A THIRD win of the season for the Termimesh Suns Men's State League team has seen them jump to second place on the ladder.
Travelling to Port Macquarie on Saturday proved a fruitful road trip as the Suns outlasted the Dolphins in a close and tense physical contest to record a 57-45 win.
The scene was set for a titanic battle as the Suns carried the weight of expectation into the contest as they had walked away with the points against Port in the opening match of the season while the Dolphins were looking for redemption on their home court.
Matt Neal opened the scoring for the Suns with a strong lay up and a free throw, but Port Macquarie came straight back and both teams traded baskets until quarter time with scores tied at the first break.
Coffs Harbour stepped up their defensive intensity in the second quarter, totally shutting down Ports' inside size advantage. Jesse Browning showed tremendous tenacity boxing out strongly and securing crucial rebounds despite giving up both height and weight to the men he was guarding.
The strong defence was rewarded with timely baskets by Nick Hughes, Robbie Linton and Craig Hanlon helping the Suns break away and go into half time with a 35-20 lead.
Coffs was wary of Port's comeback potential and their concerns were justified as Port employed full court press tactics during the third quarter. Coffs suffered a major setback as the impressive performance by Jesse Browning came to an end as he picked up his fifth personal foul early in the third quarter.
Just like the first meeting between these two teams the Suns struggled to maintain possession during the high pressure defence and Port managed to chip away at the lead getting it down to six points early in the fourth quarter.
Dominant big man Jake Wittleton picked up his fifth personal foul during the fourth quarter and this set up a tense conclusion to the game but Coffs were not about to lose their heads while they were losing players.
Excellent three-point shooting by Jimmy Robinson and Robbie Linton helped extend the lead while some lock-down defence and aggressive rebounding by Matt Neal helped seal the match for the visitors.
This game marked the end of Coffs Harbours' intense opening schedule. After winning their opening game at home, and then picking up wins at Armidale and Port Macquarie during four consecutive games on the road, the Suns are looking solid with a 3-2 record.
The boys can now enjoy a three week rest before their next game against Tamworth at home.