Bacchus Marsh Lions proved no match for Mt Gambier Lakers in the Country Basketball League south-west men’s grand final.
Claiming a championship in their first season was always going to be a tough ask – especially as the Lions came up against a full-strength Lakers line-up.
The Lakers delivered one of the performances of the season on Saturday as they overwhelmed the Lions 116-62 at Bluewater Leisure Centre in Colac.
The championship is the Lakers third in four years; they finished runners-up in the other year.
Lions co-coach Jeff Feben was in awe of the Lakers’ performance.
“They were the leader all year and clearly the pacesetter,” he said.
“Watching them, they may have been two or three levels above the other teams.
“I’ve never seen a team shoot the lights out like that – they shot at 80-odd per cent
“I’ve seen a lot of Big V, mostly div 1, and I think they would win a final and even challenge in the championship division.”
Heading into the game, Feben said one of the Lakers’ biggest strengths was the ability to have different scorers.
That proved to be the case in the decider, with six Lakers hitting double figures.
For the Lions it was a tough night all round with just Diquan Williams, with 22 points, scoring double figures.
Feben said the side had its grand final the previous week when it beat minor premiers Horsham Hornets.
“We had to play really well to beat them and make it through,” he said.
“This week, they were a cut above us. We were with them for the first few minutes and then they went on a scoring run.
“Kirky [Jordan Kirk] couldn’t get easy baskets at the ring, while Bill [Feben] hit a few shots.
“Diquan Williams was the standout. He had the spring and speed you need to go with a team like that.”
Despite the loss, the Lions’ season has been a success, according to Jeff Feben.
“I’m extremely proud,” he said. “It exceeded all our expectations and it’s a good base. It’s a good start for us.”
Billy Feben was named as a joint south-west conference most valuable player.
He was also named a joint defence player of the conference, with both awards voted on by the coaches.
Feben averaged 21.19 points a game, the third best in the conference. He made the second most points overall and shot the most three pointers.
Jeff Feben said they were surprised that Billy shared both of those awards.
“It was a good little surprise,” he said.
“As a father I’m proud and really happy, while as a club, to get that sort of recognition in the first season is a really good thing.”