STAWELL Wildcats fell agonisingly short of a maiden win in Country Basketball League competition yesterday afternoon.
The Wildcats hosted Terang Tornadoes at the Stawell Leisure Centre and went down 69-66 despite leading for most of the match.
The home side was up by 10 points at halftime and held a five-point lead with two minutes to go, before succumbing to Terang.
Coach Ben Leslie said the side was shattered not to take an opportunity to record the first win in its two-year history.
"It was in our hands and we let it slip. This was our best chance to get a win and we controlled the game for the most part," he said.
"We turned the ball over a couple of times and they got quick scores out of it and then we missed a couple of shots near the end and they made their foul shots.
"We led for most of the day. It was just at the end where they kept hanging in and they eventually got the better of us.
"I thought we had them at halftime but they kept chipping away and we made some errors at the wrong time."
Leslie said Stawell could easily have held a 20-point halftime lead and put the game out of reach if it had shot better.
He said the Wildcats fielded their best side for the season, with Travis Peatt and Blake Dunstan teaming in the front court with the high-scoring Jarred Ohayon.
Ohayon led the team with 16 points.
The Horsham Hornets had an easier time against Terang on Saturday night at the Horsham Basketball Stadium.
The Hornets led wire to wire in front of a home crowd to win by about 40 points. Official scores were not available when the Mail-Times went to press.
Big man Jake Hobbs returned to bolster the side, as did Ben Lakin in his third match for the year.
Tim Friend brought his usual energy to the court and every member of the team was on the score sheet.
The Hornets and Wildcats will resume in the new year with a match against each other at the Horsham Basketball Stadium on January 4.
Hornets coach Tim Pickert said the team was feeling good about its start to the year.
"It's good to go into the break losing only one game, so hopefully things go as well if not better than they have been going in the first half of the year," he said.
"There's only four games to go, so we want to win all four and go into the finals full steam ahead."