Quick rebound for Werribee Devils

Big V Basketball. Mens State Championship. Werribee's Blake Allison.Picture Shawn Smits.

Werribee Devils awoke on Sunday morning in the doldrums as the remnants of what had transpired the night before sunk in.

Before a shell-shocked home crowd, the Devils were upset 85-71 by lowly Hawthorn Magic at Eagle Stadium on Saturday night, leaving a bitter taste in their mouths.

The good news for the Devils is they had a chance to atone the next day on a double header weekend and they responded with an impressive 97-87 win over Hume City Broncos on the road at the Broadmeadows Basketball Stadium.

It was just what the doctor ordered.

“It’s hard to drop one at home and they would’ve liked to have played better last night than we did, but to come back today and win a game on the road is certainly pleasing,” Devils coach Michael Czepil said. “I’m proud with how they dealt with last night and came out and played the way they did.”

Jeremy Smith was electrifying for Werribee with an efficient 40 points on 15-from-24 shooting and seven rebounds.

The US import continues to impress with his willingness to fit into the team environment and take constructive criticism on board.

“He genuinely listens to myself and the staff,” Czepil said. “He doesn’t think he’s above or below anyone else, so he takes on board the coaching and that’s why he’s helped us become a better team this year.

“He can get all the numbers – the points, assists and all that stuff – but there’s also the winning side of it and he’s about winning.”

Youngster Blake Allison produced his best game for Werribee.

The teenager had a real presence with 23 points, including five threes, and 10 rebounds.

“He shot the ball well, he was more aggressive and that’s something that we’ve been speaking about,” Czepil said. “I have to always remind myself, he’s a 19-year-old kid.

“He’s got a strong body and he looks like he’s older than 19.”

Werribee is in the midst of a nine-day stretch that could shape its season.

The Devils have double headers on consecutive weekends, meaning they will play four games in nine days.

Czepil will be asking his players to dig deep, but is mindful of the fact they are not full-time professional basketballers.

“It’s a very professional week for a bunch of amateur basketball players,” he said. “These guys are playing four times in nine days and then also have two practices this week.

“These guys are working nine-till-five and busting their back to get from work to practice and practice to home to see the family.

“It’s a big commitment and I always keep that in mind.”

Werribee, fifth with a 7-5 record, will show if it is the real deal this weekend. The Devils face the top two teams, top side Knox Raiders (10-3) at the State Basketball Centre on Saturday and second-placed Ringwood Hawks (10-2) at Eagle Stadium on Sunday.

Meanwhile, something good did come out of Saturday night for the Werribee Devils, a 74-51 win over Hawthorn Magic in the women’s division 1. Devils captain Rohanee Cox played out-of-this-world, scoring 38 points, including four threes, and reeling in 14 rebounds.

The game we have all been waiting for takes place on Saturday night at Eagle Stadium when the Devils host Geelong Supercats for the rights to top spot on the ladder.