By Jackson Russell
Wallan Panthers had a clean sweep weekend with both men’s and women’s team scoring big wins at home.
The Panthers men’s 83-73 win over ladder-leaders Camberwell Dragons cemented their place in the Big V division three finals’ race.
Wallan coach Carey Paps said it was a huge win against the top team.
“They were on top coming in so it was a huge win for us. It gives us breathing room from the teams below us fighting for the six,” he said.
Wallan was able to get out to a seven-point lead early in the second period before an 8-0 Dragons run flipped the script as the Dragons held a slender one-point lead at half-time.
The Panthers opened the second half with a 13-0 run to lead by as much as 10 before Camberwell reeled them back in to a five-point lead through three periods.
Paps said the third quarter run came from a greater team effort than the first half.
“We just played more as a team. We spoke about it at half time and the thing was we had five guys in double figures and no one over 20 and still got the win,” he said.
“I don’t think the team effort was there in the first half then we regrouped at half time and played better basketball.”
The two sides traded buckets before Wallan went on a 12-0 run to take a 16-point lead late in the fourth, which was good enough to seal the win.
Leigh Saffin led the Panthers with 17 points and nine rebounds while Trace Cureton had a 15 point, 12 rebound double-double.
“Trace was good, Leo Viitala was good coming off the bench and Peter Leckie and Brent Radoslovic did their jobs off the bench so it was a good team effort and it was good to have Hayden Annett back and playing well,” Paps said.
The Panthers’ women opened the night with a 71-60 win over Collingwood All Stars.
After a neck-and-neck first half with 14 lead changes, the Panthers led by just one point at half-time.
Collingwood came out of the locker room firing, going on a 11-2 run to open the third period. Wallan hit back with a 15-4 run to lead by two points at three-quarter time.
A 10-0 run to start the fourth gave the Panthers some breathing room and they were able to keep any attempted comeback at bay for the win.
Gemma Jackson led the Panthers with 21 points, eight rebounds and three assists while Rebecca Romeo was dominant inside with a 15 points, 18 rebounds double-double.
The Panthers improved their record to 8-6 with the win and are just half a game behind in third behind Blackburn Vikings.
The Panthers Youth League men also posted their first win over the season, beating Coburg Giants 74-71 on the road.