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The Maryborough Supa IGA Blazers remain undefeated at home after round seven of the Country Basketball League – North East Conference after defeating Echuca Pirates by 43 points on Saturday night.

This was the Blazers’ fifth victory this season and on the final buzzer it was decisive, 102-59.

Maryborough came out firing with coach Matt Johnston hitting back-to-back three pointers to open up a 6-0 lead in the opening minute.

Echuca was quick to respond though with some excellent shooting of its own.

Halfway through the first quarter, Pirates had opened up an eight point lead but Maryborough closed the quarter well and went in at the first break three points down, 20-23.

The second term was all Blazers as they scored 30 points to 12.

Sam Johnston was inspirational off the bench with some great defensive work while Trent Piera got his running game going and was able to make some easy lay ups.

Maryborough went into the half time break with a 15 point lead, 50-35 and looked to have taken control of the game.

The third quarter was even with the teams trading baskets.

Youngsters Matt Herd and Ty Stewart got into the match and showed they weren’t out of their depth.

Foul trouble meant Peter Egan, Jason Stewart and Jayden Bott were forced to spend extended time on the bench but at three quarter time, the Blazers led 73-52.

With Echuca tiring, the Blazers were able to run out the last quarter in fine style and outscored the Pirates 29-7.

Maryborough’s fast paced style of play tired the eight Echuca players and the Blazers won by 43 points – 102-59.

Blazers’ coach, Matt Johnston, was in devastating form shooting 43 points and he was well assisted by Piera with 28 and big man Jason Stewart with 12.

Johnston was happy with his team’s performance . . . “Very happy with the big win tonight. We started a bit slowly but I thought Sam (Johnston) came off the bench and did some things to really lift the team. We shot the ball well though and when we can get our running game going, we are hard to stop.”

The Supa IGA Blazers head to Wangaratta tonight in what is a vital match for their finals chances.

The Maryborough coach said, “We’ve got another big test against Wangaratta but we are definitely on the right track. These games against teams lower on the ladder are must wins, especially on the road, as we can’t afford to drop any matches for the rest of the season.”

Maryborough heads into the game without big man Jason Stewart who is a major loss as Wangaratta has 7’1” Todd Dalton in its line-up.

Wangaratta will struggle to contain the Blazers’ guards though and if Maryborough can play its uptempo game it will trouble the Warriors.

Maryborough’s next home game is on Sunday, December 20 against the Albury Cougars.

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