A STRONG all-round performance from the Portland Coasters has put them a point clear of the competition in the South West Conference of the Country Basketball League.
The Coasters started the game against the Colac Kookas with seven unanswered points and did not give up their lead for the entirety of the match, leading at every interval.
The Coasters eventually finished with an 86-74 win over Colac, courtesy of 21 points from Pat Burgoyne, 17 from Nathan Hardingham, 14 from David Denboer and 10 from Toby Jennings.
Portland looked composed throughout the match, and shot well from all areas of the court, especially beyond the three-point arc.
They started the game off on the right foot, showing intensity and a hunger for buckets, which was not reciprocated on Colac’s part.
Portland finished the first quarter with a 24-13 lead, and were assured heading into the break, able to break down Colac’s defence inside the key.
Colac came into the second quarter firing, however, and the Coasters did well to hold them off at six points before finding their shooting again, thanks to some fine defensive efforts on the part of Denboer and Jennings.
At half-time, Portland led 42-31, and from that point Colac did not string together enough buckets to be able to whittle down the deficit.
The Coasters led 66-49 at three-quarter time and would go on to win the match by 12 points.
Such a comfortable win against the side who are third in the table is a good sign for Portland, who are almost a certainty to make finals at this point.
Coasters coach Rebel Noter was very pleased with his side’s effort.
“We always new Colac were going to be a tough team to beat,” Noter said.
“They’ve got some big players and nice shooters.
“Discipline let them down a bit, but our guys played really well.”
With two regular starters, Jackson Dunlop and Trenton Johnston, unavailable for the match, it was perhaps going to be a tough game for a younger Portland against one of the competition’s traditionally stronger sides.
Noter was pleased with how his players rose to this challenge.
“With two starters out of the team, someone had to step up, and I think Toby Jennings did well to do that.
“Everyone that stepped on the court did their bit.
“Young JJ (Jeremy-Jake Hollander) and Burt (Jack Burton) attacked the basket.
“Just the confidence was good to see.”