TWO big wins kept the juggernaut that is Casey Cavaliers basketball rolling with the men’s side now four games clear with only three matches left in the BIG V home-and-away season.
It seems 13 is an especially lucky number down at The Fortress with the Cavaliers extending their winning streak to the somewhat maligned digit after a road-trip triumph on Saturday night over La Trobe before backing up on Sunday against Sunbury.
Going into triple digits for the second time in a month, Casey outlasted a dogged Energy outfit in Traralgon to run up a 100-84 triumph.
Casey shared the points as well as the minutes as Dean Johnson (17 points, 12 rebounds) rattled off another strong showing in tandem with Lester Strong (15 points, 14 rebounds) and Brent Hobba (15 points, 9 rebounds).
On Sunday, Sunbury fought back in the third term, but no one keeps this Casey side down for long as Brent Hobba (22 points, 14 rebounds) and James Deneefe (14 points) seized the victory in a whole-roster 94-84 triumph.
Completely out-rebounding the Jets 55-27, the Cavaliers left no question to this result, despite Sunbury keeping in the match via the three-point line.
Casey coach Steward Baird thought the Cavs’ plans went off without a hitch as they try to keep everyone fresh heading into the Division-1 finals.
“We planned the weekend pretty carefully in the way of minutes – we’re conscious that we’re getting pretty close towards finals and didn’t want to push guys if we could avoid it,” Baird said.
“Saturday night it took us a while to shake La Trobe – great shooting team and have a number of guys who can knock down the big shots, especially at home.
“We got good minutes into everyone and in particular Brad Szalek played some great minutes on Sunday and I guess we’ve been able to save Lester, Hobba and Witho (Witherden) a bit.”
Sunday’s double-header was part of Casey’s Beyond the Ball fundraiser for beyondblue – with Baird a strong support of the charity that works to negate the impact of anxiety, depression and suicide in the community.
“Kudos to Jess Szalek as this was her baby (Beyond The Ball) in the pre-season she took it to the committee and agreed to give it a date,” Baird said.
“It is part of a great community that we’re a part of – people really support us and when we get behind something everyone does as well.”
Casey heads out to Melton on Saturday evening to face one of the top seeds in the Terrill Conference.
The Cavaliers women started the run home emphatically against Keysborough on Saturday night, taking a 76-51 win with Jess Szalek (21 points, 10 rebounds) and Natalie Dowdy (14 points, 13 rebounds) firing under the basket alongside Bec Magdich (14 points, 8 rebounds). Casey women remain just under the fold for BIG V finals and have two matches – starting on Sunday against Mornington – to sneak back in to the top four.
With two matches left in the Youth Men’s season, Casey Cavaliers is shaping up to be one of the favourites, even with its loss to top seed Warrandyte 61-72 on Sunday. Casey faces Melton on Saturday night away.
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