Kyneton Tigers had a mixed start to the Country Basketball League men’s north-west season.

The Tigers split their opening two matches, losing to Mildura Heat 83-61 on Saturday night, before a big win on Sunday against the Swan Hill Flyers.

It was a much better performance from the Tigers on Sunday, as they beat the Flyers 82-44.

Aidan Darmanin top scored with 21 points, as four players scored double figures.

New coach Mick Ryan is excited by what he sees.

He replaces Matt Bourke who is just concentrating on playing this season.

Ryan was part of the playing group last season, but having retired, is looking forward to taking on the coaching reins.

“I’ve done bits and pieces of coaching the last five to six years,” he said.

“This is my first season coaching adults at any level.

“Ash Clarke asked me to take on the role. It’s a good way to stay involved in the program.

“There’s a lot of local young talent with a lot of upside in them and I love coaching and want to do it as much as possible.”

Ryan said this season’s squad has a bit more depth than last season’s team which won just three games in its first season.

He said all their starters have Big V experience which will be important.

“Matt Quinn will be our starting centre,” Ryan said.

“Aidan [Darmanin] will be our point guard, while Louie [Bongiovanni] will be our shooting guard. We expect big things from our back court.

“Tom Scott, who plays for Altona Gators, is another local, while Carson McSweeney adds a bit of depth.

“Matt Bourke also has Big V experience. It’s a solid six players with experience.”

Ryan said he expected those guys to help mentor some of the younger players.

He said the likes of Ethan Clark, Hayden Boyer and Brendan McCarthy are players to watch in the future.

Looking ahead, Ryan said the team will be stronger than in its debut season.

“The returning players have more maturity physically and basketball-wise,” he said.

“We’re looking forward to it. We’re under no illusion that it’s a tough league.

“We want to be competitive in every game. We want to play finals and represent the region with pride.”

The women’s side started their season with a 61-49 loss to the Lady Flyers.


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