Craigieburn Eagles are slowing building their win tally as they side search for a finals berth in Big V men’s division 2.

After an up-and-down start to the season, the Eagles have won their past five matches and momentum.

Facing a tough run home, Eagles coach Simon Wilson has been focused on the task at hand.

“I hadn’t realised that we’d won five games in a row – we’ve been going one game at a time,” he said.

“We’ve got a tough finish, with five tough games in a row. Hopefully, we’ll get a few more wins.”

Wilson said an inconsistent line-up earlier in the season had been an issue, but they were starting to get their full line-up back.

He said one benefit of the line-up struggle had been giving youth league players opportunities to step up.

On Saturday night, the Eagles had no issues in accounting for the Altona Gators, winning 79-46.

The Eagles won every quarter, allowing them to build the lead throughout despite neither team shooting well.

Wilson was happy with the performance.

“We didn’t shoot that particularly well,” he said.

“We were more focused on our defensive output. They have some good shooters, so the boys just stayed to the defensive assignments.”

Last year’s co-league most valuable player Damon Smith was the stand-out.

He finished with 18 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists, just falling short of a triple-double.

“He’s found some form,” Wilson said. “He was also looking for his teammates as well.”

 With co-captain Liam Watts and Jackson Wynne both missing, Jesse Ross stepped up from youth league to make his senior debut.

The win moves the Eagles into top six. They are fifth, having played one less game than most of the others in the top six.

Wilson said they were aiming to finish in the top four to give themselves a better shot come finals time.

“It’s a quality top six this year,” he said. “It’s a stronger level and the competition has stepped up. With NBL1 coming into effect, a lot of players have moved around and there’s a lot more state champ players in our league.

“It’s more challenging, but a better league to play in.”

It was a mixed weekend for the Eagles in women’s division.

On Saturday night, they beat Latrobe City Energy 93-78 before losing to the Chelsea Gulls 70-50.

Craigieburn Eagles are fourth.


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