By Colin MacGillivray
SEYMOUR Blasters men’s coach Craig Hockley believes his side has scope for improvement despite a convincing win against competition newcomer Mansfield in round two of the Country Basketball League.
The Blasters defeated the Eagles 70-52 behind a stellar defensive effort to remain undefeated.
After leading by only three points at quarter time, the Blasters smothered Mansfield to allow only nine points in the second quarter, extending their lead at every break in the 18-point win.
Tyler Best led all scorers with 15 points while Jordan Hockley showed touch from the outside on his way to 13 and Keenan Gorski added 12.
Captain Robbie Sartori only scored four points, but received plaudits from his coach for a strong effort on the defensive end.
“They contributed offensively and the four of them all played really good defence,” Hockley said.
“Defensively we’re doing a really good job because of our willingness as a group to commit to it.
“Offensively we still had good patches and bad patches, and we’re struggling to get together.
“We understand that offensively we’re going to struggle a little bit at the moment while we get a couple of new guys in and get the mix right there and they start to gel together.”
Hockley said the Blasters would face a challenge in a double-header weekend in round three, playing the ladder-leading Benalla Breakers at home at 8pm on Saturday before travelling to take on the Wangaratta Warriors at 2pm on Sunday.
The Wallan Panthers bounced back from a round-one loss to Seymour with an 81-71 win against Wodonga Wolves at RB Robson Stadium on Sunday.
The Panthers were red hot in the first quarter, outscoring the Wolves 31-15 and withstanding all of Wodonga’s comeback attempts to win by 10 points.
For the second straight week it was Ryan Philippe leading the way with 23 points, while Cameron Creasey contributed a handy 20.
The Panthers also have a double-header this weekend, playing Mansfield at home at 7pm on Saturday before hitting the road to take on the Myrtleford Saints at 2pm on Sunday.
Wallan’s women are coming off the high of a come-from-behind two-point win against Wodonga, beating the Wolves 79-77 on Sunday.
Wallan trailed by nine points at half time, but turned things around through Carley Cranston and Kaitlyn Wakartschuk, who combined for 43 points and five three-pointers.
Down by 10 points with only six minutes left, the Panthers went on a run, taking the lead for the first time after a Cranston steal and layup.
The Wolves had a chance to tie the game, running an inbounds play underneath their basket with two seconds left, but a baseline jump shot bounced off the front of the rim, sealing Wallan’s victory.
The Panthers will face Myrtleford on the road at 12pm on Sunday, while Seymour’s women will return to action with a home game against Benalla at 6pm on Saturday at Seymour Sports and Aquatic Centre.