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Bears too hot for Hunters

NEWCASTLE Hunters suffered their first loss of the Waratah Basketball League women’s championship on Saturday night, going down 77-60 to unbeaten Norths Bears at Northern Suburbs Indoor Sports Centre.

Hunters coach Peter Astley lamented their poor shooting and inability to contain former Opal Renae Camino (19 points, eight rebounds, five assists, three steals).

Falling to a 3-1 win-loss record, Newcastle shot just 27per cent from the floor, 19per cent from three-point range (five of 26), and 52per cent from the free-throw line.

‘‘Renae Camino’s experience and quality was the difference. We created pressure and got within 10 on a number of occasions but were unable to maintain it for the entire game,’’ Astley said.

‘‘Shooting percentage was a factor as well, as we created more opportunities than Norths but shot the ball poorly.’’

Sophie Kleeman led the Hunters with 12 points, and Charlotte Bull (10 points, eight rebounds) and Amanda Bendeich (nine points, 10 rebounds) worked hard inside.

It was a similar story in the men’s game, which defending champions Norths won 80-60.

Competing on defence but struggling at the offensive end, the Hunters trailed 34-22 at half-time before the Bears blew the game open to lead 61-39 entering the final period.

Now 2-2 for the season, the Hunters shot 32per cent from the field, 15per cent (three of 20) from beyond the arc and 65per cent from the line.

‘‘The first two quarters, we were able to keep our defensive target but we just struggled to score. We need someone to score consistently each week,’’ coach Larry Davidson said.

Big man Jon Howe (18 points, 14 rebounds) and guard Justin Hamilton (14 points, four rebounds, four steals, two assists) were Newcastle’s standouts.

Maitland Mustangs fought back from a 21-8 quarter-time deficit to fall 71-67 to Hills Hornets at Maitland Federation Centre on Sunday.

Imports Mitchell Rueter (18 points) and Terrell Turner (13) plus veteran Wayne Brown (10) led Maitland’s scoring effort.

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