Wallan big man Arcaim Lallemand, pictured against Maccabi, had one of his best games of the season with 30 points and 22 rebounds against Melton.

By Colin MacGillivray

BIG games from American big man Arcaim Lallemand and guard Abraham Solano led Wallan Panthers past a spirited Melton in their Big V men’s division two match at Wallan on Sunday afternoon.

The Panthers surprised some onlookers when trailing by three points at half time against the 11th-placed Thoroughbreds, but kept faith that their shots would begin falling more regularly in the second half.

Their faith was rewarded with a third-quarter eruption in which Wallan scored 36 points, with Lallemand scoring 11 and Solano 16.

The pair finished with 30 and 26 respectively, with Lallemand adding 22 rebounds, three assists and three blocks in by far his most dominant performance in a Wallan uniform.

Solano also enhanced his reputation as one of the division’s best three-point marksmen, finishing 6-9 from long distance.

Wallan coach Tim Annett said there were other encouraging signs, such as the continued re-emergence of captain Jordan Hockley from a hip injury and a line-up change that saw versatile forward Jackson Wynne come off the bench.

“It was my plan at the start of the year that [Wynne] was going to come off the bench and be that spark, but injuries have stopped me from being able to do that,” Annett said.

“Now we’re getting back to somewhere near full strength, coming up to the pointy end of the season I wanted to have a look at what it looked like before finals.

“It gives me a lot more flexibility in rotations, and credit to him, he’s bought into that role and he was good at the weekend.

“Jordan is still carrying a little bit of an injury … but over the last two or three weeks you can see what he’s going to bring to the team.

“He’s starting to get going a little bit offensively, but his main role is defensively and leadership-wise.”

Annett paid tribute to Lallemand’s performance and said the team had made a concerted effort to feed him the ball.

“We’ve been working closely together trying to get some dominant performances out of him,” he said.

“His team mates helped him out a lot with rebounding by covering their own guys, which made a big difference to him being able to get more rebounds than normal.”

Wallan will face a rematch with Melton in an away game this weekend, and Annett said his team would need to be ready for another tough assignment.

“They gave us a really good hit out. I think they’re a little bit better than where they sit on the ladder,” he said.

“We’re looking forward to it and our aim is getting a win to consolidate our spot in the six. Then hopefully after that we can try to inch our way up to fourth and try to get a home final.”

The Panthers’ division two women, who had a bye at the weekend, will host Corio Bay at RB Robson Stadium at 4pm on Sunday.

The division two youth league men will attempt to shake off an 85-89 loss to Wangaratta North East Bushrangers when they host Keysborough at 12pm on Saturday, while the youth league division two women will be out for revenge after they also lost to Wangaratta North East Bushrangers in a surprising 58-91 result. The Panthers will host the Bushrangers in a rematch from 2pm on Sunday at RB Robson Stadium.

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