On Sunday, it was the first home game of the season for Maryborough Blazers as they clashed with the Swan Hill Flyers.
In a nailbiting finish, the Supa IGA Blazers managed a one point victory. In front of a large crowd, the Blazers controlled the first quarter but were unable to capitalise and only went into the quarter time break one point up.
The second term was all Maryborough as the team outscored the Flyers 21-11 to take an 11 point half time lead.
The Flyers came out firing in the third quarter and reduced Maryborough’s lead to seven points at the last break.
This set up a thrilling final term as Swan Hill carried the momentum and quickly took the lead.
With minutes remaining on the clock, the Flyers were up by six points before a spirited Supa IGA Blazers comeback. Led by coach Matt Johnston who had 13 final quarter points, Maryborough fought its way back into the game.
With four seconds remaining on the clock, the Blazers trailed by a point with the ball at half way.
Lachlan McDonald found Johnston with a pass and a basket resulted and he was also fouled, much to the delight of the home crowd and players.
A foul sent Swan Hill to the foul line but both shots were missed giving the Supa IGA Blazers a one point win in a thriller.
It was a fitting end to an entertaining game of basketball.
Coach Johnston praised the efforts of all players but made special mention of recruit McDonald, “Lach’s defence and intensity lifted the whole team and his work rate is amazing. When him and Corny (Travis Cornwill) entered the game and put some pressure on their ball handlers, it turned the game around.”
Johnston finished the match with 29 points and was well supported by Eddie Prato and Trent Piera.
For the season opener on Saturday night, Maryborough travelled to Seymour to face the Blasters. After a slow start, the Supa IGA Blazers found found itself trailing by 21 points at the end of the first quarter.
Maryborough was able to pull the deficit back to 15 points at the end of the third quarter but was unable to close the gap any further and Seymour ran out 29 point victors.
Sam Flynn, in his first game, was excellent and hit a team lifting three pointer while the Johnston brothers, Sam and Matt, were also good for the Blazers.
This weekend, the Supa IGA Blazers face the daunting Albury-Wodonga road trip.
Coach Johnston said “Both teams are very strong again this year and will each play a big role in the finals. We’ll go in at almost full strength and are hoping to reach push both teams and hopefully get at least one win.”
Maryborough faces Wodonga Wolves tomorrow night and Albury Cougars on Sunday afternoon.