BASKETBALL: Panthers Reflect On Interesting Season

Unstoppable: Newcastle’s leading scorer Mat McGovern evades Ben Ellsworth (front) and Rob Crane (rear) to score against the Panthers. Photo courtesy of Noel Rowsell.Penrith’s senior men’s basketball team suffered one of its worst results of the 2012 Waratah Championship League (WCL) season on Saturday night, falling 88-48 to the Newcastle Hunters in Newcastle.
Nanjing Night Net

Penrith head coach Jeff Cooper said “Newcastle fielded a full-strength team against us this time and I don’t think some of our players had their minds on the game”.

“They (Newcastle) are the team to beat for this year’s title”.

Newcastle were in front from the opening whistle on Saturday night, leading 21-16, 42-30 and 67-40 at the end of the first three quarters respectively.

The home team then rubbed the Panthers noses in the result, by closing out the final quarter 21-8 to record an impressive 40-point win.

It was grim retribution for the Panthers shock 76-69 win over the Hunters at the Penrith Valley Regional Sports Centre back on July 15.

On that occasion, the visitors had played without their American import Deion Sims and also lost head coach Darren Nicholls during the early stages of the game, when he was ejected from the stadium.

Sims obviously had a point to prove on Saturday night and led the Hunters with 16 points, whilst coach Nicholls didn’t hold his team back when victory was in the bag, urging them on to a win by a significant margin.

Coach Cooper said “Looking back, I’m pleased with the season and I’m happy with six wins”.

“Towards the end (of the season) we were getting much better and some of our players have been on a steep learning curve”.

“The Penrith Board will be meeting in a few weeks time to assess both our results and the senior program and they will make any decisions regarding 2013 at that time”.

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