IN THE best game of basketball for the season, the two biggest teams in the New South Wales State League competition met last Saturday night.
The Coffs Harbour Camera House Suns men's team and the Newcastle Hunters played an incredible game of basketball, with the Camera House Suns coming home eventual winners 72-65.
The Hunters went into the match sitting at the top of the competition table, with three wins from three games, whereas the Camera House Suns were seated in fourth spot, with two wins from four games.
With co-captains Shannon Rowe and Scott Davies on the floor together for the first time this season, the Suns went into the match at full strength.
The first quarter was an arm wrestle, with Sean Murphy, Joe McGann and Shannon Rowe testing out the equally large and skilled Newcastle forwards.
Sun's guard Dirk Miller and small forward Phil Ely had their own battle with one of the best guard rotations in the league, but competently managed to come out on top.
By the end of the first quarter the Suns led 16-11 with Scott Davies and Nathan Schmidt coming off the bench to contribute at both ends of the court.
The second quarter was won by the Hunters with their one-man offence, Ryan Morgan, leading all scorers at half time with 15 points, closely followed by Suns enforcer Sean Murphy with 11 points.
It was in the third quarter that the Suns hit top gear.
With huge contributions by Craig Hanlon and Rick Singh, combined with the starting forwards, they managed to haul back the Hunters lead and overtake them by 16 points at the end of the third period.
McGann, Rowe and Murphy showed their class, while Davies suffered a back injury which forced him to the bench after scoring six powerful points in only seven minutes of total game play.
Congratulations to under-18 player Jesse Browning who had his first taste of State League Basketball.
The Camera House Suns women also took on Newcastle Hunters in what turned out to be a torrid affair, which the Hunters won 75-58.
It was the outstanding defence by the Hunters in the first half that initially brought the Suns undone, as they struggled to adjust and reciprocate the intensity with their own defence.
Bonnie Kuchel put in an amazingly strong game in the key. Although suffering from plenty of bodywork inside, she finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
The Suns hung in there in the first quarter to be down by 5 at the break but in the second quarter poor shooting and turnovers led to a 16 point deficit at half time.
The second half saw a much better effort produced getting the deficit down to single figures at times but the Hunters experience kept them in control.