Melton Thoroughbreds left it to the last second to seal a second win in the Big V men’s division 2 season.

Paul Nikoloff-King hit two of three free throws with no time left on the clock to give the Thoroughbreds a 79-78 win against Wallan Panthers on Saturday night.

Thoroughbreds coach Joe Hooks said it was a heart attack sort of game.

He said while he was confident Nikoloff-King could hit at least two of the three free throws, there was still plenty of nerves.

“I drew up a play and everyone executed what they had to.

“I know Paul is a good three-point shooter and good free throw shooter

“I’m pretty pleased with the boys who showed guts and showed pressure under fire.

“They did a fantastic job and everyone stepped up. Our import [Chris Johnson] how fouled out and he’s one of the best players in the competition.

“Everybody stepped up to fill that void.”

The Thoroughbreds led by seven points at half-time, before scores were level at the last break.

Johnson continued his good form, with 27 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and five steals before fouling out.

It was an important win for the new-look Thoroughbreds, who are still coming together as a team.

Just one player returned from last season’s team, Wol Wol Ngong.

Hooks said it wasn’t just the players who were different, but the style as well.

“We lost some good players like Dexter Graham and Emmanuel Malou and the other guys.

“Last season we were very athletic and exciting to watch. This year I think we’re a better shooting team.

“We’ve got guys taking on new roles and they’re starting to gel as a team.”

Hooks said while thrilled with the start to the season he knows there’s still a long way to go.

“They are starting to come together as a group sooner than I would have thought,” he said.

“They are just as good as team I have ever coached with every body gelling and working together and getting on the same page.

“It’s a good way to start, but there’s tougher games to come.

“We’ll take every game one week at a time and then refocus to take on the next game.

“There will be a couple of bumps in the road.”

The women’s side fell short against the Panthers in the earlier game.

The Panthers had control for more of the game, before the Thoroughbreds hit the front in the third quarter.

The Panthers found another level, despite injuries to two starters, and went on to win 83-64. Stacey Procak top scored with 20 points.


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