Panthers in the black

By Jackson Russell

Wallan Panthers women improved their record to an even 7-6 with a 72-59 win over Coburg Giants on the road on Sunday.

The Panthers went wire-to-wire in the win, leading from midway through the first period right until the final buzzer.

A 23-15 first period and a 17-10 second period saw the Panthers take a 15 point lead into half-time.

Alex Darby dominated the first half, scoring 22 of her 28 points and forcing the Giants to alter their defensive scheme to stop her.

Coburg was able to bring the margin back to nine points but every time the Giants looked like coming back, the Panthers stopped their momentum.

Rebecca Romeo also chipped in with 13 points and seven rebounds.

The Panthers are now nervously waiting to see how Carly Simons backs up after rolling her ankle late in the game.

Wallan coach Warren Taylor said putting together back-to-back wins was huge for the teams confidence.

“To beat Coburg, who are also fighting for that fifth spot, made it a very important win,” he said.

“We had some offensive struggles but Alex Darby’s first half was something special, she had 22 in the first half. She really set us up with the way she went about it in the first half and was great from outside.”

Wallan’s men fell 80-70 to local rivals Craigieburn on Saturday night.

The Eagles were in control for much of the game, leading by as much as 16 points in the second period.

The Panthers were able to fight back in the second half, eventually taking their first lead of the game with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Wallan led again with 1:44 left before Craigieburn hit clutch free throws at the death to win the game at the line.

Wallan were better defensively, winning the rebound battle and forcing  more turnovers but we’re able to convert, shooting 31 per cent from the field and just 14 per cent from three-point range.

Wallan’s women host Collingwood on Saturday night, followed by the men facing Camberwell.