Altona Gators snapped a worrying three-game losing streak with a 93-84 win over Craigieburn Eagles in Big V basketball men’s division 2 on Saturday night.
The Gators improved their record to 3-4 with the win at Craigieburn Leisure Centre and face another must-win encounter away to Oakleigh (1-5) on Sunday.
“That will be a reset point for us if we can get a win,” Gators coach Des Radoslovic told Star Weekly. “It would get us to .500 and we should be back to full strength.”
Altona made a slow start to the match, and trailed by 10 points at quarter-time.
A clear issue for the Gators was their ball handling, with 11 turnovers in the first period.
They cleaned up their act and only coughed up the rock 11 more times for the remaining three quarters.
“We just had a shocking first quarter,” Radoslovic said.
“When you’re turning it over so much, it’s hard to get into a flow, so the offence wasn’t flowing as freely in the first quarter.
“To the guys credit, they got back and played a pretty solid all-round game for the remaining three quarters.”
All parts of Altona’s game began to click from the second quarter onwards.
They finally got stuck in on defence, a key ingredient which had been lacking in recent losses.
“A bit of a motto for us on defence is it’s a five-on-one mentality,” Radoslovic said.
“When one guy from the opposition is on the ball, there are five active defenders ready to act on the ball.
“We forced Craigieburn into a lot of tough shots and made their life harder.”
Having been stifled on offence in the first quarter, Altona burst to life on the offensive end, aided by some brilliant shooting from the three-point arc.
The Gators hit seven threes in the second quarter alone and went 14 from 25 in the game.
Joey Mausar was lethal from deep, draining four threes among his 26 points.
Brent Radoslovic (three), Dogukan Elyazar and Patrick Green (two each) also hit multiple three-pointers.
It was not only the finishing, but the build-up play that pleased the coach the most.
“It wasn’t just somebody getting a hot hand and hitting really tough shots,” Radoslovic said.
“We got a lot of good team shots with extra passes and getting teammates open.”
Mausar and centre Tyson Burton were outstanding for the Gators.
Mausar’s cake was his 26 points, but the cream on top was his four assists and three steals.
Burton was happy to crash bodies inside the paint for an important 20 points and eight rebounds.
Mausar (8 from 10) and Burton (8 from 8) shot a combined 16 from 18 from the free throw line.
“Those guys were extremely efficient,” Radoslovic said. “They both scored in the 20s on minimal shots.”
Meanwhile, Altona Gators were soundly beaten 94-61 by Blackburn Vikings in the Big V women’s division 2.
A positive to come out of the loss was the performance of Alysha Carden-David, who had 24 points and 11 rebounds in the same week she scooped the April player-of-the-month award.
Craig Bennett was named men’s youth league coach of the month after taking the young Gators to a 5-1 record in April.