NBL 2013/14: Round 16 Wrap

Round 16 in the NBL brought about close finishes in some and large margins in others. While some of the games lived up to expectations, some surprised most NBL fans! Check out what went down this past weekend.

Breakers thrash Kings to keep season alive

New Zealand have put in a dominant display in front of a big home crowd to keep in touch with the top four, running out 105-87 victors on Thursday night. Both teams started off strongly in an entertaining first term, with Gary Wilkinson’s (17 points, 4 rebounds) five late points helping the home side to a healthy 27-19 advantage after an even start. The gap closed to two early in the second with the injection of AJ Ogilvy (12 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists) back into the game, however Mika Vukona (15 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists) got the home side up and running and the margin was double figures once more within three minutes. The margin blew out to 19 at halftime as the Breakers began to run away with it, with Kerron Johnson (17 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists) and Tom Abercrombie (20 points, 5 rebounds, 8-11 FG) fuelling their side with some fast-paced offense and blistering shooting. Ogilvy, Ben Madgen (20 points) and Sam Young (29 points) threw everything at the Breakers in the third, making inroads into the big deficit early in the term. However the Breakers again fought back and when Ruben TeRangi (14 points, 6-7 FG) nailed a three with two minutes to play before the three-quarter time break the margin was over 20 and the game was over. The closest the Kings would get in the final term would be 12 points with less than two minutes remaining in the game as the home side ran out 18-point victors in a dominant display of offense. The Breakers shot 57% in the blitz despite going at just 6-17 for 35% from deep, while the Kings still shot at 50% themselves but just 4-18 at 22% from beyond the arc. New Zealand will look to further close in on the top four when they travel to Sydney as the two teams meet again next Saturday night at the Kingdome.

Home cookin’ no longer, as Perth fall to Cairns in OT

The solid foundations of the Perth Arena are finally starting to show its cracks. With Perth only failing to capture win there only twice before the loss last week to Melbourne, the Wildcats have no seemed to double that figure within the space of seven days as the Taipans rallied past the ‘Cats on Friday night in a 99-94 win in overtime. In what was the Snakes third consecutive road victory, they showed an amazing amount of belief in themselves to overcome the loud home crowd and silence them by the night’s end. The game wasn’t without its gasping moments though, with under a minute left in regulation, the Taipans led by six points and looked deserving winners until James Ennis (32 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists) and Jermaine Beal (11 points, 1/7 3pnt) hit triples in succession to tie the ball game. This was only to be countered by more Snakes points, only to be erased by a Beal drive to the cup with 1.7 seconds remaining to force the extra period. Foul trouble was a major concern for both teams, with Cairns being without workhorse Jamar Wilson (12 points) for overtime who simply gave his team that extra amount of confidence when he was on the floor slicing his way to the basket. Perth were also without Greg Hire and Jesse Wagstaff (13 points, 4 rebounds), along with star Shawn Redhage (27 points) fouling out not long after the restart. From there Taipans players hit their stride once again, only after they conceded the only four Perth points of the five minutes. Stephen Weigh (21 points, 5 rebounds) was instrumental in guiding his team to victory, along with Cameron Gliddon (16 points, 6 assists), who provided another classy four (no, five!) quarter effort to clinch victory.

Credit: Gordon Greaves of Gordon G Photography -  official photographer for the Skytrans Cairns Taipans and Cairns Basketball Inc

Credit: Gordon Greaves of Gordon G Photography -

official photographer for the Skytrans Cairns Taipans and Cairns Basketball Inc Stephen Weigh was showing signs of old throughout the first half, knocking down a couple of big buckets, except it was Shawn Redhage keeping Perth in the game, plus a Damian Martin picture perfect pass which found Ennis at the rim, led the ‘Cats into half time with a slender margin. However free throws started to become the Taipans’ winner, as Perth was running out of ways to stop easy baskets. The Snakes ended up being outrebounded, had more turnovers, a lower field goal percentage yet still managed to win. Free throws proved to be a major mover in the contest. With the cheap points coming from the line during the third and early fourth quarter, the visitors had jumped clear with a nine point buffer. Yet it wasn’t enough to keep the league leaders down, with Ennis lighting up again with a thunderous jam that made the crowd voice their thoughts on a possible comeback, ending up with the game tied after the completion of forty minutes. With the ‘Cats leading by four with a couple of minutes remaining in OT, Demetri McCamey (14 points) hit a very long three pointer to spark his team into overdrive, which was topped off by a sneaky Weigh basket off the tactical inbounds play. The Wildcats now head to Melbourne and will look to exact revenge on their home loss last week, while Cairns will need a little bit more luck on their hunt for the playoffs as the tackle the Crocs at home.

