Keilor Thunder has staved off a late challenge from a gallant Shepparton Gators to win 72-66 in the Big V basketball men’s division 1 at the Keilor Basketball Stadium on Saturday night.

The Thunder were seemingly cruising to victory at half time with most of their 14-point quarter-time lead intact, but the Gators came out snapping in the third period, out-scoring the home side 23 to 13, and it was suddenly game on.

For all the Gators efforts to get back into the match and close to within five points a minute into the fourth period, they had no answer to Thunder’s red hot import Jordan Coleman, who put his team on his back with 29 points and eight rebounds.

Coleman shot an efficient 12-from-20 from the field and drained four three-pointers.

Thunder captain Chuck Long had a strong influence for Keilor with 10 points and eight rebounds, while Joel Bellman was the team’s other starter in double figures with 10 points.

Jacob Coleman-Bock made the most of his 19 minutes off the bench, scoring 15 points and reeling in five rebounds.

Keilor is three games clear on top of the ladder in the Terrill conference.

The Thunder will host Watson conference powerhouse Bulleen Boomers at Keilor Basketball Stadium on Saturday night.

In women’s division 1, Keilor Thunder led most of the way at home on Sunday in a 78-67 win over Mildura Heat.

Alexandra McKellar was the Thunder’s leading scorer with 21 points, while there were big games for Aneta Bandilovski (19 points), Amy Smith (11 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists) and Danielle Wilson (12 points).

The sixth-placed Thunder (8-9) will travel to play cellar dweller Western Port Steelers (4-12) on Sunday.