The Maitland Mustangs turned in probably their best performance to ensure Josh Clifford celebrated his 200th game with a win.
Clifford put in a huge defensive effort collecting 12 rebounds to go with his five points as the Mustangs outgunned the Sutherland Sharks 92-80 at the Maitland Federation Centre.
US import Isaiah Ellis was outstanding scoring 32 points and pulling in 12 rebounds to go along with five blocks and steals. It was Ellis' highest score by 10 points since joining the Mustangs.
In another terrific team performance Daniel Millburn and skipper Terrell Turner shared the scoring load with 18 and 16 points respectively. They set up others as well with Turner recording seven assists and Millburn four.
Lachlan Beavis chimed in with 11 points and Jack Edwards landed six in a busy performance which included three assists and five steals.
The win squares the ledger between the Mustangs and Sharks, who both now have 10 win and five loss records. The Sharks sit in fourth ahead of Mustangs courtesy of a better points for and against.
They are a game clear of Norths Bears in sixth spot who are two wins ahead of the Hills Hornets, who have two games in hand.
Maitland travels to take on the Hornets next Saturday night in what is a crucial game for both clubs.
In an outstanding performance the Mustangs' Championship Women almost pulled off an upset pushing the top-six Sharks to three points, losing 65-68.
Shakera Reilly was superb landing a game-high 28 points to go with seven rebound, six assists and three steals.
Alyssa Bennett recorded yet another double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds to go along with her four assists and five steals.
Amanda Bendeich scored nine and Nerida Peever pulled in five rebounds.
The Mustangs remain second last with two wins but can look forward to a strong finish in their return season to the championship. They are also away to Hills on Saturday.
The Mustangs division one youth men had a morale boosting 85-79 win against fellow cellar-dweller Sutherland.
Taiga Cantor scored 19, Riley Markovich 18, Riley Villacampa 13, Keegan Harvey 10, Lachlan Beavis 9 and Kaia Isaac 7 in a fine team performance.
The Mustangs youth women defeated the Sharks 79-62.
Hannah Griffin scored a game-high 32 points, Shakera Reilly 22 and Sophie Bultitude 10 in a strong team performance.