By Jackson Russell
Wallan Panthers’ men started off 2020 the same way they finished 2019 – an 11th-straight win maintaining their perfect record.
The Panthers cruised to a 107-68 win over cellar-dwellers Wodonga Wolves at RB Robson Stadium on Saturday night.
A dominant 31-12 first quarter gave the Panthers a 19-point lead and set up the win.
Wodonga stemmed the bleeding in the second period, holding the deficit to 19 points at half-time after a 23-23 quarter.
Wallan put its foot back on the throttle in the second half, widening the margin to 27 points at three-quarter time after a 24-16 third period.
With the win already locked, the Panthers put the game away with a 29-17 fourth quarter for a 39-point win.
Nearly two-thirds (66 points) of the Panthers’ baskets came from inside the three-point line while they made 23 free throws.
Max Viitala dropped 37 points in the win, including a 14-point first quarter while Jaak Ponsford chipped in with 15 points.
The Panthers’ men are now four wins ahead of second-placed Myrtleford Saints, who have two games in hand, and will look to extend their lead when they face the Saints on the road on Sunday.
Unfortunately, the Panthers’ women weren’t able to get off to the same start, going down 76-58 to the still undefeated Wodonga Lady Wolves.
The loss is Wallan’s second for the season with the Panthers second on the ladder, two games behind Wodonga.
After a tight 21-19 first period, Wallan trailed by just two points.
The Panthers kicked it up a notch in the second quarter, outscoring the Wolves 17-8 to take a seven-point lead into half-time.
Wallan’s wheels fell off coming out of half-time as Wodonga put up a 28-5 third quarter to take a 16-point three-quarter time lead.
Wallan led by three points with 5:55 left in the third before Wodonga started its game-winning run.
The Panthers weren’t able to eat into the lead, with a 19-17 fourth quarter sealing their fate.
The Panthers’ women also travel to Myrtleford on Sunday to face the 4-5 Saints.