Gators return to the court for double-header weekend

By Aydin Payne

The Shepparton Gators return to the court this weekend and jump straight into a double-header of matches against Coburg Giants and Bulleen Boomers.

Shepparton enjoyed the mid-season bye sitting in fourth place on the Big V division one ladder and starts its tilt on the second half of the season tonight.

The Giants (ninth) are first up for the round 12 weekend, with the Gators hosting Coburg tonight at Shepparton Basketball Stadium.

Tomorrow the Gators jump on the team bus and head to East Doncaster Secondary College to tackle the sixth-placed Boomers.

In round 11, the Gators trumped Melbourne University by 25 points with the side showcasing superb ball-movement and flair with ball in hand — something coach Leigh Bathman hoped they could replicate.

‘‘Hopefully we can continue on from our terrific performance against Melbourne Uni,’’ Bathman said.

‘‘Our spread of scoring was really good but that come from high-tempo ball movement.

‘‘Which allowed for our players to create open shots and hit easy baskets.’’

This weekend starts a fierce month of scheduling for the Gators, with their next five rounds featuring three double-header weekends.

‘‘It’s a big month coming up for us which makes these two games really important,’’ Bathman said.

‘‘If we can pick up two wins it takes the pressure off us for matches in July.

‘‘But we are feeling good, the boys had a week off and have come back physically and mentally fresh.

‘‘We entered the bye on some good form and now it’s a challenge for us to return back to that level again.’’

This weekend was not just important for the Gators, with Coburg and Bulleen gunning for victory to improve their ladder positions.

Coburg and Bulleen enter round 12 on the back of four-straight losses, but Bathman believed the sides would come out guns blazing against the Gators.

‘‘Both sides will be very desperate for wins,’’ he said.

‘‘The Giants remain out of finals contention by two games and need a win to stay alive.

‘‘While Bulleen holds a slim lead on their position inside the top-six, so they will be out to cement their spot.

‘‘We will need to be on our game and make sure we are ready for a fierce contest.’’

Tonight’s match at Shepparton Basketball Stadium starts at 7.30pm, while tomorrow’s road game starts at 1.30pm.