaliers side at Casey Indoor Leisure Centre on Saturday night, but bounced back with a 10-point win against Mornington Breakers at Shepparton Sports Stadium on Sunday.

‘‘You’ve got to be happy with a win after the type of loss we had on Saturday,’’ Gators coach Russell Parker said.

‘‘The game was pretty draining for the players and we didn’t get off the bus until 2am, so it was a good effort to get the result we wanted.’’

Parker took 12 players to Casey on Saturday night, but only eight took to the floor due to the physical nature of the contest.

Captain Matt Bartlett and centre JL Lewis played all 40 minutes, forward John Woodcock all but 10 seconds, guard Matt Waight all but 27 seconds and shooting guard Dylan Wayman nearly 34 minutes, as Parker relied heavily on his starting five.

The Gators stood strong in the opening stages and led by five points at half-time.

However, the scoring dried up after the main break, particularly from three-point range, where they managed just 1-8 in the final term, and went down 69-63.

Bartlett was uncharacteristically wayward from beyond the arc, hitting just four of 19 attempts and finishing with a season-low 11 points.

Lewis managed a 17-point and 15-rebound double-double, while Wayman had 14 points, Waight 12 and Woodcock nine.

The visitors had no answer to Matt Witherden, who dropped 25 points on 60 per cent shooting, including six treys.

‘‘They were too physical for us and we didn’t deal with them very well,’’ Parker said.

‘‘It was a conscious decision to leave guys on the bench. We didn’t feel we had the match-ups and Matt Bartlett got beaten up, so our guards weren’t going to be able to deal with that sort of physicality.

‘‘It was a good game in terms of the closeness and competitiveness, but in my opinion in was poorly refereed.

‘‘It went both ways, but it was contrary to how we’ve been told games would be refereed before the season and they adjusted better than we did.

‘‘Can we be more physical? I’m not sure, but we can definitely play smarter.’’

Things were brighter on Sunday, as the Gators exploded out of the blocks with a 35-point opening quarter.

The high scoring continued for both sides and the home side won the shootout 97-87.

Bartlett bounced back with 26 points, Lewis had 21 and Waight 17.

Parker was unhappy with the defending at the three-point line, with the Breakers hitting 13 treys, but was happy to score close to triple figures.

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