Bacchus Marsh Lions have a shot at a grand final spot after beating the Portland Coasters in the first week of the Country Basketball League south-west men’s finals on Friday night.
After ending the regular season with two straight losses, the Lions produced some of their best basketball against the Coasters.
In front of their home crowd, the Lions grabbed an early lead and for much of the game led by more than 10 points.
But the Lions were never able to run away with the game, eventually winning 81-68.
Lions co-coach Jeff Feben said it was their best team performance of the season.
“The energy was really good, as was the support from the players on the bench,” he said.
Feben said that while he would have liked to have given his bench more minutes and experience, the Coasters kept coming.
“We did get a lead of about 10-12 points and it blew out to about 16,” he said.
“But they would bring it back to about seven points.
“I felt confident during the game we would get the win, but they never gave up.”
Co-captain Jordan Kirk was the standout with 24 points.
As the Lions’ most experienced player, he stood up when it was needed.
“Kirky was super and strong all game,” Feben said.
“It wasn’t only his best game for us … I’ve known him for a long time and it’s the best I’ve seen him play in a critical time.
“He kept pushing and made some hard baskets.”
The coach said Kirk was well supported by Jas Christian and Billy Feben.
Diquan Williams had 11 points, while Billy Feben and Christian had 10 points each.
Jeff Feben also had praise for the side’s talls, who stood up strong on the boards and were able to pull down several rebounds.
The Lions will play Horsham Hornets on Saturday night at Horsham for a spot in the grand final.
The two teams played once this season, with the Hornets having a big win, 101-57, against the undermanned Lions in round two.
Jeff Feben said it would be very different this time around.
He said the Lions would have a full list of players to select from and they were encouraging supporters to make the trip to Horsham.
“Last time it was just Bill and the bench, this time we’ll have a full team,” he said.
“If you have a look at what they did to Terang, who scored 100 points against us – they kept them to 51 points.
“It will be a hard match for us, but you never know what will happen in finals.”
Feben said no matter the result this weekend, they were already happy with what they had achieved in their debut season.
“To make the grand final in our first year is a pipe dream,” he said.
“We’re pretty happy with where we’re at and anything else is a bonus now.”
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