NBL 2013/14: Round 11 Wrap

Round 11 of the NBL saw Melbourne face Wollongong in a mini-series, while the Breakers looked to jump start their season from the bottom of the ladder. Five games to end year 2013, who finished with a ‘W’ next to their name?

Goulding fires Tigers past Hawks

Chris Goulding has put on a blistering second-half display to lead the Melbourne Tigers past Wollongong on Friday night with a 74-67 triumph.

Goulding (30 points, 7-11 3PT) dropped in 20 points in the second 20 minutes, including 14 points in the final term alone, as the Tigers fought back from a four-point deficit.

After a scrappy opening term in which points were hard to come by for both sides, the Tigers kicked away for a 28-16 lead halfway through the second term as Goulding and Mustapha Farrakhan (10 points, 3 assists) started to find their feet.

However some Rotnei Clarke (16 points, 3 assists) brilliance got the Hawks back within touching distance at the long break as the margin was cut to just seven.

The third term was all Wollongong, with a 29-18 quarter breaking the game wide open and putting the Hawks in a strong position by three-quarter time. Kevin Tiggs (13 points, 4 rebounds) led the way and Oscar Forman (10 points, 8 rebounds) found his range momentarily to give the Hawks a four-point lead as the teams turned for home.

Enter Goulding, who was just 3-9 from the field at halftime, to put on a show for the home fans and drag his side over the line.

Perhaps the biggest moment came with just over three minutes remaining and the Tigers trailing by four, where Goulding ran around a hard Mark Worthington screen to nail an off balance three before catching, turning and shooting over two defenders to repeat the dose on the next possession and give his side the lead for good.

A Nate Tomlinson (9 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) dagger then sealed the match with a minute and a half remaining to leave the Tigers in third spot at 7-6 ahead of a return match in Wollongong on New Year’s Eve.

Lucas Walker (9 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks) was at his athletic best all night and was brilliant at both ends despite shooting just 3-12 from the field, while Tyson Demos (13 points, 2-2 3PT) tried hard to get his team over the line.

The two teams will meet again to bring in the New Year in Wollongong.

Wilkinson puts on display as Breakers top Kings

An all round performance from Gary Wilkinson was on full display Sunday as the big man erupted for a sensational 31 points en route to a Breakers 99-83 road win against the Sydney Kings.

In the 34 minutes on the floor, Wilkinson was given the tough match-up of trying to limit the effectiveness of Kings’ star A.J. Ogilvy. However, this didn’t seem to faze him at all as most of his work came at the offensive end.

In what was an interesting encounter for the opening three quarters, with the two teams going back and forth, trading runs with no one really finding a way to break the game open.

Just as New Zealand found a way to build a small, yet strong lead during the second quarter, Sydney guard Ben Madgen (26 points, 5 assists) managed to get his jump shot into gear which caused a mini Breakers skid.

As Madgen poured in a dozen quickly, the lead was down to just one at the main break.

The game continued in the same fashion throughout the third quarter, as Sam Young (21 points, 6 rebounds) started to find good looks, while foul trouble was an issue for most players, especially Mika Vukona, Thomas Abercrombie, Tom Garlepp and Charles Carmouche.

As the final period started, the Breakers realised it was their time to strike. Behind Gary Wilkinson and Kerron Johnson (21 points, 3 assists), New Zealand kicked away with a 20-3 run, which put the game quickly out of reach for the Kings who were never able to scamper back from the large deficit.

For the Kings, it was really themselves who they had to blame. The team could have controlled the tempo during the second and third terms, however bad decisions which led to sloppy turnovers kept the Breakers in the contest, giving them a real sniff at victory.

In what was a really astonishing stat for the game, Sydney out rebounded the Breakers 46-23, mostly thanks to Ogilvy (10 points, 16 rebounds, 9 offensive) and Tom Garlepp (14 points, 9 rebounds), yet still managed to lose the game by double digits.

Turnovers were the difference as the Kings turned it over 21 times to just 12, which wouldn’t be a great sign for coach Shane Heal. Something he will obviously be pointing out during their next training session.

For the Breakers, it leaps them off the bottom of the NBL ladder for now and will face Adelaide next week hoping to continue their form. Sydney will stay at home to take on the Taipans in an exciting game.

Tigers pip Hawks in double OT thriller

The Melbourne Tigers had to play an extra ten minutes in Wollongong on New Year’s Eve, however it all counted as they walked away with a well deserved victory against the Hawks in the 91-81 encounter.

In what seemed a shoot-out throughout most stages of the game, it was an exciting duel between Wollongong’s Rotnei Clarke (37 points, 9/10 three pointers) and the duo of Mustapha Farrakhan (23 points, 6 rebounds) and Chris Goulding (22 points).

Photo Credit: IndyStar

As the two teams were battling towards the end, the Hawks maintained an ever so slight lead, before Goulding managed a brilliant mid-range step back, before splitting a pair of free throws to send the game into overtime.

Clarke continued his ridiculous car park shooting as he managed to keep the home side in the game for another five minutes which forced yet another overtime, despite Tigers forward Mark Worthington (11 points, 10 rebounds) coming alive scoring eight points despite not hitting a field goal in regulation.

However it was Melbourne’s night as Goulding notched the first four points of the second overtime, only to be followed by another Worthington bucket which put the game out of reach for the Hawks.

Farrakhan was brilliant in his mid-range game, as he is really making a name for himself with those trademark step back jump shots, as he scored nearly all of his points after the half time break. While Scott Morrison (13 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks) was handy early on.

