In for the kill

November 29, 2016

Standing tall: Shepparton Gators centre Nick Dodd top-scored with 26 points in a resounding win against Maryborough Blazers on Saturday.


That is exactly what Shepparton Gators were in their demolition of Maryborough on Saturday night.

After losing their first game of the Country Basketball League season a week earlier, the Gators came out full of fire at Shepparton Sports Stadium.

With the visitors in turmoil after sacking their coach midweek, the Gators capitalised on that and went for the kill.

The lead was 14 points at quarter-time and it just got better from there.

By full-time, the Gators were up by an incredible 52 points to maintain their position on top of the ladder.

Shepparton coach Matt Bartlett demanded more from his team and the players delivered.

‘‘It was a bit of a wake-up call against Seymour, but it was probably the best thing for us,’’ Bartlett said.

‘‘We focused on things we needed to do at training and we applied everything we worked on in the game.

‘‘At half-time we were 35 points in front, but I wrote Bendigo and Seymour up on the board and said they’re the teams we’re working towards because they’ll be coming for us.

‘‘The message was not to waste the second half.’’

Vice-captain Nick Dodd was sensational, with the big man stepping up and scoring 26 points, including four three-points.

Sam Poole continued his great season with 15 points.

The Violet Town footballer has made a seamless transition back to basketball, but don’t expect to see him around for the Big V.

‘‘He’s (Poole) really enjoyed the year playing basketball, but it’d be hard to see him going back for the Big V,’’ Bartlett said.

Bartlett said Tom Frame (14 points) and Michael Reidy (12) showed they have what it take.

‘‘Tom Frame is starting to really come into games and Reidy played a solid role for us,’’ Bartlett said.

The Gators are two games clear of second-placed Bendigo Braves heading into the final three games of the regular season.

Bartlett’s team will have a week off before reloading to take on Wodonga, Wangaratta and Castlemaine before Christmas.

Finals will take place early next year.

Scores: Shepparton Gators 105 (Nick Dodd 26, Sam Poole 15, Tom Frame 14) d Maryborough Blazers 53.

CBL North East Conference: Shepparton Gators 8-1, Bendigo Braves 6-1, Seymour Blasters 6-2, Maryborough Blazers 4-4, Castlemaine Cannons 3-3, Wangaratta Warriors 3-4, Wallan Panthers 3-5, Wodonga Wolves 0-7, Echuca Pirates 0-6.

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