Shepparton Gators have again risen to the top of the Big V division one ladder.
The Gators secured yet another win on the road to go a game clear of Keysborough Cougars to head the table.
With four of their past five matches away, Leigh Bathman’s side has dealt with the travelling admirably, heading to Warrandyte on Sunday to inflict a five-point defeat.
Unlike last week’s stirring victory against Chelsea Gulls, the win did not come pretty with the Gators shooting at an ordinary percentage from the free-throw line.
Shepparton made just six shots from the free-throw line from 19 attempts, while the Venom nailed 14 shots from the same number of tries.
‘‘It’s a bit of technique and it’s fitness to go and step up to the line where you’re tired and fatigued,’’ Bathman said.
‘‘I think we missed nine free throws in the third quarter and it’ll cost us an important game or a final sometime.’’
Shepparton had just five more field goal attempts that allowed it to clinch the narrow 77-72 victory.
The Gators made sure to clean up any miss from Warrandyte with Spencer Coleman leading the way with 21 rebounds, 17 of which were defensive.
Coleman was part of all the action, sending home 20 points with Bathman pleased he took charge of the match and his impact showed in the statistics.
‘‘We rebounded really well as a group, Spencer had a big game on the board and with nine assists he was just shy of a triple double,’’ he said.
‘‘To get a win like that on the road without Jake (Cowling) and with Matt (Bartlett) down on his usual form (was good).
‘‘That’s the beauty of our team is that when people are down others are stepping up.’’
Cameron Vines top scored with 26 points, while Nick Dodd chipped in with 13 to effectively fill the gap left by an injured Cowling.
‘‘Nick Dodd was a key contributor and played his role, we asked him before the game to go and get what Jake averages for us which is 11 points and six rebounds and he went and got 13 and seven, so did the job that we asked of him,’’ Bathman said.
Shepparton will return to its home court this weekend when it hosts Bulleen Boomers on Sunday.