Kyneton Tigers opened their account with an important win against the Bacchus Marsh Lions in the Country Basketball League north-west competition.
Facing the Lions for the first time, the Tigers knew they needed to be in the game from the start. While they trailed early, scores were level at quarter-time.
The Tigers raised the ante in the second quarter and led by 13 points at half-time.
An attacking Lions side reduced the margin to eight points at the last break.
The Tigers held their nerve late to win, 81-73.
Tigers coach Ash Clark said it was good to get some reward for effort.
He said while they had never played the Lions, they knew many of the players through the Big V competition.
“It’s definitely good to get the win,” he said.
“We focused on a good start as we knew it was important.
“The first two games we’ve let them get away easily and couldn’t catch them.
“We were able to get the good start.”
Clark said the key was that everyone stood up when needed.
“All the players did their bit and rotated through. The blokes coming on really put in and made an impact.
“We don’t have a team of superstars. We need contributions from everyone and everyone contributed.”
Carson McSweeney was the standout for the Tigers, coming off the bench. He top scored with 17 points.
Clark said McSweeney provided points when they really needed it.
Matt Bourke (14 points), Matt Quinn and Louis Bongiovanni (13 points each) also scored double figures.
Clark said they were hoping the win would give them some confidence heading into the next part of the season.
The Tigers have been up and down in their two completed seasons to date.
“We’ve been focusing on the effort and energy and hopefully we’ll get some results,” Clark said. “We’re still yet to gel properly, but we started to do that last night.”
The Tigers have a similar line-up to the past two years but Clark said they had more depth with a couple of key additions.
Mangan, who played in the Tigers’ first season, returns to the line-up.
Iggy Spiller, who spent time in America at college, made his debut for the Tigers at the weekend and scored eight points.
Clark said they would like to make finals.
“We believe they are a possibility. It’s a close competition and there’s been some interesting results already.”
The Tigers’ women’s side had a bye.
In the only match in the division next weekend, the Tigers travel to Swan Hill to play the Swan Hill Lady Flyers.