PAKENHAM Warriors have recorded one of their best wins of the Big V basketball Division 2 men’s season to date, toppling the hometown Breakers 89-76 in Mornington on Sunday afternoon.
The result marked an impressive turnaround for Jeff Reid’s side, which had its colours lowered to the North East Bushrangers in Albury the week before.
The Breakers led the Warriors 22-19 at the end of the first quarter on Sunday but the visitors turned the tables in the second to tie the scores at 47 apiece heading into the break.
The Warriors struggled from the field in the early going, but bounced back to shoot a super-efficient 58 per cent in the second while turning the ball over just twice for the period.
The Breakers responded in the third and led by the slimmest of margins with a quarter to play, but the Warriors responded – closing out the contest 25-11.
Pakenham’s control and discipline was a standout all game, committing just 12 turnovers for the contest in contrast to the Breakers’ 23.
Almost predictably, Mornington star Adam Ballinger finished with a big 22-point, 15-rebound double-double on 53 per cent shooting but, by and large, his team mates were well held.
For Pakenham – which was without skipper Paul Phillips – Hayden Davey finished with 22 points and eight boards on 45 per cent shooting while Ben Gaze finished with a 14-point, 12-rebound double-double despite struggling from the field.
The defensive pressure applied by Mike Godfrey and Trent Lee was a standout throughout the contest.
Simo Pajdic’s Youth League 2 men, meanwhile, enter this season’s finals series full of confidence after an imposing performance against Melton at Cardinia Life – storming to a 27-point win, 91-64.
The Warriors raced out of the blocks with a 27-16 win and never looked back, restricting the Thoroughbreds to just 30 per cent from the field while forcing them into 22 turnovers.
Tobie Dean finished with 20 points and five boards for the Warriors, while guard Lee Belton added 18 and eight, including three long bombs from three-point land.
Lewis Newman also hit the glass with real purpose, finishing with eight points and 10 boards.
Pakenham finished with an impressive 13-7 record in its debut regular season – good enough for second on the ladder behind Mornington.
In the other local game for the round, Blackburn proved far too good for Pakenham’s Big V women – charging to an 86-24 win on Saturday night.
In a clash that pitted top versus bottom, the visitors kept the Warriors to single-figure scoring in every quarter.
Prior to the Pakenham Youth League game, which tipped off at 5pm on Saturday, Warriors players and supporters stood as one with Big V and Boldens Basketball Club players and Pakenham and District Basketball Association (PDBA) officials to pay their respects to young Boldens player Eli Kent, who at just seven years of age tragically and unexpectedly passed away late last month.
Eli loved his sport – he was an Essendon football club tragic, in addition to playing Auskick for the Bunyip Bulldogs and basketball for the Boldens.
He will be missed terribly in the local community – including by his classmates and teachers at Bunyip Primary School.
In the wake of Eli’s passing, a MyCause page has been set up to help alleviate any financial pressure on his family.
For more, visit www.mycause.com.au/page/130540.