Cavaliers take the Warriors out of… being close

Stuck in a Maccabi sandwich, Casey's Matt Pebole gets fouled on his way to the hoop. 122189 Picture: JARROD POTTER


DRIP-BY-DRIP Casey expunged Maccabi’s winning chances as the Cavaliers ran out 73-54 victors on Sunday.
Without lighting up the court or doing anything drastic, Casey flexed its muscles to show it is a powerhouse in Big V Division 2. With Casey employing full-court defence on Maccabi, Casey was able to steal the ball frequently and keep the Warriors on the backfoot at The Fortress.
Mr Reliable Matt Witherden (27 points, 13 rebounds) was on track for a monster tally before getting some well-earned bench-time and earned the coach’s praise for his on-court knowledge and tactical ability at both ends of the court.
Casey’s golden hands managed to dish off 10-assists-to-three for the match as Jono Hawes (4 pints, 5 rebounds) and Matt Pebole (13 points, 7 rebounds) dragged in three apiece.
Coach Stewart Baird had the luxury of rotating his squad at will, with Pebole the only player to notch more than 30 minutes court time.
“That actually wasn’t pre-planned – it just played out that way,” Baird said.
“we wanted a focus of full court-pressure – especially the guards – and when we do that Muss is in his early 30s… we’ve got to run bodies through… we’ve got Steve (Michalski) and Brad (Szalek) and Mick (Batley) who can do that.”
Despite getting dressed in the dark – having rocked up to the stadium wearing one yellow and one purple shoe – Casey’s Ash Szalek (7 points) pestered the Maccabi defence from his limited court time.
With marquee matches on the horizon – including a likely battle for top spot against Shepparton – Baird was pleased with his side’s effort and felt the rest would prove critical in weeks to come.
“It was good to get everyone reasonable good minutes and we’ve got Pakenham next week then Shepparton here which is showing that it’s going to be the playoff for top spot,” Baird said.
“We’ve got some huge games coming up and Pakenham – they’ve had a tough year – but they’ll be up to face us, so any rest you can give the guys is great.”
The second place Cavaliers face Pakenham at Cardinia Life on Saturday evening from 6pm.
Casey women had to dig deep to not only knock off a dogged Blackburn team, but also to keep in touch with the top four.
The hard work came from Lara Pauline (12 points), Sammy Johnson (11 points) and the combined four-five force of Alex Keates, Natalie Dowdy, Jess Szalek and Cassie Bridge.
Casey improves to a 9-5 record and the Cavaliers have the weekend off before their Round 14 clash with Shepparton Gators.
Back-to-back wins for Casey’s youth men enabled Phil Thomas’ Cavaliers to stay atop the Youth League Two table with a 9-3 record.
The youth men knocked off Southern Peninsula 79-67, with Sean Mckinnon (19 points, 13 rebounds) starring in the win, and Melton 70-54 on Sunday as Ryan Sinclair (22 points) led the charge.
The youth men head to Morning on Sunday afternoon