By Russell Bennett
The Pakenham Warriors’ Big V basketball teams made it a perfect five from five across the weekend as their senior men’s, youth league men’s, and youth league women’s teams won each of their games in a perfect weekend for the club.
Brent Russell’s men’s side backed up their 93-85 win at home over the Altona Gators on Saturday with an 86-80 triumph away to Wallan on Sunday.
Big man Brad Bridgewater was simply outstanding across both games, with 28 points and 13 boards on nearly 80 per cent shooting on Saturday, followed by 25 points on 83 per cent shooting, 14 boards, and 2 blocks on the Sunday.
“It was our first double-header for the season and our focus during the week was recovery in between each game to make sure we were as best we could be leading into second game of the weekend, which was the game of the round,” Russell said. “Altona came out on fire and have shown why they have been on a winning streak over the last few rounds.
“We just had a lot of Thursday’s training slip into this game – lazy passes, silly turnovers, ball watching, and no communication, so I think it was a good wake-up call and something we will definitely be touching on this week at training.”
But the Warriors pulled through when it counted in overtime, with some more spectacular highlight plays from Bridgewater – including a spectacular alley-oop to force the overtime period in the first place.
“The local support and crowd that night was huge, and again the boys fed off that so a big thank you to the crowd for their support,” Russell said.
On Mother’s Day, the senior side headed to Wallan for a top-of-the-table clash.
The Warriors expected the home side to come out firing, but perhaps not as emphatically as what transpired – 28 points in the first quarter and 53 for the first half while holding the Warriors to just 35.
“The half-time message was don’t stop, keep pushing – our run will come,” Russell said, saying disciplined defence and strong communication were also huge determining factors in turning the game around.
“The fight in the guys to come back after being down 20 points at one stage early in the third shows how much heart they have.
“Not once did they give up and they pushed each other over the line and walked away for the win.
“Our goal was 2-0 for the weekend and to walk away after the weekend and go 2-0 was a great outcome for us.”
The Warriors youth league men were even more emphatic in their two crushing wins – by 41 points over Chelsea on Saturday – 104-63, and 42 over Wallan on Sunday – 89-47. Tobie Dean led the way on Saturday with 20 points, with 17 apiece from Lee Belton and Tom Greer, while point guard Matt D’Arcy – fresh from his stint in the US – returned for a special appearance before heading in for shoulder surgery.
On the Sunday, Aidan Jenkinson led the way with 17 points, 5 boards, and 3 assists as the Warriors forced Wallan into 37 turnovers. Simo Pajdic’s men now sit on top of the table with a 10-2 record.
Finally, Darren Thomas’ youth league women’s team recorded a double-digit win – 58-43 – in Rosebud over the Southern Peninsula Sharks off the back of a stat-stuffing 16 points, 9 boards, 6 steals, 4 assists and 3 blocks from Ellie Coutts and 18 points and 8 boards from Emily Patterson.