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Wallan Panthers’ eventful match

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Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis has worked as a journalist at the North Central Review since 2022, with a particular focus on the City of Whittlesea and stories for the Whittlesea Review. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Communications majoring in journalism and focuses on politics, community, and health with the occasional niche sports story finding its way in front of her.

Returning from the King’s Birthday break, Wallan Panthers’ Division Two Men travelled to Rosebud for another eventful match against Southern Peninsula in round 12 of the Big V competition.

The last time the side went up against Southern Peninsula was in round two at the Jungle, which saw the Panthers take a 24-point loss, but this time the men were ready for the takeover.

A comforting start, the Panthers won the jumpball but both sides then kept missing baskets for the first few points of the match.

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Southern Peninsula made the first score with freethrows, followed by Wallan’s Adam Gatt giving Wallan a two-point layup.

For the remainder of the first quarter, Wallan was kept under Southern Peninsula’s force, with the side in front by 11 points.

When the second quarter came around, it seemed Wallan was not going to watch Southern Peninsula possess the game until another called victory.

A two-point layup from Arcaim Lallemand, followed by a two-point tip from Wallan’s Trent Cousins put the Panthers behind Southern Peninsula by six points during the second quarter – close to taking the lead.

After Wallan made the effort to change the direction of the game, both sides pushed back in the last few minutes, but Southern Peninsula were still in the lead by eight points by the end of the second quarter.

The scoreboard showed Wallan four points behind by the end of the third quarter.

For history to not repeat itself, Wallan was all over the basketball in the fourth quarter, but the side just missed out on victory again, with an 85-79 defeat.

Men’s Coach Travis Heal said Wallan was ‘extremely unlucky to not win’.

“We were so close to winning, it wasn’t funny, so six points wasn’t a true indication, it was more a one possession game, and we had to foul at the end of the game to sort of try and get possession back, and [Southern Peninsula] they hit a couple of free throws,” he said.

“The boys played really well, we’ve been working really well, the games sort of coming  together, last time we played that team they beat us by 24 and this time it was by six … I think we’re definitely improving.”

Wallan will have a rematch against Mildura at the Jungle this weekend.

Despite Wallan last on the ladder, Heal said the side were improving.

“We got 12 invested guys, each week everyone shows up to training, we work hard, we have fun – everybody got each other’s backs, it’s good, we’re unfortunately not getting the results on the scoreboard,” he said.

“The fact we’ve made up 20 points on the last time we played [Southern Peninsula], and with Craigieburn, the margins are closing from where we started to where we are, I think that shows that we’re improving at a greater rate.

“We’re looking forward to playing Mildura, we’re looking forward to the challenge, and there’s not a team in the league that we’re scared of, or we’re worried about.

“We look forward to every game that we play and getting back out there and proving that our win/ loss record doesn’t really tell the story of what the season’s been like.”

Wallan Panthers women will make a return this Sunday at home in round 13, with the side now in division two.

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