The Kyneton Tigers’ men are enjoying the challenge of their first season in the Country Basketball League.
The Tigers may not be getting the results they would like, but coach Matt Bourke said it had been an exciting time for the side.
“We’re trying to bring together some young guys and getting them playing a higher level than domestic basketball,” he said.
“The crowd we had in the first round was really surprising – we didn’t expect that many people there to watch.”
The club decided to step up to the CBL this season to give its players a chance to represent Kyneton at a senior level.
The Tigers are without a win from their first three matches in the north-west division but Bourke said they had taken positives from each game as they start to gel as a team.
He said they were in all three games for at least some of the time.
On Saturday, the Tigers lost to Maryborough Blazers 89-68. It was only late in the game that the margin blew out.
Former AFL big man Nathan Thompson top-scored with 12 points for Kyneton, while Bourke scored 11.
Missing on Saturday night were Jordan Mangan and Matt Quinn.
Bourke said he expected both of them to play big roles in matches to come. Mangan has represented Victoria on a number of occasions.
“We’ll look for Jordan to do the bulk of the scoring,” Bourke said.
“Matt will lead from the front as well. He played with the Sunbury Jets a couple of seasons ago and is another big guy who can monster the boards.”
Bourke said the side’s strength this season would be inside the paint through Mangan, Quinn and Thompson.
He said one of the main aims was to get games into some of the younger players and help with their development.
Dylan Tunn, Riley Matricardi and Brendan McCarthy are three players who will get opportunities.
“Hopefully, we can balance up the aim of being competitive and trying to win and getting minutes into the younger guys and trying to develop them,” Bourke said.
“It’s not about being results driven this year. We’ll try and be competitive, but wins aren’t the main thing.”
Meanwhile, the Kyneton women’s side fell short against Maryborough Blazers, also on Saturday night.
The Blazers did some damage early to gain a lead of 19-2. That margin was too much for the Tigers, who eventually lost 80-62.
Missing several key players and with only seven players making the trip, the Tigers were always going to have a tough time of it.
Jess Mangan top-scored with 22 points.
The Kyneton men’s and women’s sides will host Swan Hill Flyers and then the Horsham Hornets this weekend.