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Panthers face the Heat in Mildura basketball clash

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Wallan Panthers road-tripped to the aptly named Mildura Hothouse to face the Heat in the opening round of the Big V basketball season.

In the newly combined division one and two division the Panthers women lost 68 to 91.

It was a tight opening quarter for the Panthers with Mildura leading by seven before extending the lead out to 12-points at halftime.

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Wallan brought the game back to within three point during the third quarter but a surge by Mildura put the Heat ahead by 17-points and they retained the margin during the final quarter.

Wallan head coach Jarrod Bridge said it was a good game.

“It was tough and a bit of an eye opener for us to see one of the better division one teams,” he said.

“But it was good and a very interesting game. The scoreline doesn’t really reflect it. It kind of just got away from us at the end but it was good.”

Bridge said the side wanted to establish their identity early in the season.

“We’re talking about being known for defence and offence all around – just not being too one dimensional. That’s our major focus,” he said.

Big V division two MVP last season Kylah Collins started this season with another strong game with 21 points, eight rebounds and six steals.

Captain Olivia Dalmau had 14-points, eight rebounds and four assists.

“Kylah had a monstrous game so that was pretty good. Liv Dalmau had a really tough, good game. They did not make it easy for her, but she pushed through,” Bridge said.

“We had a couple of our younger girls step up and play some roles that we really needed.

“One of them was Olivia Sweet. She had a really good game for her first ever Big V game so that was exciting.”

This weekend the Panthers women have their first double header of the season – hosting Southern Peninsula in their first game home Saturday then heading to Altona to play the Gators on Sunday.

“We were missing a couple of girls from this weekend so we’ll be getting two more back into the team which hopefully will help especially with the speed of the game,” Bridge said.

“I think the first few weeks for us are going to be about establishing who we are for the major part.

The Panthers men lost to Mildura 62-90 in Saturday’s opener.

In his debut game Trent Cousins was the Panthers’ leading scorer with 20 points and five rebounds, while captain Dominic Bruno had 11 points, seven rebounds and two steals.

The Wallan men will play Southern Peninsula in the first home game of the season at RB Robson Stadium.

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