Big V Round 6: Pacers men storm into top six as Hawks women make statement

Whittlesea Pacers came away from round six of Big V action with two strong road wins to continue their recent good form and march into finals contention, while in the women’s competition it was Ringwood who sent an ominous warning to the rest of the league with a big win over fellow title contenders McKinnon.

Credit: Photo Credit: Big V Media

State Championship Men

Corio Bay continued their dominance of the competition with a 91-69 win over Hawthorn to open round six of men’s action. The Stingrays led 27-15 after the first term and came home strong with a 22-7 final term to snuff out any hopes of a boilover by the Magic, with a 51-38 rebound count, including a whopping 20-9 in the final term alone, as well as a far superior shooting clip proving the difference makers. Jason Reardon was superb with 25 points, 15 boards and 6 assists for the home side, while Scooter Renkin (16 points, 5 assists) and Ma’Alo Hicks (13 points, 16 rebounds, 5 blocks) also strong. The Magic missed the poise of leading score Jay Allen, with Dan Kusnyer (15 points, 5-20 FG) and Kyle Kaufman (14 points, 8 assists) attempting to pick up the slack.

Diamond Valley surged into finals contention with a 121-94 victory against Werribee which signalled the Eagles have returned to form for 2014 after a slow start. Two monster middle quarters, which netted a combined 78 points to just 43 for the Devils, were the catalyst behind the big win, with the Eagles managing to connect on 34-of-48 field goals during this time. No Diamond Valley played scored less than five points or played more than 22 minutes in the route, with the side being led by 18 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists from Matt Reynolds. In stark contrast, the Devils got 30 points and 6 rebounds from Rustin Dowd as well as big nights from Aaron McCuin (25 points, 18 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks, 8-12 FG) and Jordan Hughes (24 points, 6 rebounds) but lacked the balance to compete with the rampant Eagles, who suddenly sit fifth on the ladder.

A second-quarter surge saw McKinnon edge out Melbourne to claim a 69-58 win in a low-scoring contest. Neither side shot the ball at more than 39% from the field as Marcus Timmons (19 points, 14 rebounds, 7 rebounds) led his side past the young Tigers with a vintage display, stepping up in the absence of star Kale Harrison. Johnny Kloester (15 points, 4 rebounds, 6-9 FG) and gun youngster Geremy McKay (14 points, 8 rebounds) led the disappointing Tigers, who sit above only Hawthorn and Eltham after six rounds.

Whittlesea continued their resurgence after a shocking start to the season with an impressive 93-69 win over Hume City on the road. The Pacers were brilliant as they beat the Broncos in every statistical category, except at the foul line, to rocket into finals contention as the teams above them slipped up. Jason Dirkx was superb with 24 points on 11-of-14 shooting, while Jermaine Williams (22 points, 16 rebounds, 3 assists) continued his strong form since arriving a month ago. The Broncos were led by import duo Jermaine Maybank (20 points, 6 rebounds) and Jamal Brown (20 points, 13 rebounds) and slipped to a 5-2 record with the defeat.

Bulleen suffered their third straight loss in a controversial contest against Waverley, with the Falcons remaining undefeated thanks to a 91-88 win. The visitors got out to a 14 point lead late in the third term courtesy of two technical fouls and an unsportsmanlike charged against the Boomers and held on in the tense final stages. Brad Kelleher (31 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists) attempted a whopping 20 foul shots to benefit most from the Falcon’s 40 trips to the charity stripe, while Ivan Platenik (28 points, 6 rebounds, 12-19 FG) and Sedale Threatt (18 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals) made plenty of big plays down the stretch. Thadd Varmall (32 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 14-19 FG) was electric for the home side in defeat despite running into foul trouble as the Boomers’ starting five combined for 21 fouls between them. Bulleen has now lost four games to the top three sides by a combined six points and will look to the imminent debut of Lester Strong to ignite their fledging season.

A dominant second half saw Ringwood walk away with an 80-63 victory over Sherbrooke, with the Hawks managing to hold the Suns to just 20 points on 6-of-39 shooting in the second 20 minutes. Marcus Ruh was superb with 28 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals in the win, while Willie Weimer wound back the clock to net himself 13 points and grab 4 boards. Grant Johnson (20 points, 9 rebounds) and Titus Robinson (18 points, 13 rebounds) were the focal point for the Suns and delivered once again, however Johnson committed 7 turnovers and Robinson managed just 5-of-19 shooting from the floor in the loss.

The Suns fell again on Sunday to the rampaging Whittlesea Pacers in a 99-73 loss at home. The game was won in dominant second and fourth terms by the Pacers as they shot the ball at nearly 50% for the match while holding the home side to just 37%. Michael Petridis (25 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists) led the visitors to victory while Jason Dirkx (24 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists) backed up with another strong showing and Jermaine Williams (13 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists, 6 steals) stuffed the stat sheet. Grant Johnson and Titus Robinson were held to a combined 27 points and 9 rebounds on 9-of-27 shooting as the Suns struggled for offense, with only Bryan Moore (11 points) hitting double digits outside of the import duo.

