A return to CBL basketball continues to be a season of few joys, with the Swan Hill Men's Flyers still winless from seven games, going down to the third placed Mildura Heat 53-40.
Swan Hill coach Kane Sparks was disappointed with the outcome.
"They were undermanned going into the game, they had a few of their key players out to injury," Sparks said.
"I thought Saturday night was a really good opportunity to get a win, and unfortunately it just didn't quite happen."
While Mildura took the lead for the majority of the first quarter, the Flyers were within a basket's reach of the Heat's margin throughout before trailing by two points at the first buzzer (12-10).
Swan Hill were unwilling to let off, and snatched the lead within the first minute of the second term, with Eugene Omiona producing the goods, with consecutive baskets from inside the key.
However, being a low scoring affair, the Heat were able to score a couple of quick baskets late to even the ledger heading into the second half.
Sparks credited his men for the attacking prowess they placed going forward as the Flyers were showing signs they were a cohesive unit on the court.
"We moved and shared the ball really well. We didn't force a lot of shots and just really attacked the paint," he said.
But as with previous games, fatigue began to set in and with Omiona committing his fourth and fifth personal fouls within two seconds of each other, meant the Flyers were down one off the bench with more than 14 minutes left in the game.
Lapses in their defensive set up became glaringly evident to the Heat, who began to take full advantage, forcing the issue to take a 13-point lead into the final change.
The Flyers had no answers, either, and with Tom Gilbert fouling out with just under five minutes remaining, the Heat had plenty at their disposal to maintain a 13-point win.
Sparks is adamant the Flyers still had their chances in the second-half, but a loss of energy hurt their ability to convert.
"We could not hit a shot to be honest. We had a lot of really good openings, but just couldn't hit a shot," he said.
"The second half, we just shot a lot from outside and didn't head to the basket enough.
"We didn't rebound the ball very well and our ball movement sort of slowed down after halftime, which really hurt us."
He admitted the Heat team were just too well-drilled in comparison on the night.
"They just grinded away, they're very good at sticking to structure and they are a very well structured side.
"So our structures broke down and theirs stayed together and that was sort of the difference overall," he said.
The Flyers coach was particularly impressed with youngster Nyawi Moore, not only top scored with nine points, including two from outside the paint, but was a presence across the court.
To read more about this story, grab a copy of Wednesday's Guardian (November 29).