Country basketball returned for season 2023 at the weekend.

The Country Basketball League’s senior men’s opening round had tight finishes and blowouts.

Maffra recovered from a slow start against Morwell, dominating the final three quarters to clean up the points.

Sale Sonics went down in the narrowest of ways, losing on their home deck to Korumburra by one point.

Despite winning three of four quarters, Sale lapsed in the third term, which ultimately cost them the result.

Sale led by two at the first break, then seven at the main break, as things began to progress smoothly.

But Korumburra didn’t take that nicely, hammering the Sonics 29-17 in the third quarter, flipping the game on its head, handing over the lead to the Wildcats by five points.

The Sonics did get the better of the Wildcats in the final term, winning the battle per say, but ultimately lost the war, going down by a point, 71-70.

Sale’s Jake Hutchins was admirable in defeat, scoring 21 points, and Bailey Harrison scored 14.

But their efforts were outshone as Matt Kennewell and Joel Winderlich scored 25 and 22 points respectively for the Wildcats.

TRARALGON got off to a flying start in CBL men’s division, going two-from-two in Round 1.

The T-Birds featured twice in the opening round, first at home to Lakes Entrance, then away to Korumburra the following day.

They eased to victory against the Pelicans, winning three of the four quarters, dominating in the first and final term.

Traralgon’s Koby Tibballs scored a career-high 31 points, while Zac Bezzina starred with 19 points, as the T-Birds won by 23, thanks to a 14-point differential in the last quarter.

It was then two from two, as the T-Birds came home strong against Korumburra, coming from behind to win in the final term.

In a seesawing affair, Traralgon held a three-point lead, before the Wildcats grew a lead of their own – out to three points.

Scoring went back and forth in the third term, nothing separated the two sides, so Korumburra went into the last term with a three-point advantage.

Traralgon fired from all cylinders in the last, outscoring the Wildcats by eight points to come home five-point winners.

Bezzina was back at it again with 25 points, while Jarrod King-Church managed 17. Bradley Watson and Kody Tibballs were the other double-digit scorers.

MOE got their season started in the right direction, taking care of the Pakenham Warriors at home by eight points.

An entertaining game witnessed a shootout between two players on opposing sides.

Pakenham took control of the early stages of the match, inching their one-point lead out to five points by halftime.

But we were far from done, as Moe dragged the margin back to two points with a quarter to play.

A mammoth final quarter from the Meteors saw them steal the win, scoring 44 points to 34 in the final period, capping off a 110-102 win.

The Warriors’ Ben Gaze was impressive with 40 points, but he and his team were outdone by Moe’s Austin Shelley who couldn’t miss with 48 points.

WARRAGUL defeated Southern Peninsula with ease.

The Warriors got their season off to the best of starts in the 86-67 win.

IN the Women Division, like the men’s, Traralgon began their winning ways against Lakes Entrance.

The T-Birds smashed the Pelicans off the court in a 70-point reaming, 94-24.

Traralgon won every quarter convincingly, all while keeping Lakes Entrance to single-digit scores in each quarter.

Taylah Murtagh was the most prominent scorer with 24 points, but four others managed to record double-digit points; Charlie Hamilton (19 points), Indiana de Dios (14), Laura Vannapraseuth (12) and Sienna Privetera (10).

The T-Birds were quickly humbled the following day when they tasted defeat at the hands of Korumburra, going down by two points in the 62-60 loss.

Both sides showed their time of dominance, as the Wildcats kept Traralgon to just nine points in the first term, but the T-Birds were able to bite back to keep Korumburra to five points in the third.

The eight-point buffer in the third term had Traralgon up by four points heading into the final quarter.

But it wasn’t to be for the T-Birds, who were trumped in the final term, overrun by the Wildcats, who start their season 2-0 instead.

SALE went down to Korumburra too, the day before, but by a much bigger margin.

They were unable to get going against the Wildcats, who simply put the foot down and did not let off.

So much so, that Korumburra only had five players feature, with no bench, four of which scored more than 20 points.

Korumburra stormed to victory by 80 points in the 112-32 smashing.

JUST like the men’s, Maffra also got the better of Morwell in the women’s.

Each quarter displayed a different dominance, but it began with Maffra setting the tone in the opening term, bursting out to a 27-10 lead.

Morwell fought back, dragging the margin nine points in their direction, yet still trailed by eight points.

The Eagles piled the margin back out to 16 points, leaving the Magic little-to-no chance of coming back.

The margin was reduced to 12 points at the end of the fourth term, completing the 65-53 win.

Maffra Jamie Gallatly and Paige Biddle led from the front with 21 and 20 points respectively, while Emily Scholtes claimed 17 points for the Magic.

THE all-rounded Moe Meteors combined for a team effort against Pakenham, to win by six points, 80-74.

Moe held a tight lead after the first quarter by just three points, but Pakenham soon made it theirs taking a one-point lead into the half.

The Meteors drew the margin back their way, taking a six-point buffer into the final term, and just when you expected the tide to sway once more, Moe held firm to control their lead and claim the win.

Four Moe girls scored double-digit points; Tahni Hodgens (14 points), Michelle Clarke (13), Caitlin Demczuk (12) and Brooke Hunter (12).

WARRAGUL claimed an 11-point win over Southern Peninsula to get the ball rolling on their season Wonthaggi Coasters had the bye in men’s and women’s.