WALLAN Panthers men’s coach Tim Annett believes there are positives for his side despite back-to-back home losses to open the Big V men’s division two season at the weekend.
The Panthers went down by the same score, 61-67, to both the Altona Gators and Sherbrooke Suns in games on Saturday and Sunday.
Playing without injured captain Jordan Hockley, the Panthers started well against the Gators on Saturday night, building a nine-point lead by half time before their offence stalled in the second half.
American import Arcaim Lallemand did what he was recruited to do and provided a tough, physical presence, recording a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while guard Abraham Solano scored 16 and dished five assists on a night when the Panthers struggled to find a shooting rhythm.
In Sunday’s game against Sherbrooke, the Panthers trailed by 10 points at the long break but fought back in the third quarter, drawing within three points before being overcome in the final term.
Lallemand and Solano again led the way for Wallan, scoring 17 points apiece, while forward Tyler Best matched Lallemand’s total with 15 rebounds.
Annett said the side was disappointed to lose its opening two games but could rebound quickly in coming weeks.
“It was definitely not an ideal start at all, but you’ve got to take the positives out of it, and we only lost both games by six points and we were in them right to the end,” he said.
“A real positive is that we shot the ball really poorly in both games, which we hadn’t done all pre-season, so I can see it turning around pretty quickly.”
Annett said he was pleased his team managed to hold both opponents below 70 points.
“We’re hopefully going to be a team that scores more than 70 points each game and we couldn’t quite get there, so I’m confident in the next few weeks we’ll get some wins on the board,” he said.
There was good news for Wallan’s youth league division two women, who beat Blackburn convincingly 87-42, behind Ruby Pantisano’s 29 points.
There was little joy for Wallan’s youth league division two men, who lost 62-83 against Southern Peninsula on Saturday and 72-86 against Albury-Wodonga on Sunday.
In round two Wallan’s senior men will play away against Surf Coast at 7pm on Saturday, with the senior women to get their season underway on the road against Gippsland United at 6pm.
The youth league men will host Pakenham at 3pm on Sunday, with the youth league women playing at Melton at 6pm on Saturday, before returning home for a game against Mornington at 1pm on Sunday.