Hunters lose without Suzy

Dane Suttle led Newcastle’s scoring in a loss to Central Coast.IT was a tough night at the office for the Newcastle Hunters at Broadmeadow on Saturday.

Playing without triple Olympian Suzy Batkovic (back), the Waratah Basketball League women’s champions were thumped 90-52 by the star-studded Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.

The Hunters men then suffered a third straight loss, going down 87-68 to Central Coast Crusaders after trailing 40-36 at half-time, to slump to a 2-7 win-loss record.

Captain Alison Ebzery posted a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double for Newcastle, who slipped to sixth with a 2-4 record, and playmaker Cherub Lum scored a team-high 15 points.

Manly were led by former Opals forward Belinda Snell (24 points, seven rebounds, seven assists) and Waratah League leading scorer Erin Todd (24 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, six steals).

“It’s pretty simple: You’ve got to put the ball in the hole. Manly shot 41 per cent and we shot 26 per cent, so we need to become more aggressive defensively,” coach Mark Gledson said.

“Rebounding was another issue. It’s an effort area and we were very poor as Manly out-rebounded us 54-38.”

Like the Hunters women, the men had just eight players to rotate because of injuries and other commitments, leaving coach Darren Nichols with few options once the Crusaders took control.

Central Coast won the battle of the boards 56-40 and shot 51 per cent from the floor to Newcastle’s 31.

“We were out-rebounded again and shot a poor team shooting percentage again,” Nichols said.

“If we don’t allow ourselves to compete on an even playing field, we will struggle to win. At least these are areas we can work on at training.”

Newcastle import Dane Suttle led all scorers with 23 points and 11 rebounds, and he was supported on the scoresheet by Nathan Ruprecht (14), Jacob Foy (12) and Laurence York (10).

Mitch Rueter (20 points, seven rebounds), Matthew Bateup (15 points, eight rebounds), James Trustum (15 points, four rebounds) and Callum Jenkins (14 points, 12 rebounds) did most of the damage for the Crusaders.

The Hunters men and women will play Norths Bears at Broadmeadow next Saturday.

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