Hungry gators

January 13, 2018

Shepparton’s quest for an undefeated Country Basketball League campaign continues tonight in Wangaratta.

The Gators have dominated the north-east men’s division of the competition so far this season, with 10 wins from as many attempts.

But a small lapse in concentration is all it will take for that record to receive its first blemish against the Warriors.

Last time the teams met, at the Shepparton Sports Stadium in November, the then-away side came within just four points of the Shepparton juggernaut.

Despite Wangaratta’s season tally of one win and eight losses, Gators coach Josh Waight is expecting a tough contest.

‘‘They really challenged us last time so we know it’s going to be a really good challenge again,’’ Waight said.

‘‘We’re looking forward to it; we spoke at training about making sure we’re right to go from the start of the game which will help set ourselves up for a win.’’

That first clash against the Warriors, along with a match against second-placed Seymour, remains the closest any outfit has come to usurping Shepparton’s place at the top of the division’s table.

The reason for such dominance from the Gators can likely be put down to the large number of regular contributors on the scoreboard.

Six of Waight’s charges average double figures for points scored this campaign, while two (Dylan Wayman and Gabe Evans) have already cracked triple figures.

It is a spread which will hold the team in good stead as finals rapidly approach, with opposition outfits unable to shut down enough Gators to make a difference, while still scoring themselves — a fact reflected in Shepparton’s average score against (57.9) sitting more than 20 below its points for (78.6).

‘‘We pride ourselves on both ends of the floor,’’ Waight said.

‘‘It’s about making sure we’re switched on defensively and that we’re eliminating mistakes on the defensive end.’’

The Warriors have some weapons of their own, with Liam Wright (13.2 points a game) and Jake Bowen (11.86) scoring heavily, and will be confident of causing an upset in front of a home crowd at Wangaratta Indoor Sports and Aquatic Centre.

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