Shepparton Gators have scored triple figures in a strong away victory against Oakleigh Warriors.DAMEN FRANCIS June 17, 2014 3:10am
Shepparton Gators had a ton of reasons to smile at Glen Ira Sports and Aquatic Centre on Sunday.
The Big V division two frontrunner cracked triple figures for the first time this season in the 113-79 win against Oakleigh Warriors.
Captain Matt Bartlett had 26 points and import JL Lewis 25, but the visitors boasted a spread of scorers.
Forwards Ian Wright (13), John Woodcock (12) and guard Dylan Wayman (12) also reached double figures.
Bartlett stuffed the stat sheet with 11 rebounds, six assists and five steals, while Matt Waight doled out a season-high nine dimes.
At the other end of the court, only Andrew Kaban managed to get anything going, dropping a remarkable 29 points to half-time — the Warriors managed 38 in total to the main break — but finished with 35.
Ever the perfectionist, Gators coach Russell Parker was disappointed to give up 79 points.
‘‘We played offence pretty well, but a couple of times we were just lazy and didn’t concentrate,’’ Parker said.
‘‘We defended (Kaban) poorly in the first half, but we got the opportunity to see him and understand the way he played. We double-teamed him a bit more in the second half and once he got near the scoring area we made him hand off to other players.’’
While it was the Gators’ first game in two weeks, they wasted no time finding their feet, putting up 36 points in a blistering first quarter.
Oakleigh’s preferred form of attack to penetrate the paint and dish to their outside shooters earned it little joy, hitting just two of 18 attempts from beyond the arc in the first half.
The home side trailed 62-38 at half-time and was unable to stem the bleeding, as the Gators continued their hot form on offence to see out the game.
Shepparton dominated the boards 59-35 and were disciplined with the ball.
‘‘The evenness of our scoring and the way we moved the ball at times was pleasing,’’ Parker said.
‘‘We probably didn’t have to (attempt many three pointers). Sixteen is probably an appropriate amount in any game, we just need to shoot a better percentage.’’
Shannon Ralph scored six points in 14 minutes on his return to the court after six weeks out with a foot problem and Sam Beks, Tom Frame and Bellamey Sims got more valuable court time.
The Warriors are sixth on the ladder and the Gators remain a game and percentage clear on top, ahead of struggling rival North East Bushrangers’ visit to Shepparton Sports Stadium on Saturday night.
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Widespread rain late last week and on Saturday put a smile on the faces of farmers preparing to sow crops or waiting for weeds to emerge on early-sown rye-grass.
Emergency services are on scene of a two-car crash on the Midland Hwy, near Benalla. Two people have died. Traffic is being diverted.
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