The tide is starting to turn for Altona Gators in the Big V men’s division 2.
The Gators have won three of their past five matches and are beginning to look a lot more like a team unit rather than a mishmash of different parts.
“We definitely think we’ve turned the corner,” Gators coach Des Radoslovic said.
“We’re integrating the new players into the team.
“We’ve been trying to find the right recipe and trying to tweak things here and there.”
Altona started the season with four straight losses.
The Gators went into the last quarter in all of those still in with a chance of victory, so they were not too far off.
Their results have improved markedly in recent weeks.
An 88-72 win over the Sherbrooke Suns was probably the best team performance of the season.
“It was the overall engagement and chemistry from the entire group for the full four quarters that made the difference,” Radoslovic said.
“There was a big emphasis on getting everybody involved and having everybody engaged in the contest.
“Even the guys on the bench were engaged in the game at all times.”
Radoslovic has been searching for the winning formula, mixing and matching his line-ups.
He found a formula that worked in the 16-point win over Sherbrooke, making the bold move of sending Jovan Bojanic to the bench to play with the second unit.
It freed up Bojanic to play a bit more aggressively and it gave Joey Mausar an important ally.
They both led the team in plus-minus.
“I decided to have those guys come in with the bench unit to give them more freedom and a longer leash to play their natural games,” Radoslovic said.
“I would do it again because it worked.”
Bojanic finished with 16 points and five rebounds, while Mausar led Altona in scoring with 25 points to go with three assists and three steals.
It was Mausar’s best game since returning from the street ball circuit.
“He is a legend around the Melbourne street ball competitions,” Radoslovic said.
“He was adjusting to getting back and playing in a more structured form of basketball.”
Nate Coory was the pick of the Altona starting five. He finished with 20 points, six rebounds and three assists, but he too spent time on court with Mausar, who ran the point and freed up his role in the team.
“Even though Nate’s young, he’s running the whole team, so he’s got the ball in his hands the whole time,” Radoslovic said.
“Generally he has to create all of his own scores, he has to beat his man, he has to come off the screen, very rarely does he get the chance to space the floor while someone else is creating for a catch and shoot.”
Altona Gators have improved to 3-6 on the season.
Altona Gators will go in search of an upset when they travel to play the fifth-placed Pakenham Warriors (6-2) on Saturday night.
MORE BIG V NEWS