NBL 2013/14: Round 10 Wrap

While the scoring dropped off in round 10, the matches were as thrilling and exciting as ever with some big individual performances and more upsets headlining the weekend’s action as the league heads into a Christmas break.

Perth unsettle Breakers early, control contest to seal victory

New Zealand fans were stunned at Vector Arena Friday night as the visiting Perth Wildcats pounced on an unsettled Breakers squad in the opening minutes of the game, as they went on to a deserved victory 71-62.

The Wildcats were dominant during the first quarter in which they scored seventeen unanswered points to lead 17-2, after Breakers forward Mika Vukona (16 points, 7 rebounds) scored the first points of the match.

Behind Shawn Redhage (12 points, 5 rebounds), the ‘Cats opened the game in their favour and it always looked as if this was a statement game inside an away venue.

By quarter time, the Breakers seemed to have missed every shot they put up and nothing was dropping as they registered only eight points for the period (to Perth’s 18).

The second quarter was a whole different story where offence was front and centre. Perth put up 31 in a hurry, while New Zealand was playing catch up all night to score 25 of their own to trail by 16 at the main break.

For the home side, Kerron Johnson (14 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals) was the one trying to lift his team back into the contest, while Thomas Abercrombie (15 points, 6 rebounds) was trying to facilitate.

However it was the main culprits again for the league leaders as James Ennis (16 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks) flushed one down and hit some big shots from downtown, in addition to Matt Knight (15 points, 9 rebounds) playing one of his best games since returning and Jermaine Beal (5 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists) struggling with his shot throughout the night yet found other ways to contribute.

In the final part of the game the Wildcats seem to have all the answers for any sort of home team stanza, as Damian Martin (11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals) hit his third triple for the night with only minutes remaining to put the margin beyond double digits once again to kill the game.

The Wildcats face the Taipans next week in Cairns, while the Breakers look to get back onto the winners list as they play the Sydney Kings.

Tragadh lights up as Snakes claim Reptile Rumble #2

photo credit: Matthew Kenwrick via photopin cc

photo credit: Matthew Kenwrick via photopin cc

On the back of a Cameron Tragardh special, the Cairns Taipans have held steady to claim their second straight victory with an 87-74 win over the Townsville Crocodiles Friday night.

Tragardh lit up the Cairns Convention Centre with a brilliant 24 point, five rebound display in which he shot 11 for 16 from the field. The 24 point haul was his best in a Cairns jersey.

He wasn’t alone though in the triumphant performance, as Cameron Gliddon showed the signs that he was nearly back to his very best with an all round game to finish up with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists.

The two Cam’s provided Cairn’s one-two punch for the evening, as their bigger guys took a back seat in the comforting victory. Alex Loughton (8 points, 6 rebounds) struggled from the field with only 3 of 9 shooting, and Jamar Wilson was quiet after his brilliant performance last week.

As the game looked safely in the home team’s hands throughout the majority of the first half, Townsville provided a spark early in the third to make a game of it.

The Crocs threatened as they pulled the contest back to one point, however the Snakes found a way to steady the ship through Gliddon and Tragardh, while Stephen Weigh (8 points, 3 rebounds) topped it off with a three pointer at the buzzer to take the lead back out to 15.

For the visitors Brian Conklin (15 points, 2 blocks) was the standout, while the rest of the team provided energy in some sort of way, however no one was really able to step up when needed. Steven Markovic (10 points, 4 assists) couldn’t feature until the second half, in form Josh Pace (10 points) was kept quiet and Peter Crawford (9 points, 9 rebounds) struggled to find his stroke from beyond the arc (1 from 6).

Cairns look to build on their past two contests with a trip to Adelaide in search for a third straight win, while the Crocs will be looking to edge themselves closer to the top four with a game against the Sixers next week at home.

Hawks down Kings in dogfight for second straight week

Wollongong has weathered a Sam Young storm and a rowdy Sydney crowd to storm to a 69-63 win against the Kings on Saturday night.

In a contest that failed to inspire for the most part, the Hawks used lockdown defence in the third term to gain an advantage before withstanding a late Kings’ charge to run out victors against their New South Wales rivals for the second straight week.

Young (28 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists) was unstoppable all night and nearly dragged his side over the line, however he ran out of supporting cast members as the game went down to the wire.

photo credit: MR FOOJI via photopin cc

The match nearly mirrored the slog-fest between these two sides just a week prior in Wollongong, with neither team managing to shoot over 43% from the field over the course of the night.

Import Kevin Tiggs (18 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) was superb for the Hawks and led the way off the bench, while fellow American Rotnei Clarke (16 points) was also instrumental despite struggling from the field.

For the Kings, Tom Garlepp (11 points, 10 rebounds, 7-7 FT) was solid while AJ Ogilvy (5 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 blocks) was also more than serviceable despite attempting just five field goals in 28 minutes of playing time.

The Kings shot just 2-16 from the three-point line, which hurt given the Hawks made 11 baskets from beyond the arc from 26 attempts, while they couldn’t capitalise on a big advantage in trips to the line, shooting just 15-24 for a 63% return as the Hawks made 6-8.

