Saints tip-off in CBL

Myrtleford Times - - Front Page - BY JUSTIN JENVEY jjen­vey@ne­me­

MYRTLE­FORD has come away from its first Coun­try Bas­ket­ball League ac­tion with one win from four matches.

The women’s team got Myrtle­ford‘s first cam­paign in the com­pe­ti­tion off to a dream start on Satur­day night with a 63-56 win over Wal­lan while the men were beaten 54-60.

On Sun­day, Wodonga were too strong for the Saints, hand­ing the women a 49-67 loss while the men, af­ter lead­ing for much of the game, suf­fered an­other nar­row de­feat, go­ing down 56-60.

espite the re­sults coach Les Stevens said it was a suc­cess­ful de­but for the new club.

“We were only able to get one win out of four, but we saw plenty of things that we can go away and work on,” he said.

“The crowd sup­port was fan­tas­tic, there was just as many peo­ple in on Sun­day af­ter­noon as there was Satur­day night, it was great to see the sup­port be­hind both teams.

“It was a good at­mos­phere and some of the op­po­si­tion even said they never usu­ally play in front of that many peo­ple, so we couldn’t be more pleased from that per­spec­tive.”

Against Wal­lan the Myrtle­ford women trailed all through the first be­fore tak­ing the lead with just un­der four min­utes re­main­ing in the third quar­ter.

The Saints fin­ished the match on a 15-7 run with cap­tains Bec Pi­azza and Paige Zam­per­oni lead­ing from the front to help se­cure the team’s first win.

Zamer­poini to­talled a game­high 19 points while Rac­quel Stevens shut down the dan­ger­ous Jayda Hunter in the sec­ond half.

On Sun­day against a strong Wodonga out­fit Myrtle­ford found them­selves be­hind by 13 points at quar­ter time and were never able to make up any ground.

Af­ter fall­ing be­hind by 18 points early in the sec­ond term the Saints then matched the Wolves for the re­main­der of the match in an en­cour­ag­ing sec­ond half dis­play.

Pi­azza fin­ished with 14 points while Paige and Abbey Zam­per­oni each dropped 10 points.

Un­like the women the men got off to a strong start against Wal­lan and led by three points at quar­ter time.

But with star player Jalen Barker spend­ing the ma­jor­ity of the sec­ond term on the bench be­cause of foul trou­ble the Pan­thers hit back and held a nine-point ad­van­tage at the in­ter­val.

Myrtle­ford cut the deficit back to four in the third and did so again with just un­der two min­utes to go in the fourth be­fore Wal­lan sealed the game with some late free throws.

The men will be dis­ap­pointed to have not beaten Wodonga hav­ing been in front at half­time with a 35-30 ad­van­tage.

Wodonga stole the lead on the three-quar­ter time buzzer and then the loss of Ben McIntyre to a dis­lo­cated fin­ger min­utes into the fi­nal pe­riod proved telling.

Jalen Barker scored 22 points in both out­ings while Matt Dy­ball and Jack­son Townsend made some cru­cial buck­ets in both games.

Myrtle­ford’s next match is at Sey­mour on Novem­ber 4.

PHOTO: Justin Jenvey

FO­CAL POINT: Jalen Barker was dom­i­nant in Myrtle­ford’s open­ing two CBL games al­though the team suf­fered two close losses.

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