Ararat Redbacks coach Marcus Jenkins has praised his depleted side's performances in what he said was a 'character-building' weekend.
The Redbacks fought valiantly in their 129-60 loss against the Horsham Hornets on Saturday night, before rebounding to secure an 85-73 win against third-place Colac Kookas the following day.
"I was really happy with how the boys dug deep and stayed in the game. We were shallow, and we lacked in numbers. Injuries and sickness have really hit us hard over the past couple of weeks," Jenkins said.
"For both games, we only had seven players.
"To the boys' credit, they still played hard. I was happy with the boys' performance against Horsham, and then against Colac, we ended up getting a win.
Dj Woods was the Redbacks' best against the benchmark Hornets, claiming 20 points.
"Against Horsham, we played really good basketball in patches. They're a great outfit and very well coached by Tim Pickert. They know their stuff," Jenkins said.
It was a collective performance that saw the Redbacks edge out Colac.
"Colac had two legitimately big men, and we kept them under control. We just played gritty basketball, and kept chipping away," Jenkins said. "At half-time, we could have gone either way. In that third-quarter, we could have gone into our shell, but to the boys' credit, they dug deep. It was a great team game."
The Redbacks trailed by three points heading into the final quarter and held their nerve in a tense finish.
"We just came home with a wet sail. That last quarter we played really good basketball," Jenkins said. "The win (against Colac) was great for us. It just proves to the team that what we do works. It was a really good character-building win.
"As a coach, it's not all about the wins and the losses. With the boys, it's more about building character. They're small steps but as long as we keep pushing forward and get the results."
Meanwhile, a 16-point haul to Joel Freeland was a highlight for the Stawell Wildcats in a tough 122-57 loss on the road against the Millicent Magic.
The Redbacks and Wildcats meet in Ararat on Saturday night.
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