Wallan Panthers’ men have a chance to entrench themselves in the top six of Big V division two with a double-header against middle-of-the-pack teams Mildura and Craigieburn this weekend.

The Panthers are coming off an away win against Melbourne club Maccabi and sit in fifth place with eight wins and six losses.

Wallan coach Tim Annett said his team wanted to bank as many wins as possible during the next three weeks, when in addition to Saturday’s home game against eighth-placed Mildura and Sunday’s match-up with seventh-placed Craigeburn, it would play against cellar dweller Melton.

The team would boost its finals prospects with four wins as it faces a tough run home, with games against three of the league’s top four sides in the final four weeks.

Wallan’s win against Maccabi on Sunday was a more even contest than the first meeting between the sides in round four, which the Panthers won by 36 points.

The Panthers looked on track for a similar winning margin after the first quarter, leading 24-14 behind stellar team defence and a three-point barrage by point guard Abraham Solano.

Solano made four triples in the first frame but managed only one more thereafter as the Warriors tightened their defence.

Maccabi worked back to within six points by half time, sharing the ball well offensively.

Wallan’s class proved too much to overcome however, with the Panthers never conceding the lead and holding on for an 81-72 victory.

Arcaim Lallemand led all scorers with 20 points, while fellow starters Solano, 19, Jackson Wynne, 14, and Tyler Best, 13, all reached double figures and veteran forward Gary Saunders provided a lift off the bench with seven points.

Wallan’s division two women were not as successful in round 11, going down 53-72 against second-placed Mornington.

After a hard-fought and relatively even first quarter the visiting Breakers stifled the home team, restricting Wallan to only six points in the second term.

Guard Kaitlyn Wakartschuk scored 12 points to lead the Panthers but was forced into inefficient 5-18 shooting, while the team collectively went 0-22 from three.

The Wallan women, in the midst of their own bid to make the finals, must regroup for a vital road game against winless Surf Coast on Saturday, with only percentage separating them from fourth-placed Gippsland United and fifth-placed Blackburn.

Wallan’s youth league division two women continued their strong season, riding a 27-12 last quarter to a 60-55 win against Mornington.

Tamsyn Kirk led the comeback with 17 points off the bench, while starters Olivia Dalmau, 12 points, and Ruby Pantisano, 11, were also prominent.

Wallan’s youth league division two men suffered back-to-back road losses, going down 80-97 against Bellarine and 86-101 against Whittlesea.

The youth league women will play a road game against Chelsea on Sunday afternoon, while the youth league men are also on the road against Mornington.

The division two men’s home game against Mildura at 8pm on Saturday is Wallan’s sole home game this weekend.

Leave a Reply