Energy poised for playoffs

LATROBE City Energy guaranteed a finals spot in the BigV division one men’s conference with a 13-point win over Sunbury on Sunday at Traralgon.

Three wins clear of ninth-placed Mildura with a game in hand, the fifth-placed Energy cannot be dislodged from the top eight regardless of results in its final three matches.

A top four berth is still possible albeit unlikely in the face of a two game gap to fourth-placed Melton.

The 88-75 triumph over the seventh-placed Jets was a two-game swing in favour of Energy and kept Sunbury, along with fellow top eight side Shepparton, at arm’s length with a two game buffer.

The importance of the clash was not lost on Jason Sutherland’s side, which burst to an 18-12 lead at quarter-time at the Powerhouse, shooting 50 per cent for the opening stanza.

After an evenly matched second quarter Energy upped the ante in the third, shooting at 60 per cent from the field to establish a 16-point advantage by the final change.

The Jets ran the game out hard to win the final quarter 27-24, but it was Energy’s night.

United States imports Raheem Lemons (25 points, 12 rebounds) and Jordan Coleman (28 points, 8 rebounds) again carried the offence with able support from Steve O’Brien, Ben Barlow and point guard Simon Vannapraseuth.

After hovering on the fringes of the top eight a month ago, Energy has strung together three consecutive victories to book its place in the playoffs.

The Energy women are also on course for a finals berth despite a 53-78 loss to undefeated ladder leader Sunbury.

Latrobe City sits third on the BigV division one women’s ladder and is safely placed in the top six, five wins clear of seventh-placed Mildura.

Shanice Steenholdt recorded her 13th double-double in 14 appearances this season while Chelsea D’Angelo was another strong performer in the loss.

The Energy men have a double header away from home this weekend against Camberwell and Geelong to tune up for finals while the women host Craigieburn on Sunday.