Ararat Redbacks enjoyed the ideal start to the Country Basketball League on Saturday, January 9, as they picked up a well-earned win in Portland.
Having narrowly lost to Portland Coasters last season, the Redbacks showed significant improvement to win 84-72.
Redbacks player Cody Lindsay said he was pleased to start the season with a win.
"For our first game it wasn't too bad," he said.
"They were a fairly young side so they were running and gunning it and it was the first time us boys had been playing together, so it was a pretty good start."
Lindsay said the team had been aided by how quickly its recruits had settled in.
"I think they've fitted in right away," he said.
"Most of them we knew already, so they've gelled very well."
Redbacks coach Marcus Jenkins had emphasised the importance of starting strong to his players before the game and was subsequently delighted with the team's first-quarter performance.
"We jumped out with a really solid lead in the first quarter, and to Portland's credit, they just kept coming back at us," he said.
"I knew they'd make the run because they are a well-coached team.
"We just played really well in the first and second quarter and were just able to weather the storm that they produced in the second half.
"I was really happy with how everyone performed in our team."
COVID-19 had limited how the Redbacks had been able to train during pre-season.
Lindsay said he had noticed the effects of this during the match, both individually and as a team.
"For me especially, it was more the fitness side," he said.
"Our ball movement was pretty good. We could maybe do with a bit more communication, but I think fatigue and being puffed out knocked it out of us. But I think we can go places this year."
The Redbacks have a bye next round, with the teams then taking a break over the Australia Day weekend. Their next game will then see them travel to Warrnambool to play the Seahawks, on Saturday, January 30.
The Redbacks will then play their first home game the following round on Saturday, February 6.
Jenkins said he is eager for the community to get behind their team.
"It's a good time to get around and support the Redbacks," he said.
"Any support that the Ararat community gives us is much appreciated.
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