Big V: Melton Thoroughbreds get the shakes

MELTON’S unsettled opening to the Big V Basketball season continued on Saturday as the Thoroughbreds caved late to lose by five points to the Coburg Giants.

The departure of coach Aaron Christian at the end of pre-season is being felt as Melton fell to zero-and-two in division 2 with the 62-67 home loss.

The new coach is Grant Spencer, a Melton local who has had a number of SEABL and NBL roles.

But there is still work to be done after Melton’s 13-point third-quarter lead evaporated.

The Thoroughbreds led by 12 at half-time and appeared to be escaping with the game midway through the third quarter as tempers frayed.

Three quick successive fouls for pushing away from the ball had both teams losing focus, but Melton was still up by double figures.

Coburg made its move in the last five minutes of the term, pegging the score back to 54-47 at the final change.

The surge continued in the last, with consecutive buckets for Michael McCallum (11 points) keeping Melton in front.

But when Coburg’s Kieran Maguire hit a three with 2.30 remaining the Giants were up 62-60 and Melton was unable to re-take the lead.

Jordan Kirk scored 15 points for the Thoroughbreds as Melton’s only other scorer in double figures.

Spencer has taken the reins as coach after Aaron Christian’s forced departure due to a job promotion.

The Melton-based coach has previous Big V stints as an assistant at Keilor and Hume City; he coached Ballarat’s under-23s in the SEABL and was head coach for nine games of the Ballarat seniors when head coach Guy Molloy was unavailable.

He was going to be an assistant for Dandenong’s women in the SEABL this season before answering the call from his home town.

“I was called by the board and the committee made the decision on the Wednesday night before the first game.

“I had no previous association with the club other than knowing the president [Lucas Bourke] and basketball manager [Todd Anderson].

“I’m probably lucky with the system Aaron runs; I have some good knowledge of. It was difficult coming in with one practice before playing the first game.

“It’s going to be a work in progress over the next four to six weeks.

“I’m lucky because Jeff Crowe, Jordan Kirk and Michael McCallum have played for me at Ballarat.

“The talent level is a difference and that’s a learning curve for me as a coach.

“To ply my trade with a team that needs to unite as a group and work on skill, it’ll be tough but I’ve got high expectations. Hopefully the guys buy into my system and we get better.”