Winning start for Melton Thoroughbreds

Dexter Graham. Picture Shawn Smits.

By Tara Murray

Melton Thoroughbreds held off a fast finishing Southern Peninsula Sharks to keep their Big V men’s division 1 season alive.

The Thoroughbreds started out strongly in the elimination final and by half-time held a 12-point lead.

The Sharks tried to come back and pushed the margin to one point in the last quarter.

However, Thoroughbreds would not concede and won 78-75.

Thoroughbreds coach Joe Hooks said he could not have been happier with the result.

He said holding the lead in the final quarter was vital.

“We knew if we had a good start we had to maintain it, as we knew they would make a run at some point,” he said.

“In the third quarter they pushed us, but we were able to maintain a small lead.

“In the last two-three minutes they really pushed us. We were able to play some great defence.

“We’re lucky guys like Dexter [Graham] and Emmanuel [Malou] can play multiple positions.

“I was very happy with the result.”

Hooks was full of praise for the Sharks, and said they had taught them a lot about how to improve their own game.

Graham top scored with 18 points, while Malou had 16 points. Mangar Manyang came off the bench and contributed 16 points.

Hooks said Wol Wol Ngong and skipper Jordan Kirk were the unsung heroes in the win.

“Wol suffered a big cut across his head and we lost him for about two quarters,” he said.

“Kirky, we call the old faithful, stepped up big time in the first quarter and set the tone for the rest of the night.”

The Thoroughbreds now face the Coburg Giants in a best of three semi-finals series.

The winner goes through to the grand final.

The two sides split their regular season games.

Game one of the semis will be played at Melton and Hooks has a clear message for the club’s supporters.

“Please everyone, show up and pack the gym out,” he said.

“The boys really want to play in front of a packed house.”

Meanwhile, the season is over for the Thoroughbreds youth league men’s division 2 side.

In was an up and down game for the Thoroughbreds against the Craigieburn Eagles.

Both sides had some big scoring quarters, but the Eagles came out on top 115-104.

Five Thoroughbreds players scored double figures, including Bol Bak, Koby Skenderis and Milan Savic who all scored more than 20 points.

The loss ended just the second time the Thoroughbreds have made youth league finals.