NBL 2013/14: Round 15 Wrap

Round 15 in the NBL provided tough doubles for both Wollongong and Melbourne. One team ended up sweeping the weekend! Find out which club nabbed two crucial wins below.

Breakers down Hawks in shoot-out

New Zealand has rebounded from their heavy defeat at the hands of Perth with an entertaining 106-101 victory over Wollongong on Thursday night.

Kerron Johnson (21 points) was back to his best for the Breakers, while Tom Abercrombie (20 points, 6 rebounds) also returned to form after a disappointing last outing in Perth.

For the Hawks, Kevin Tiggs (24 points, 5 rebounds, 10-12 FG in 25 minutes) was superb and drove most of their offense throughout, while Rotnei Clarke (23 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) recovered from a slow start to keep his side in touch.

Both teams started strongly in a free-flowing first quarter with the Breakers taking a 30-26 lead into the break on the back of a hot Abercrombie.

Tiggs did his best to return fire with a stunning start, scoring 10 points in limited minutes before the first break before continuing to ignite his side in the second.

Despite the best efforts of he and Rhys Martin (15 points), who got the hot hand in the second term, the Breakers held sway at the long break thanks to Gary Wilkinson (20 points, 4 assists, 3-3 3PT) and led 55-49 going into the third.

Tiggs continued his strong play early in the third while teammate Dave Gruber (21 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 3 blocks, 8-11 FG) also lent a hand in a bit of everything as the Hawks closed to within a single basket at the final change.

Enter Clarke, who took over for the visitors as they took the lead late in the fourth as the Breakers began to falter.

A Mika Vukona (11 points, 6 rebounds) and-one tied it up with under two minutes remaining before Johnson made a foul shot and a three-point bomb off a Vukona offensive rebound after missing the second the give the Breakers a decisive lead.

Another bomb from Wilkinson ended the match with 37 seconds on the clock as the Breakers held on for a much-needed victory to keep in touch with the top four.

The offense throughout was excellent as both sides shot at 56% from the field and the assist count was 21-20, with neither team scoring less than 23 points in any quarter.

New Zealand will host the in-form Sydney Kings next Thursday night as they look to gain more ground on fourth place, while Wollongong will host Melbourne on Sunday to close out round 15.

Taipans skip past Crocs in Reptile Rumble

Cairns has kept its finals hopes alive and kicking with a 90-79 victory over Townsville in an entertaining Reptile Rumble on Friday night.

For the victors it was Jamar Wilson (23 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists) doing all the damage in a superb display, with the wily point guard unstoppable on his way to the rim.

He got plenty of help from Stephen Weigh (17 points, 7 rebounds, 7-10 FG), Demetri McCamey (17 points, 4 rebounds, 4-5 3PT) and Cam Gliddon (18 points) in a win which saw them shoot at 48% from beyond the arc.

The match got off to a slow start as both sides struggled for ascendancy and the scores were locked at just 13-apiece at the first break thanks to six straight points in the final two minutes of the quarter by the Snakes.

While the Crocs looked the better side for much of the first, it was all Cairns in the second as the visitors got on a run.

Led by Weigh, who didn’t miss on any of his first six field goal attempts, the Taipans created some breathing space, with a 31-point quarter helping them to an 11-point lead at the main break.

The Crocs came out breathing fire in the second, with Brian Conklin (26 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists) and Steven Markovic (21 points, 5 assists) reducing the margin to just two points within four minutes and taking the lead on a Markovic triple with a little over three minutes remaining before the three quarter time break.

The Snakes took a four point lead into the final term and extended it early thanks largely to Wilson and Gliddon, and despite a four-point play by Markovic keeping his side in touch with time running out, the Crocs couldn’t bridge the gap.

Shooting 12-25 from the arc proved the difference for Cairns, with the Crocs going just 6-18 from deep and being unable to keep up with their red-hot opponents.

Cairns will travel to Perth and Adelaide next week in a very tough assignment, playing the Wildcats on Thursday before facing the Sixers on Saturday. Townsville will host Wollongong on Friday night as they look to slow their recent skid.

Tigers pip Perth with a Worthington triple as time expired

The Melbourne Tigers have triumphed over the Wildcats thanks to a Mark Worthington triple at the horn to snatch an 83-80 win in Perth.

With the game all tied up at 80, Anstey’s play was clearly drawn up for Chris Goulding (23 points), who had played honourably throughout the contest, however it was the double team that came straight to the Tigers star scorer who delightfully handed it off to an open Worthington (24 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals) and made no mistake hitting the bottom of the net.

For the home side it was Tom Jervis (21 points, 5 rebounds) leading the charge as he made the most of his chances once again with Matt Knight sitting on the sidelines, while James Ennis and Jermaine Beal (7 points, 6 assists, 3 for 12 FG) were both slowed down significantly.

This didn’t stop Ennis (19 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals) having some sort of impact on the game, with tough lay-ups and buzzer beaters of his own to keep his team well and truly in the game.

While Ennis may have started off nicely in the opening quarter, it was then the league’s leading scorer to go to work as Goulding hit an array of jumpers in addition to a nice pass to set up three more Melbourne points.

Scott Morrison (12 points, 10 rebounds) got it going in the third, making it tough down low for Jervis on both ends at that stage, although the Cats’ big man certainly held his own.

However, it was all down to the final period where the game found itself going back and forth with fans knowing there was a thriller in the making.

Shawn Redhage (15 points) nailed a deep three to take the home side four points clear with a couple of minutes left. Yet the Tigers didn’t give in, with tough jumpers and brilliant drives to the cup, it seemed it was bound to be a Melbourne victory following Goulding’s fourth and final triple of the night to put his team back in the lead.

