Ish Sanders took over in the final quarter to help the Sunbury Jets take a 1-0 lead against the Shepparton Gators in their Big V men’s division 1 semi-final series.
With home court advantage in game one, the Jets were made to work hard for the win.
They trailed by three points at quarter-time, before trailing by 10 points at half-time.
The margin was back to one point at the final break.
In a high-scoring final quarter, the Jets fired to run away with the 94-86 win.
Jets coach Ryan Addison said it was big to get game one of the series, especially since they hadn’t beaten the Gators this season.
He said they struggled a bit at both ends of the court in the first half.
“We weren’t where we needed to be with our defensive rotations and we were missing some shots we would normally make,” he said.
“Our defence could have been better.”
Addison said they were able to switch on defensively in the third quarter, restricting the Gators to 13 points.
The ball then started dropping at the other end, with a massive 35 points in the final quarter.
“We kept them to 13 points in the third quarter and that propelled us into the final quarter,” Addison said.
“The last quarter was massive for us.”
The star of the show in the last term was Sanders– he scored 33 points, 19 of those coming in the final quarter.
“He didn’t struggle early on, but he wasn’t hitting his usual shots,” Addison said.
“A couple fell in the fourth quarter. He steps up when needed.
“He was outstanding and got us over the line.”
Arthur Trousdell scored 20 points, while Nathan Baker and Kris Blicavs also scored double figures.
Addison said the experience of Trousdell and Blicavs really showed through when needed.
“Arthur shot well and it looked like every shot he was going for was going in.
“He stepped up and shot the three, which we haven’t seen for a few weeks.
“Kris’ communication on defence was really good. They’ve both played a lot of basketball at a higher level.”
The Sunbury Jets are on the road for game two, and if needed game three.
Addison said it will be a tough ask to come away with the series win and grab a spot in the grand final series.
“I think we’re in a good spot,” he said.
“Shepparton is a tough place to play and we’ve got two games to get into the next round.
“We’ll look to get it done on the Saturday night.”
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