Adam MelmethRETIRING Newcastle Hunters hero Adam Melmeth spent last week visualising all the possible ways his last Waratah Basketball League game at Broadmeadow would play out.
Not once, he said, did he imagine he would knock down a three-pointer with the last shot of the game, but that is exactly how Melmeth’s final home appearance went down on Saturday night.
Melmeth’s bomb from in front of his bench iced a 96-70 victory over arch rivals Maitland Mustangs to secure second spot and qualification for a semi-final at Terrigal on August 13.
The 38-year-old guard, who epitomises the Hunters’ “heart and hustle” mantra, was swamped by teammates, family members and friends after the game, and he and captain Josh Morgan were presented with the Kibble Mallon Cup by Newcastle basketball icon Denis Kibble.
The Hunters’ sixth straight win improved their record to 14-5, and they will finish second regardless of the result of their last game of the regular season against Sutherland at Sutherland on Saturday.
Illawarra ended Newcastle’s 14-game winning streak with a 76-69 victory in Sunday’swomen’s game in Wollongong.Shannon Novosel led the Hunters with 22 points and 15 rebounds and Sophie Kleeman and Susi Walmsley had 13 points each.
In Saturday’smen’s game,Melmeth had extra reason to celebrate when Mayfield East Public School, where he is a teacher, claimed $5000 worth of sporting equipment by winning the Pivotal Cup skills tournament against teams from Hillsborough Public School and St Therese’s New Lambton.
“I couldn’t have asked for more. It’s been a great night all round,” said Melmeth, who will retire at the end of the season after 26 years in Hunters green.“When I was young I couldn’t wait to come into the change-rooms and experience everything that comes with playing for Newcastle, and this was a great way to finish.”
The former Hunter Pirates dynamo finished with seven points, four rebounds and one steal.Justynn Hammond (34 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three steals) and Russell Hinder (15 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, one steal) led the way for the Hunters.
Jacob Rauch (13 points, five rebounds) and Steve Davis (11 points) provided support off the bench, and Mitch Rueter led the Mustangs (6-11) with 21 points, six rebounds and two assists.
“It was great to see Mellymake that shot at the end, and great for the crowd that came out to support us,”Newcastle coach Larry Davidson said.