Melbourne fought back from a 27-13 quarter-time deficit to consign Eltham to a seventh loss by less than seven points with a 73-69 win. Geremy McKay (18 points, 9 rebounds) continued his strong form line and got plenty of help from fellow young guns Jack Purchase (17 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals) and Jock Landale (14 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists) as the Tigers got their second win of the season. James Malvaso (21 points, 4-6 3PT) was valiant in defeat for the Wildcats but saw his side slip to a 1-8 record and remain rooted to the bottom of the table.

Corio Bay remained undefeated and handed an under-strength Waverley side its first loss of 2014 with a dominant 108-87 win. The Falcons were worn down by the Stingrays over the course of the contest and fell despite the efforts of the ever-consistent Ivan Platenik (25 points, 12 rebounds).The Stingrays, who were missing Duane Johnson themselves, got another big night out of Jason Reardon (22 points, 17 rebounds, 7 assists), while Scooter Renkin torched the Falcons as he delivered 35 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists. Corio Bay is now 9-0 and is the warm favourite to go back-to-back after last year’s title.

Diamond Valley’s resurgence continued in a 111-82 rout of Hawthorn, with the Eagles scoring at least 25 points in every quarter in an offensive exhibition. The visitors went at 51% from the field compared to just 37% for the Magic, with Adam Moore (21 points, 11 rebounds, 8-9 FG) and Matt Jackson (17 points, 9 rebounds) leading another wide spread of points and minutes. The return of Jay Allen (11 points, 3 steals) was short lived as he fouled out after playing just 23 minutes, with Hunter Santamaria netting 17 points to lead his side’s scoring.

State Championship Women

Ringwood kicked off round six by sending an ominous warning to their rivals in a dominant 75-58 victory of McKinnon. The Hawks used a 23-9 second term to blow the game wide open and had the usually composed Cougars scrambling, with reigning MVP Amber Hegge (20 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, 7-9 FG) ran riot in just 21 minutes before fouling out. Tara Blair (16 points, 5-9 3PT) also continued her hot shooting in the win for the visitors; while for McKinnon it was Alex Lough (15 points, 8 rebounds) and Julie Brookhouse (15 points, 6 rebounds) who led the way.

Bulleen continued Warrandyte’s horror State Championship debut season with a comprehensive 77-47 victory over the Venom. Despite creating a tight contest in stages throughout, the visitors were again plagued by poor shooting (27% from the field) and turnovers (25 for the match) as the Boomers used a 23-5 third term to sew up the win. Funda Nakkasoglu (30 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) was literally the difference between the two sides in an emphatic display, with the young guard the only Boomer to reach double figures despite five others netting seven or more. Import Tamara Olivia Nesmith (14 points) and Tiffany Hodgson (10 points) led the visitors as they crashed to a sixth straight defeat to open the season.

An improved Melbourne fell away in the second half as they succumbed to ladder-leading Hume City in a 75-62 result. Scores were tied at the halftime break as the young Tigers hung around behind new import Sydnei Moss (21 points, 9 rebounds) and Ilena Gentile (17 points, 4 rebounds) but couldn’t sustain the effort as the Broncos’ talent came to the fore. Colleen Planeta continued to impress since arriving in Australia for season 2014, netting 24 points on 11-of-19 shooting to go with 12 boards, 3 steals and 4 blocks. Lauren Bennett and young gun Mua Laloifi each added 13 points for the Broncos.

Waverley flexed their considerable muscle against Sherbrooke with a 71-41 win, with the Falcons making light work of the struggling Suns. WNBL duo Tegan Cunningham (24 points, 13 rebounds, 3 steals) and Brigitte Ardossi (14 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals) shone again and were simply too hard to contain for the visitors, who shot at just 25% from the floor and went 1-of-17 from long distance whilst being outrebounded 49-26 in a dominant all-round display by the Falcons. Only Billie Lucas (14 points) managed to score more than seven for the Suns as they slumped to their fourth straight defeat after starting the season with a 2-0 record.

Ringwood completed their road double with a comfortable 67-48 win over Diamond Valley. The Hawks cleaned up the boards with a 49-30 advantage and the Eagles could only shoot at 24% for the match as the visitors ran out to a 40-20 lead at halftime and didn’t look back. Amber Hegge was enormous again, this time finishing with 30 points and a monster 20 rebounds in the performance of the season so far, to which the young Eagles had no answer. Carly Turner (11 points, 4 rebounds) and Katie Shanahan (10 points, 5 rebounds) were the best for their side in defeat.

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