Keilor Thunder produced a stunning double swoop at the weekend to all but seal its place among the Big V basketball men’s state championship elite next season.
The Thunder has been flirting with relegation in their inaugural top-flight season but victories as underdogs over premiership favourite Ringwood Hawks and finals contender Knox Raiders has moved them well clear of the drop zone.
Thunder coach Liam Glascott was already confident his team had done enough to survive, but moving four games clear of two-win bottom side Corio Bay Stingrays with four games just about confirms it.
“We always thought we were clear of relegation,” he said.
“Corio Bay would need to win every game to get above us and we’re still clear of Blackburn and Werribee as well.
“We know we’ve been capable of winning games all year.
“We’ve been very competitive – that’s the word to use for our season so far with honourable losses.
“This weekend shows that when we do show up and play the brand of basketball that we know we can do, we get the reward.”
On Saturday night, Keilor delivered one of the shock results of the season.
The Thunder inflicted just a fourth loss on the Ringwood Hawks as they won 102-94 in front of their appreciative fans at the Keilor Basketball Stadium.
Jordan Coleman was superb for the Thunder at power forward with 29 points and 15 rebounds. Matt Spencer, with a 20 points and five-rebound game, and Jeff Crowe, with 16 points and five rebounds, were influential, while a jet-lagged Hanner Mosquera-Perea, fresh off Colombian national team representation, added 13 points and nine rebounds in limited minutes.
On Sunday, Keilor was still fresh, after a number of players had fouled out early the night before against Ringwood, and brimming with confidence after that big win hours earlier.
The Thunder held on for a thrilling 76-75 victory over Knox Raiders at the State Basketball Centre.
Spencer had another outstanding performance with 22 points, while Mosquera-Perea, Coleman and Joel Bellman reach double figure points.
There was a common theme for Keilor across the weekend. “We finally played four quarters and didn’t have the lapses we’ve been having for five minutes or a quarter, which has been costing us games of basketball,” Glascott said.
“The boys were obviously up and about, really happy getting two big scalps.
“It just showed the boys that we’re capable of being at this level.”
Keilor (6-12) will hit the road on Sunday in search of a third straight win when they face Blackburn Vikings at the Knox Basketball Stadium.
In women’s state championship, Keilor Thunder was soundly beaten 82-57 by Knox Raiders on Sunday at the State Basketball Centre. The shining light for the Thunder was import Erin Bollmann with 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Alexandra McKellar added 10 points.
The Thunder (4-10) will host Bulleen Boomers (3-12) at the Keilor Basketball Stadium on Saturday night.