It what was somewhat of a mirror image of last season’s grand final, Shepparton Gators came from behind to beat the Seymour Blasters 67 to 63 on Saturday night.
The Blasters held a good lead for most of the night, only to see the Gators draw level with about one minute to go. The Blasters gained a one-point lead, but the Gators converted two free throws with a couple of seconds left to win by four points.
In a low-scoring first quarter at the Seymour Sports and Aquatic Centre, the Blasters went ahead at the break 10-8 thanks to a three-pointer from Jack Huxtable right on the buzzer.
At half-time the home team led 34-25 and held the ascendancy until six minutes to go when Shepparton evened the score at 56-all.
Blasters’ coach Craig Hockley said turnovers and missed chances hurt the team, but he was impressed with the control his players kept during the game.
The Gators’ defence kept the normally reliable smaller brigade of the Blasters — Jack Murphy, Jordan Hockley and Robbie Sartori — to 19 points between them.
Seymour’s scoring was held together by a game-high 23 from Liam Killey and 13 to Leo Viitala.
●Without their main scorer, Leah Swain, the Seymour Lady Blasters struggled to get on the scoreboard against a talented Shepparton Lady Gators.
While the team struggled on the scoreboard, coach Hockley was happy with the girls on the court, who stepped up and showed improvement in their games.
Only a solo effort by Rosie O’Sullivan with a game-high 25 points gave the home team any respectability.
The visitors won 74 to 48.
The Blasters will take on Wallan Panthers at Wallan on Saturday.