The Kings dropped to 5-6 and 1-3 since the arrival of Young, while the Hawks climbed from the doldrums of the ladder once more and closed the gap between them and the fourth placed Sydney side.

The Kings will host the Breakers after the weekend off on Sunday week, while Wollongong will play a home-home series with Melbourne kicking off at the Cage on Friday week and finishing on New Year’s Eve in Wollongong.

Tigers edge Crocs in sluggish affair

Melbourne has won its second straight game and moved into third place on the NBL ladder with a hard-fought 76-71 victory over a dogged Townsville on Saturday night.

The game was won and lost in the second term, where the Tigers turned an 8-point quarter time deficit into a 3-point halftime lead thanks to a brilliant defensive display, holding the home side to just seven points for the entire quarter.

A night after losing in Cairns, the Crocs started brightly to take a 26-18 lead after an entertaining first quarter, with Brian Conklin (22 points, 6 rebounds) and Peter Crawford (8 points) leading the way early.

However Mustapha Farrakhan (11 points, 5-8 FG) gave the Tigers a big boost off the bench, scoring seven points in the second term to keep pace with the entire Crocs roster.

The visitors extended their lead to nine to begin the final term as Mark Worthington (18 points, 11 rebounds) and Chris Goulding (14 points) took it up a notch.

However, despite playing 24 hours earlier, the Crocs refused to lie down and defied the odds to mount a charge in the final term, with Josh Pace (10 points, 6 rebounds) breaking the shackles and Todd Blanchfield (8 points, 3-4 FG) nailing some big baskets to bring the home crowd to life.

A late Crawford three-pointer made it a one possession game with 13 seconds to go, however Adam Ballinger (14 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks) made both at the line to put the game out of reach.

Both teams struggled from the field at times throughout the contest; however the Tigers ended the night at 47% compared to the Crocs at 36% in a telling stat and managed to pull out a tough road win despite having seven more turnovers than their opponents.

Tigers captain Tom Greer returned to action for the first time this season in a positive sign for the club, despite playing just under two minutes of action and a missed field goal being his only statistic for the night.

The Crocs will host Adelaide on New Year’s Eve after the break, while the Tigers will face Wollongong twice in four days in a home-home series, starting in Melbourne on Friday week before the second match in Wollongong also on New Year’s Eve.

Sixers extend home record with victory over Taipans

The Adelaide 36ers have taken care of business once again inside the Adelaide Arena with a 91-67 victory over the Cairns Taipans to extend their unbeaten run at home this season.

Behind streaky shooter Adam Gibson (16 points, 9 assists), the Sixers turned the tables from the previous fixture between the two teams as the Snakes were the twenty point winners last time out.

Gibson was pivotal from mid-range, while his passing was simply superb getting his teammates involved all over the floor. Daniel Johnson (21 points, 7 rebounds) was once again a big presence inside, giving Cairns’ big guys all sorts of issues.

Anthony Petrie (13 points, 6 rebounds) and Luke Schenscher (8 points, 9 rebounds) were big additions that helped the Sixers jump out to an eight point lead after the first period, and were significant throughout.

For the visitors, Alex Loughton was ice cold, shooting 2 for 11 from the field, registering six points, while it was Mitch Young who led the team with 11 points. Cameron Gliddon (10 points) struggled from beyond the arc (2 for 7) and it portrayed across the whole squad, as the team shot a dismal 17% from downtown.

It really showed that the Snakes were playing their second game of the weekend; as they looked extremely tired and lethargic from the get go. This was shown by their inability to win a single quarter.

While the Taipans found a way late in the third quarter to peg the game back to just four points thanks to two straight baskets from Cam Tragardh, Adelaide piled on a game clinching 14-2 run to open the final quarter which included Gibson and Jason Cadee triples, plus another Schenscher bucket.

Adelaide takes a trip north next week to face the Townsville Crocs in the last game for the year, while Cairns head home to take on top of the table Perth Wildcats.

Round 10 Summary

New Zealand Breakers 62 (Vukona 16, Abercrombie 15, Johnson 14) Perth Wildcats 71 (Ennis 16, Knight 15, Redhage 12) Attendance: 7,597 @ Vector Arena

Cairns Taipans 87 (Tragardh 24, Gliddon 15, Steindl 10) Townsville Crocodiles 74 (Conklin 15, Holmes 10, Pace 10) Attendance: 3,894 @ Cairns Convention Centre

Sydney Kings 63 (Young 28, Garlepp 11, Madgen 9) Wollongong Hawks 69 (Tiggs 18, Clarke 16, Davidson 10) Attendance: 6,038 @ Wollongong Entertainment Centre

Townsville Crocodiles 71 (Conklin 22, Pace 10, Holmes 8) Melbourne Tigers 76 (Worthington 18, Goulding 14, Ballinger 14) Attendance: 2,853 @ Townsville Entertainment Centre

Adelaide 36ers 91 (Johnson 21, Gibson 16, Petrie 13) Cairns Taipans 67 (Young 11, Gliddon 10, Burston 9) Attendance: 4,981 @ Adelaide Arena