IT was a weekend of mixed results for Wallan Panthers’ Big V basketball teams, with the men’s and women’s division two teams losing on the road on Saturday before bounding back to win at home on Sunday.
The Panthers’ men faced a difficult task in a Saturday away game against Sherbrooke, a team that beat them by six points in round one.
The sides traded blows in a hard-fought defensive battle, with neither team amassing a lead of more than six points at any stage of the game.
The Suns’ Jonathan Fraser looked to have won the game for the home side with a layup late in the fourth quarter to put his team ahead 51-48, but a clutch three-pointer from Wallan’s Tyler Best with four seconds left forced the game into overtime.
This time it was Wallan that looked to have done enough to snatch a victory when guard Abraham Solano hit his third three-pointer of the night to give the visitors a 64-62 lead with six seconds left in overtime, but a Chris Kaba jump shot tied the scores again, forcing double overtime.
The Panthers continued to fight, but were outgunned in the second extra period to finish with a 72-77 loss. Solano, 22 points, Best, 14, and Peter Leckie, 14, were the team’s leading scorers.
The team responded positively on its return to RB Robson Stadium the next day, hosting another top-four team in Mornington.
The Breakers leapt out of the blocks to establish a 13-point lead at half time, but Solano and centre Arcaim Lallemand led a spirited comeback, Solano heating up from the perimeter and Lallemand working inside.
Lallemand finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds in a team-best performance while Solano had 19, Jackson Wynne finished with 12 and Lincoln Stewart contributed 10 off the bench in a 67-60 win.
The victory was enough to keep the Panthers within touching distance of the top four at 5-5 with a healthy percentage.
The team faces another critical game against the 7-2 Pakenham Warriors on the road at 2pm on Sunday.
Mixed results for women’s team
The weekend played out similarly for Wallan’s women, who lost a heartbreaker to the Blackburn Vikings on Saturday night before bouncing back with a home win against Collingwood on Sunday.
Wallan played well early and found itself with an 11-point half-time lead against Blackburn, courtesy of a strong team defensive effort and a balanced scoring spread.
But in the second half the game opened up, and the Panthers were unable to keep pace with the Vikings’ scoring prowess.
Trailing by three points with 13 seconds left, Olivia Dalmau’s three-point attempt missed, and an Amber Ross tip-in was only enough to reduce the final margin to a 75-76 loss.
Kaitlyn Wakartschuk’s 19 points led the team in scoring, while all of Wallan’s other starters including Jacinta Scott, 14 points, Sarah Scott, 12, Ross, 12, and Dalmau, 10, reached double figures.
There were no defensive lapses when the Panthers established another half-time lead at home against Collingwood on Sunday, the team keeping its foot down in an impressive 97-52 win.
Ross, 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Jacinta Scott, 27 and 13, were the main drivers of the victory, but every Panther scored at least four points in a pleasing team performance.
The 3-4 Panthers face an important home game against Gippsland United at 8pm on Saturday as they seek to stay in touch with the top four.
The youth league division two women will also be at home this weekend from 6pm against Southern Peninsula, looking to atone for a 51-79 loss to Bellarine at the weekend.
The youth league division two men also lost to Bellarine, 65-93, and have a bye this round.