By Colin MacGillivray
WALLAN Basketball celebrated four Big V wins in the same round for the first time, with its senior and youth league men’s and women’s teams all winning at the weekend.
The division two men’s and women’s teams each coasted to victory against Wangaratta in road games at Benalla on Sunday.
Wallan’s senior women led wire to wire in a 68-49 win against Wangaratta, with coach Carey Papanicolaou lauding the group’s solid team play.
Alex Darby, 15 points, and Rebecca Romeo, 13, were the only Panthers to score in double digits, but eight of the team’s 11 players attempted at least eight field goals.
Papanicolaou said the balanced shot distribution was a good sign for his team.
“We started off well, then we had a bit of a slump in the second quarter and then went well again in the third quarter, which we maintained for the rest of the game,” he said.
“Especially in that third quarter, we just ran fast breaks on them, and the transition game got us going.
“That’s what we’re trying to do is be a running team where we can. It was good to see all the players do that in the second half. We definitely want to try to run because we’re pretty fit, so we want to try to use our fitness to our advantage.
“The players who got us going in the third quarter basically sat out for the fourth quarter and the others took over. There wasn’t any one standout, I thought it was a good spread and a good team effort. We didn’t have to rely on one person, which was pleasing.”
Wallan will play Altona on the road in a top-of-the-table clash on Sunday, and Papanicolaou said it would be a good measuring stick for his side.
“The top four teams have been winning games by 20-point margins, so it will be interesting to see where we are,” he said.
“To start the season 3-0, you couldn’t ask for a better start and we just have to keep at it.”
The men’s 96-68 victory was driven by league-leading scorer Sharif Black, who put together another dominant outing with 43 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Leigh Saffin was a solid foil for Black with 24 points on six-of-11 shooting from three-point range and helped control the defensive boards with 18 rebounds.
Dev Pretty finished with a workmanlike 10 points and eight rebounds, while Vito Carbone added nine points in his best performance of the young season.
The youth league women’s division two team celebrated its first ever victory against Melton on Saturday, coming from 12 points down at half time to win 76-65.
Abby and Olivia Dalmau were instrumental in the win, scoring 18 and 14 points respectively, with Abi Ross chipping in with 10 points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes of action.
The division two youth league men held on against a fast-finishing Western Port for an 82-74 win on Saturday.
Tyler Buckley led the team with 19 points and connected on all three of his three-point attempts, while Ryan Philippe filled the stat sheet with 14 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocks.
Wallan’s senior men will host Whittlesea Pacers at RB Robson Stadium at 8pm on Saturday night, with the youth league men playing a curtain raiser at 6pm. The youth league women will be at home on Sunday, hosting Wyndham at 1pm.