For the Tigers it didn’t go all their way throughout the night, as they felt the real burn of the home side and their fans throughout the second quarter and fell victim to an 18-0 run which seriously put the game on edge, as the visitors were only able to manage six points in the quarter.

The fortunate thing for the Tigers was that they jumped out of the blocks well to start the second half, plus a crucial 10-0 run at the end of the third, start of the fourth was the shift in momentum Melbourne needed.

In what was a successful week for the Tigers, they once again face a tough double header next week as they take a trip north to face the two Queensland teams (one home, one away), while Wollongong will try to lick their wounds and attempt to bounce back against the league leaders Perth Wildcats.

Cairns end 2013 on high, upset Wildcats

Behind a consistent contribution throughout the four periods from Demetri McCamey, the Cairns Taipans looked back to their pre-season best as they knocked off the Perth Wildcats 99-90.

As McCamey (22 points, 2 steals) was efficient all night, shooting 8 from 12 on the floor, it was the all round team play that sent Perth back on the bus without anything to take away from the game.

With an offensive first half, prominently displayed by some wonderful finishes from the away team, mainly James Ennis (21 points, 7 rebounds) and Matt Knight (21 points, 5 rebounds), the Snakes didn’t seem too far out of their comfort playing an up-tempo style which saw both team score 50+ in the opening ten minutes.

The Taipans were led by some streaky shooting of Cam Tragardh (9 points) and the inside, outside presence of Alex Loughton (17 points, 5 rebounds). However, it was the return to form of Stephen Weigh (15 points) which kept the game close which allowed the home side to pounce early in the second half.

The game turned, mentality wise, as the Snakes disrupted their opponent’s offensive sets as Perth struggled to maintain their high scoring rate. This allowed for easy transition buckets down the other end, which was a real issue for the ‘Cats during the second half, allowing 19 points off their 14 turnovers.

As the final period was heating up, Perth were in serious trouble from early stages, as both Ennis and Shawn Redhage were both in foul trouble, which forced Trevor Gleeson to use an array of different line-ups which unsettled the league leaders.

This allowed the Taipans to run to the finish line, which included a Cam Gliddon highlight play which included a chase down block on Ennis followed by a three pointer down the other end to clinch victory.

In concerns for both teams, Matt Knight was forced to hospital due to concussion, while for the Cairns Tragardh exited the game with an ankle injury only moments after Knight’s incident occurred.

Perth will look to bounce back next week with a trip to Wollongong, while the Taipans hit the road for a Sydney/Melbourne double, which is pivotal for their rise up the NBL ladder.

Adelaide fight back, steal victory at the death against the Crocs

In what was an exciting game with a thrilling finish, the Adelaide 36ers managed to storm home in the final quarter to excel past the Townsville Crocodiles 90-89.

Led by guards Adam Gibson (14 points, 5 assists) and Jason Cadee (18 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists) in Gary Ervin’s absence, the duo were electric down the stretch, scoring on big possessions and controlling the glass at every opportunity.

Cadee was the man of the moment during the fourth quarter, coming up big nearly every time down the floor. This included three massive field goals which included two triples and a pretty little floater, taking the Sixers on an 18-3 game winning run.

Despite big performances from Todd Blanchfield (17 points, 6 rebounds), Brian Conklin (20 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks) and Steven Markovic (11 points, 11 assists), all of Townsville’s firepower was used up in the first three quarters, yet couldn’t put the result beyond doubt.

While the home side shot a comfortable 46 percent from the floor, Markovic showed his true leadership getting his teammates involved despite his 4/13 shooting.

A major issue for Townsville however, was that they gave up too many easy opportunities, especially one’s that came from second and third chances. Daniel Johnson (20 points, 9 rebounds) and Anthony Petrie (12 points 8 rebounds) were decisive on the glass, as the Sixers grabbed 17 offensive boards.

Despite a very entertaining and fast paced game in was throughout the first three quarters, it came down to a lack of mentality down the stretch which gave Adelaide every opportunity to come back and make a play at the game, and that they did, escaping the Swamp with a much needed victory to end 2013.

The Sixers look to start the New Year on a high, the same way they finished the previous year as they head home to face the defending champs New Zealand. Townsville look like the face an uphill battle to fight to stay off the bottom and will look for a victory against the Melbourne Tigers at home.

Round 11 Summary

Melbourne Tigers 74 (Goulding 30, Farrakhan 10, Tomlinson 9) Wollongong Hawks 67 (Clarke 16, Demos 13, Tiggs 13) Attendance: 3,500 @ State Netball & Hockey Centre

Sydney Kings 83 (Madgen 26, Young 21, Garlepp 14) New Zealand Breakers 99 (Wilkinson 31, Johnson 21, Garlepp 14) Attendance: 5,655 @ Sydney Entertainment Centre

Wollongong Hawks 81 (Clarke 37, Tiggs 8, Forman 8) Melbourne Tigers 81 (Farrakhan 23, Goulding 22, Morrison 13) Attendance: 2,633 @ Wollongong Entertainment Centre

Cairns Taipans 99 (McCamey 22, Loughton 20, Weigh 15) Perth Wildcats 90 (Knight 21, Ennis 21, Wagstaff 14) Attendance: 4,809 @ Cairns Convention Centre

Townsville Crocodiles 89 (Conklin 20, Crawford 19, Blanchfield 17) Adelaide 36ers 90 (Johnson 20, Cadee 18, Gibson 14) Attendance: 3,920 @ Townsville Entertainment Centre