date_range Published 10 Jun 2019
For the past few years, Varsity has finished in the bottom two of the men’s club basketball league.
But a significant overhaul of its roster - built around Micah Lepaio, Isaac Smiler and Jivarne Joseph - has helped it have a massive impact this season.
It claimed the scalps of Mid City Magic and Andy Bay Falcons in the space of three days to move to four wins from seven games.
The 78-71 win over the defending champion and unbeaten Magic side on Thursday night showed there are no longer any easy wins.
Lepaio and Smiler hit from the three-point line early to give Varsity a 21-19 lead.
Aaron Roydhouse came out strong in the second quarter for the Magic.
He scored eight of its 19 points in the quarter to put it in front 38-37 at halftime.
The third quarter ended up being the decider of the game.
Magic’s Matt Dukes came out from the three-point line to put pressure on Varsity, but his challenge was answered by Lepaio.
The Varsity captain nailed three in a row from outside to produce a 63-58 lead going into the fourth quarter.
That left an uphill battle for the Magic and Varsity shut the game out well.
Two days later, Varsity claimed an 83-76 win over the Andy Bay Falcons.
Its strength and inside presence on the boards proved too much for a Falcons side built around a guard-first line-up.
The Falcons are still sorting some injuries out, but finally got lights-out shooter Alex Murray back after a seven week layoff.
They had a better start and after opening a gap early, led 20-17 at the end of the first quarter.
That continued early in the second quarter, as eight points in quick succession from Logan Dicker helped the Falcons open a double-digit lead.
However, after key Falcons guard Matt Stevenson left the game injured, Varsity hit back.
Lepaio and Smiler started dictating terms and helped Varsity to a slender lead at halftime.
That grew immediately after the break, as strong rebounding early in the third quarter helped Varsity open a 10-point lead.
The Falcons got the margin back to four late, but Varsity held on.
In other games, the St Kilda Saints moved to five wins with a 106-67 win over the City Rise Bombers and the Mid City Magic bounced back with a 103-85 win over the Magic Lions.
- Harry Thorp
Other Grade results
Varsity Blue 77 def 68 Varsity Thunder
OB’s Elite 62 def 61 City Rise Bombers B
St Kilda Dragons 88 def 48 Andy Bay Falcons 2
Andy Bay Falcons 3 98 def 89 Mid City Magic Muddogs
Vipers Black 54 def 50 St Kilda Tropics
South Pac Kings 91 def 77 Andy Bay Falcons White
Varsity Comets 86 def 62 St Kilda Raiders
South Pac Kavanagh 77 def 45 Andy Bay Falcons Blue
Varsity Storm 69 def 59 OB’s Too