Shepparton Gators clinch consecutive wins

By Aydin Payne

Relief was the one word Shepparton Gators coach Leigh Bathman used to describe his side’s narrow five-point win against a plucky Collingwood All-Stars outfit on Saturday night.

Javaan Mumtaz nailed four free-throw attempts in the final minute of the game, his first coming with the All-Star just a point down, as the Gators survived a close call at Darebin Community Sports Stadium.

It was a night full of ups and downs with the live feed statistics having connectivity issues, resulting in post-game anomalies on the scoresheet.

Bathman said the five-point win was a big relief for his side.

‘‘I am definitely relieved with the result, you take those wins and bank them when you can,’’ Bathman said.

‘‘We showed glimpses of what we are capable of, but in the second half we broke down under the pressure applied from Collingwood.

‘‘I’m pleased to get the win and be 2-0 after two road trips and we are really looking forward to being back on our home court in front of our fans for the first time this year.’’

The All-Stars looked promising in the first quarter until the Gators managed to limit their output in the second and the first half ended with a big-time slam dunk by Nick Dodd.

Atem Atem was one of the standouts on the night for the away side, but the Gators had solid contributions from the bench as well, with Jaxson MacFarlane and Tyrone Mohamed stepping up and playing valuable minutes.

‘‘Atem was outstanding for us, he showed his shooting skills from beyond the arc and he rebounded really well,’’ Bathman said.

‘‘I was impressed with how MacFarlane and Mohamed played too, they were great off the bench.’’

However, Bathman said there was still plenty of room for improvement from his undefeated side.

‘‘They hurt us in transition, especially Deng Dut running down on the fast-break, he was hard to contain for our boys,’’ he said.

‘‘Our inability to get everyone on the court at training is starting to show signs, the team’s chemistry isn’t quite there yet.

‘‘But we know that will come once everyone gets their body right and the boys train regularly together.

‘‘We showed on Saturday night that when we do click we can be very dangerous on the floor.’’

Shepparton will host Keysborough Cougars this Saturday night in its first home game of the year.