Orange Eagles fought valiantly against last year's grand finalist Wagga Heat in the Spalding Waratah League division one men's competition, but just couldn't do enough to snare a win in the Heat's first home game of the season.
The Heat bounced back from their opening round loss with a 67-61 victory over Orange Eagles at Bolton Park Stadium on Saturday night.
Orange announced their return to the competition with a big win over Dubbo Rams in round one, while the Heat were coming in off a loss to Sutherland.
But the Heat led throughout Saturday night's encounter and went on to record an important win.
American import Matthew Brunell top scored with 25 points, while captain Zac Maloney was next best with 15.
Orange Eagles representative coordinator Craig Harvey, who's overseen the entry of the Eagles into the competition, said he "couldn't be prouder" of the side for staying with the Heat.
Missing several key players including Zak Symons, the side put up a fight all night and never had the lead blown out, but with captain Mitch Selwood sitting on four fouls early in the piece the side was up against it.
While Selwood returned to the court in the final quarter and steadied the ship, it wasn't enough to see his side over the line.
"We led the whole way but were never really able to put them away and get a big lead," Maloney said.
"We have a lot of growing to do as a team but that's what you want in the early rounds, you don't want to peak too early."
Kobe Mansell was best for the visitors, scoring 28 of Orange's 61 points.
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