Craigieburn Eagles produced their best performance of the season to upset Wallan in Big V women’s division 2.
Wallan entered the game as red hot favourites having only lost one game for the season, while local rivals the Eagles have had an up and down season.
But it was the Eagles that jumped out of the blocks in the first quarter, gaining an 11-point lead at half-time.
The Panthers kept pushing and reduced the margin to under seven points early in the last quarter, but the Eagles settled late to win 67-51.
For Eagles coach Dennis McNamara it was good to see their prep work pay off and the team grab a good start.
“It’s been a work in progress,” he said. “It’s the first time its happened [the fast start].”
“It’s our best performance of the season. We’ve had plenty of close losses, but we hadn’t got a win over a top side.”
The Eagles were led by two players at the opposite ends of their careers. Veteran Kellie Bailey-Lynn top-scored with 17 points. She also had 10 rebounds, four steals and five assists.
Nicola Stewart, in her first full season in the senior side, had 16 points and 12 rebounds,
McNamara was full of praise for both players.
“With Kellie, it’s not just her scoring, but her defence and leadership with such a young group,” he said.
“Nicola was up for a few games last season, but is still able to play youth league. She’s only 20.”
For the Panthers, former Eagles championship winner Jacinta Scott top-scored with 21 points. She was the only play to score double figures.
The win means the Eagles have four wins from their first nine games and are still in touch with the top teams.
They were relegated to division 2 in the off season after finishing bottom of division 1 last year.
McNamara believes the side will only get better in the second half of the season.
“We lost two or three of our main players when we went down a grade,” he said.
“We’ve got a new group and a very young group.
“The hardest part was there was a change of coach in late January. The coach they had [Rod Sweeney] had to leave for work reasons.
“I was called in and was a couple of months behind. I also had a holiday booked and missed three weeks. We’re only starting to get organised now.”
It was a good weekend for the Eagles with the men’s division 2 side having a 77-60 win against Sherbrooke Suns.
After an even first half, the Eagles outscored the Suns 48-30 in the second.
Dexter Graham top-scored with 23 points, while three other players scored double figures.