Shepparton remains undefeated in the men’s north-east division of the Country Basketball League.
The Gators held off a spirited Wangaratta Warriors outfit to claim an 11th victory from as many starts on Saturday night, trailing by as much as 13 points in the third quarter before storming home for the win.
Coach Josh Waight felt his charges struggled to get into the contest during the early exchanges, but was pleased with their efforts down the stretch.
‘‘It wasn’t our best basketball,’’ Waight said.
‘‘We played pretty poorly for the first three quarters, but in the last one we really locked in our offence and got some good shots off.’’
Despite only securing one win for the season, the Warriors put up a strong fight to help the Gators tune up for finals action.
‘‘We wanted a really good challenge and they (Wangaratta) shot the ball really well and forced us out into low percentage shots,’’ Waight said.
‘‘But we found a way to win and fought it out which was fantastic, we could have thrown in the towel when we were down early, but we didn’t.’’
Sam Beks led the way for the Gators with 20 points, followed closely by Dylan Wayman (17), Nick Dodd (15) and Tyrone Mohamed (10).
‘‘If we put it all together and have multiple scorers on the court, we give ourselves the best chance to win,’’ Waight said.
‘‘But when we just rely on one or two to do the scoring, we find it hard.’’
A blockbuster clash against Seymour awaits the Gators on Saturday night, with the match a perfect way to finish the regular season in front of what should be a strong home crowd.
‘‘It will be a really good hit-out and a really good challenge,’’ Waight said.
‘‘It will also be a good chance to see where we might have to tighten up heading into the finals.’’
Star player Matt Bartlett is no certainty to appear in the post-season after injuring his ankle and not meeting the required games to qualify.
The Gators will not sweat on the result of a medical exemption application for Bartlett to line-up in the finals though, with Waight confident in his charges either way.
‘‘He rolled his ankle pretty badly and has been out for a few games,’’ Waight said.
‘‘We’ll put a medical exemption in and if they accept it then we’ll go from there, but if not we’ve played most of the year without him and it gives the other boys a chance to stand up.’’