Damain Martin (12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals) got the crowd back on their feet in the dying seconds with another lay in to tie the scores with many predicting five extra minutes, until Worthington’s final bucket sealed it for the visitors to erupt the celebrations yet stun home fans.

Melbourne became the first team to win inside the Perth Arena this season and sit comfortably in third with an 11-8 record as they travel to Wollongong later in the weekend to end their road double. Perth on the other hand not must wait long to exact revenge as they host Cairns next week before travelling to Melbourne in their double header weekend.

Madgen lights up, Kings roll on past Sixers

Thanks to an end-to-end team performance, the Sydney Kings have defeated the Adelaide 36ers 105-93 inside the Kingdome on Sunday.

In what was an entertaining, high scoring encounter, the Kings never trailed at any of the main breaks on their way to their fourth straight victory.

Ben Madgen was electric on the offensive end, providing 25 points, shooting at 64% including three of three from downtown. The Kings guard also pulled down seven rebounds and picked three pockets in his stellar display.

Credit: Geoff Tripp for photography.

The fourth quarter was his specialty though, with Adelaide pushing on and becoming a real threat of stealing victory, Madgen knocked down big shots to extend the margin again, and then put the icing on the cake with a perfect pass that ended in a Sam Young slam.

While the first two periods weren’t the best periods of basketball we had seen this season, the big names still managed to get themselves on the scoreboard and involved in the game.

Daniel Johnson (28 points, 8 rebounds) was a menice inside and created serious problems for the Kings, who frustrated opposition centre A.J. Ogilvy which ended up resulting in a technical later on in the game.

Ogilvy however, managed to step up his game during the second half, like many others, despite not attempting a field goal for the duration of the game. In saying that, the Kings big man still found a way to close in on a unique triple double, with seven points, seven rebounds and eight blocks.

As the game opened up during the third term, Sam Young (21 points, 4 assists) was always close to the action. Sydney rode multiple players’ hot hands on their course to a ten point lead at the final change.

The Sixers never felt like they were out of the game and burst out with an 8-0 run to start the final period with Gary Ervin (24 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists) coming to life showing his pure brilliance.

Sydney was always playing one better though as Madgen stepped up to the plate once again to calm the home side’s nerves and power on to a 12 point victory.

Adam Gibson was quiet for the visitors thanks to the referees pulling him up on hand checks and bumps which ended up handing the guard an early shower after just 17 minutes on the floor.

The box score wouldn’t have helped Joey Wright’s post-match team talk much either, with the Sixers shooting a staggering 23 more field goal attempts more than their opponents. Sydney compiled 30 of their points from the free throw line, going there a massive 38 times in the forty minute encounter.

Sydney will look to extend their win streak to five with a trip to New Zealand, while Adelaide will head home to face Cairns who will be playing their second game of the weekend.

Tigers push past Wollongong behind Greer’s big game

Tommy Greer lit up the WIN Entertainment Centre on Sunday evening with a dazzling display as the captain led his Tigers to a tough 86-78 win over the Hawks.

Coming into the contest with only a handful of games under his belt after returning from injury, Greer (21 points, 11 rebounds) was found to be left wide open by the defence on multiple occasions in the opening half, which injected a flurry of points for the Tigers.

On the other end, it was the home side’s captain keeping the Hawks in the game as Oscar Forman (21 points, 4 rebounds) was knocking down shots from international waters at will, with crucial shots down the stretch to give his team a glimmer of hope.

Melbourne was too strong down the stretch though, with Chris Goulding once again proving why he is the league’s leading scorer, finding ways to get to the free throw line and connecting on all 12 of his attempts on his way to a game high 31 points.

It wasn’t always smooth sailing for the Tigers however, with the Hawks jumping out to a three point lead at quarter time, with Kevin Tiggs (16 points) extending his hot hand from the previous game.

Greer and Goulding then combined for 23 of Melbourne’s 25 second term points to steer the visitors in the right direction, until their offence went missing in the third with the team struggling to find the open man.

Wollongong pounced at the opportunity with Forman and Rotnei Clarke (13 points) finding their range from behind the arc, while Rhys Martin’s (8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals) nifty lay-in before the buzzer had the home side leading by the slightest of margins at the final change.

From there it seemed as if Melbourne locked themselves back in, as Greer connected once again plus Mark Worthington, who was very close to being a late withdrawal pre-game, hit a decisive three pointer to extend the margin.

The Tigers sit in third spot looking to charge at Adelaide for number two, and will face a tough visit from the league leaders next weekend. Wollongong now find themselves in a tough predicament if they are to make the playoffs and will need to win in their visit to Townsville.

Round 15 Summary

New Zealand Breakers 106 (Johnson 21, Abercrombie 20, Wilkinson 20) Wollongong Hawks 101 (Tiggs 24, Clarke 23, Gruber 21) Attendance: - @ North Shore Events Centre

Townsville Crocodiles 79 (Conklin 26, Markovic 21, Blanchfield 8) Cairns Taipans 90 (Wilson 23, Gliddon 17, McCamey 17) Attendance: 3,405 @ Townsville Entertainment Centre

Perth Wildcats 80 (Jervis 21, Ennis 19, Redhage 15) Melbourne Tigers 83 (Worthington 24, Goulding 23, Tomlinson 13) Attendance: 11,493 @ Perth Arena

Sydney Kings 105 (Madgen 25, Young 21, Garlepp 21) Adelaide 36ers 93 (Johnson 28, Ervin 24, Frye 13) Attendance: 3,622 @ Sydney Entertainment Centre

Wollongong Hawks 78 (Forman 21, Tiggs 16, Clarke 13) Melbourne Tigers 86 (Goulding 31, Greer 21, Tomlinson 13) Attendance: 1,836 @ Wollongong Entertainment Centre