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Happy rounds for Wallan Panthers

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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.

The Jungle in Wallan was full on at the weekend as both Wallan Panthers men and women went head-to-head against Surf Coast in round 14 of the Big V competition.

Division Two Men had an admirable start, with all players giving a full team effort to gain 13 points within the first few minutes of the match.

The men were confident heading into the second quarter, with 29 points already up their sleeve.

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But Surf Coast did not let its guard down, bringing the score to 40-35 at the end of the second quarter – only five points behind Wallan.

It was a similar play within the third quarter when Wallan was contested with Surf Coasts’ multiple comebacks, roughly in the lead for a few moments during the third quarter.

The competition was passionate with both teams wanting to lead, but it appeared the Panthers were always in control, turning the fiery competition into their game, with a 73-71 win.

Coach Travis Heal said it was a great team effort from the side which kept improving every week.

“I think we’ve tried to remain optimistic over the last four, five weeks, saying that we’re getting better and better, and we’re building and doing great – this week, we just kept improving,” he said.

“Arcaim [Lallemand] did a fantastic job, and [was] a little more aggressive offensively, and Dominic [Bruno] controlled the tempo of the game really, really well. Adam [Gatt] contributed this week, and Trent Cousins also did a fantastic job.”

Wallan Men will play two games in round 15, starting with Collingwood away, and at home against Melton.

Women

The Panthers women carried the winning efforts with an 11-point victory, which now places the side on top of the ladder in Division Two.

Expecting Surf Coasts’ point guard back on court, Wallan’s target was to put the pressure onto the player, including Surf Coasts’ other top player – which Wallan was successful in blocking one of the top players to gain the comfortable win.

The Panthers soared through the first quarter, pulling all the right stops to conclude the first quarter with 20 points.

Wallan’s shooting efforts and offence were not as sleek in the second quarter, only making nine baskets, while Surf Coast stepped up its defence, making it a tough quarter for the home side.

However, the Panthers still held their ground, and returned for the 64-53 win.  

Coach Jarrod Bridge said Wallan always had quality games with Surf Coast.  

“We mapped out really well with them, they got a couple of veterans that always make our lives really hard,” he said.

“[Kylah Collins], she was ridiculous, she was very good, she had a great game.

“Melissa Buckley, she is one of our core starters every single week and she is predominantly known for her shooting and scoring ability, but she played out of this world defence, she was so good.”

Wallan will travel to play against Melbourne on Saturday in round 15.

“They are a good team and we’re playing [Melbourne] again at their home, which will make it a bit together,” Bridge said.

“I’m hoping the confidence that we got from this week – because we sort of use Surf Coast as the best team in our competition, so the fact that we beat them, I think should go a long way for us.

“Obviously, we will wait and see, we can’t take anything too lightly, but we’re kind of hoping we can take that confidence in and get three in a row before we have a break.”

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