A FINAL-quarter fadeout cost Warrnambool Seahawks a chance for back-to-back Big V wins on Saturday night.
The Seahawks, without star import Sai’Quon Stone and forward Liam Killey, suffered a 96-82 away loss to Melton Thoroughbreds.
They were five points adrift at the final change and ran out of steam.
It was a see-sawing contest.
Melton’s blistering start put Warrnambool on the back foot early.
It was 10 points in arrears at quarter-time.
The Seahawks made an emphatic response in the second term, closing the gap to one point at the main break.
Coach Bobby Cunningham said the eight-man Warrnambool squad showed resilience.
“Being a little undermanned, I thought we played hard and I thought the boys played together,” he said.
“We made a run and took them and took the lead and were up 53 to 48 and I thought ‘we’re about to get our second win here’. But a lot of us were in foul trouble and we fell away in the fourth quarter.”
Cunningham said there were “a lot of good signs”.
He said Seahawks debutant Tom Fary provided a spark when he hit the floor.
“His first shot of the game was nothing but net,” Cunningham said.
“It looked like he’d been here for years.
“He was the instigator. He got us going the second quarter.
“He got fouled out — that is the physicality he played with.
“The kid picked up nine fouls in nine minutes.”
Forward duo James Mitchell (25 points) and Tim Gainey (24) were instrumental, while guard Justin Wallace dropped 17 points.
“Tim hit five three-pointers and James got three or four,” Cunningham said.
“They shot the ball well and Justin was good.”
Cunningham said the Seahawks were confident Stone would play for the club in its first home game against Altona at the Arc on Saturday night.
He said it was important Warrnambool made the most of its home-court advantage.
“Good job to Melton Thoroughbreds. They played well in their gym,” he said.
“They did what they’re supposed to do and protected their home and that’s what we have to do on Saturday.”
Tip off on Saturday is 7pm.