MAFFRA took a big step to securing top spot on the Country Basketball League men’s table on Saturday night.
The Eagles defeated Traralgon 88-78 at home during the penultimate round of the home-and-away season.
The Eagles can seal top spot with victory at Bairnsdale on Saturday night against the eighth-placed Bullets.
Against the T-Birds, scores were level at quarter-time, before the Eagles took a 48-37 lead into half-time. With Maffra leading by seven points at three-quarter-time, Traralgon got within five during the final term, but the Eagles steadied to win by 10.
Sam Whelan scored 29 points for the Eagles, supported by Andrew Quirk with 18. For the T-Birds, Ben Barlow scored 28 and Jarrod King-Church 21.
SALE’S hopes of the making the finals took a blow with an 85-77 loss at Churchill on Sunday.
With one match to play, the fifth-placed Sonics are two wins outside the top four.
Churchill led by a point at quarter-time before Sale claimed a five-point half-time advantage. The momentum swung the Blue Devils’ way during the third term, after which they led by four points, before leading by as much as 15 during the fourth quarter.
Churchill’s Jeremy Sheers led all scorers, with 21, while for Sale, Mem Bektas scored 19, Billy Hughes 15 and Marcus Cope 14.
MAFFRA held on to fourth spot on the women’s ladder after an 80-39 victory over Traralgon at home.
The 41-point final margin appeared unlikely at half-time, when the Eagles led by six points.
The hosts took control during the third quarter, extending to the margin to 22, before scoring 24 points to five in the fourth term.
Emerson Connolly scored 19 and Coco Henry 14 for Maffra.
MAFFRA and Sale will play away matches this weekend.
On Saturday night, both Sale teams will play at Korumburra. The Sonics men will be favoured to win, while the women will be up against the undefeated Wildcats.
On Sunday, the Sale women will play at Moe from 1pm.
At the same time, Maffra’s women will play at Warragul, needing a win to make sure of a finals berth and hold off Moe.
The Maffra men will play at Bairnsdale from noon.