Shepparton Gators suffered a heart-breaking 61-58 overtime defeat on Saturday night to Country Basketball League north-east pacesetter Wangaratta.MARC MCGOWAN November 13, 2012 4:20am
Simon O’Keefe scored 11 points in Shepparton Gators’ 61-58 overtime away defeat to Wangaratta on Saturday night.
Shepparton Gators suffered a heart-breaking 61-58 overtime defeat on Saturday night to Country Basketball League north-east pacesetter Wangaratta.
There was little between the sides for much of the night, but the Warriors led by one, four and four points at the first three breaks until the Gators surged back.
Shepparton co-coach Jack Threlfall became the central figure.
He went to the free-throw line with just eight seconds on the game clock in the fourth quarter and the Gators trailing by one point.
Threlfall sank his first shot to level the contest at 52, but his second attempt hit the back of the rim to spark a frantic bid from both teams to grab the rebound.
Wangaratta emerged with the ball, but with only enough time to launch an unsuccessful half-court buzzer-beater.
Threlfall then rolled his left ankle on the opening play of overtime and left the court for treatment.
He returned with just two minutes left and Shepparton down by what eventually proved an unassailable six points.
‘‘We didn’t play very well at all,’’ Threlfall said.
‘‘They just made their shots and we didn’t .
‘‘It’s not like one player was jacking up too many shots. They were good looks; we just weren’t making them.’’
John Woodcock top-scored for the Gators for the second time in as many games this season with 18 and was part of a three-man rotating defence with brother David and Jamie Emanuelli on Warriors giant Daniel Suter.
Suter had a season-high 15 points to lead three Wangaratta players, including Zack Leitch (12) and Julian Campagna (10), in double-digits.
Simon O’Keefe and Matt Waight chimed in with 11 and 10 points, respectively, for Shepparton.
Threlfall said there was tension in the clash once the Warriors’ American guard Kenny Brunner picked up a pair of early technical fouls.
The sides combined to commit almost 60 fouls for the match.
‘‘There is always heaps to work on. We’re playing pretty poor and we’re still in games, which is good, but we’ve, obviously, got to improve,’’ Threlfall said.
‘‘We can’t be happy just to be in games and playing s***. We’ve got to start playing better.’’
Threlfall predicted Wangaratta would play finals this season, but said he was confident the Gators, who missed co-coach Shannon Ralph, Ben Cox and Callum Walsh, had its measure with a full side available.
Shepparton hosts winless Deniliquin at Shepparton Sports Stadium on Sunday at 2
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