CBL | Gators look to book in CBL finals

By Alex Mitchell

Fresh from the best win of their season, the Shepparton Gators will look to keep things rolling tonight in their final regular Country Basketball League season game.

The Gators, who snapped a five-game losing streak with a brilliant win against Seymour, are third on the north-east ladder and would lock in playoffs with a win against Wangaratta.

Sitting at 5-6, the Gators would love a win to square the ledger at 6-6 and take momentum into finals, which start in a fortnight.

“If we can get the win we'll be six points clear and guaranteed a spot, so that's what we're after,” coach Brett Bathman said.

“It's a big game at home and we want to get that win and keep the season going.”

The Gators won by 30 points when the sides met in October, but to say it was a different line-up would be putting things mildly, with stars Javaan Mumtaz and Atem Atem heaving left the side since then.

“I wasn't there the first time we played them and we had a full squad that game, which was when we still had Atem and Javaan, so we won by 30,” Bathman said.

“It will be a tough game, we'll have a few missing like Nick Dodd who's got work again.

“Jordy (Michel) is in Wodonga all week (at the Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup), so we'll get him after he's seven or eight games in a week, and played the whole 40 on Saturday night. Hopefully he's not too tired but he's only 16.”

Michel dropped nine points last time he faced the 4-5 Wolves, but he relished the chance to lead the Gators’ offence last weekend in scoring 30 points, and he will be keen to continue to produce like that after representative duty this week.

David Gillespie has also emerged as a key player for the Gators, scoring 7.3 points a game while being active on the glass.

● Shepparton's Lady Gators face a similar situation at the weekend, needing a win to book a spot in the finals.

Facing Wangaratta tonight, the Gators are level on wins with Myrtleford, but with the Saints having two games in hand, a win tonight looms as a must.

The Gators won well when they last faced the Warriors, 70-54, but they have been a touch up and down in recent times, winning two and losing two in their past four games.