Crocs break drought, sweep Hawks away

Townsville have weathered all conditions as they finally broke their eight game losing streak to register a comfortable home victory against the Wollongong Hawks 80-67 on Saturday night. Although it may not have been the greatest of spectacles, the Crocs certainly made their home fans pleased, led by their distributor Steven Markovic who did a little bit of everything on the offensive end. Markovic was cool, calm and collected during his 24 minute stint, scoring 20 points and finding open teammates on eight occasions. The star point guard was helped out by import Josh Pace (14 points, 5 rebounds) who continues to chip in each and every game, flying under the radar at times. For the visitors, it was Kevin Tiggs who led the scoring in his limited minute affair with 17 points, despite six turnovers, while Tim Coenraad had 15 for the game. As the game found its rhythm, so did the home side as the Crocs put up 20 points to lead at quarter time for the first time in nearly two months. The second was similar, except this time Townsville couldn’t execute at crucial times and buckets were being traded at both ends. Wollongong changed their theory a little at the half time break and completely slowed the game down throughout the third, which created some unsettled fans inside the Swamp. Tiggs got going, mostly from the line (except for his dreadful attempt during the final period which provided the crowd just how bad a night it was for the visitors) during this time as both teams only managed 12 points apiece in the ten minute period. Quarter number four was completely different and the Crocs had found the upper hand again thanks to the faster tempo. As the foot was on the gas, Russell Hinder dropped a three which energised the crowd to carry them to the finish.

Ervin, Johnson help Sixers down Snakes in thriller

A huge night from Daniel Johnson and some more last second heroics from Gary Ervin has propelled Adelaide to a thrilling 89-87 victory over the Cairns Taipans on Saturday night. Johnson (33 points, 8 rebounds, 14-18 FG) was unstoppable all night as he man handled the Taipans inside the paint, while Ervin (17 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists) applied the finishing touches with a buzzer-beating layup to secure the hard-fought win. The Snakes started the brighter and took a 23-22 lead into the first break on the back of Alex Loughton (18 points, 6 rebounds, 8-11 FG) and despite an enormous 12-point quarter from Johnson. The 36ers big man continued on his way in the second term and took his tally up to 21 by the main break, in the process leading his side to a 54-48 lead as Ervin began to fire from deep. The Taipans hung around through Loughton and Jamar Wilson (17 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists), while Stephen Weigh (13 points, 5-7 FG) also hit his straps. Adelaide again began to pull away during the third term on the back of Ervin and Johnson, however the Snakes refused to go away yet again and the margin remained at just seven points heading into the final term. Despite the Sixers seemingly being in control for most of the match, including most of the final term as well, the visitors again made a run thanks to Loughton, Wilson and Clint Steindl (15 points, 5-7 3PT), who nailed three long bombs in the last quarter alone. Wilson was his typical self in the clutch, with an off-balance shot going down to tie the game with just under 24 seconds on the clock, setting the stage for Ervin’s heroics to lift the Sixers. Both teams shot over 50% in a high quality offensive affair, with the Sixers holding a 58% to 51% advantage. The Snakes also managed to go at 40% from deep on 10-25 shooting; however their hot-shooting from deep couldn’t get them over the line. Adelaide will travel to Wollongong to face the struggling Hawks next Sunday, while Cairns will host cross-town rivals Townsville in the fourth Reptile Rumble of the season on Saturday night.

‘Cats exact revenge as Tigers slide under new roof

Behind a stinging second quarter rally, with their claws well and truly out, the Perth Wildcats have embarrassed the Melbourne Tigers in their return to Hisense Arena on Sunday with an emphatic 81-57 win. While the two teams were sluggish during the opening quarter having to adjust to the new surroundings, it was Melbourne who was able to jump out to an early lead. Scott Morrison (8 points, 17 rebounds) took quick action to Perth’s starting line-up changes which saw Tom Jervis sent to the bench and play small ball early on, as ScoMo scored the opening bucket while pulling down a bunch of his 17 boards early. Leading 18 to 10 at the first break, the ball game broke open, quickly. Perth found their tenacious defence again which was severely lacking throughout their two game skid and pounced on a shell-shocked Tigers outfit with a staggering 35-9 second term, which included 22 unanswered points. As the Tigers struggled from the field, shooting percentages became a major problem for coach Anstey, as they finished the game shooting just 30%, including 19% from beyond the arc. Foul trouble was the second issue, with the Tigers needing to look deeper down their bench to find minutes due to Nate Tomlinson and Chris Goulding’s concerns. The third term was similar to the first, as Perth continued their ways to force their opposition to commit silly mistakes, however were unable to contribute on the scoreboard as much as they would have liked, keeping the same 18 point margin at the final change. From there it seemed as if both teams had conceded that the final result was inevitable, with coaches from both ends throwing their younger stars on the floor. Jermaine Beal inspired the second quarter brilliance with 21 points and 6 assists, dropping five triples. MVP candidate James Ennis was the man of the moment once again throughout the four quarters notching 16 points, 12 rebounds and 5 steals, plus player of the game honours. For the home side Scott Morrison was the rare positive, while Mark Worthington (14 points, 8 rebounds) left everything he had on the floor. The league’s leading scorer Chris Goulding no longer holds that position as his six point (2 for 9FG), five foul effort was not enough to keep up with his opposing counterpart. Melbourne now head into a bye week, which probably couldn’t have come at a better time. A period where they can reflect on where they went wrong against the ‘Cats and how they can turn that around come playoff time. The Wildcats will head to Townsville in hope to extend their margin at the top.

Round 15 Summary

New Zealand Breakers 105 (Abercrombie 20, Johnson 17, Wilkinson 17) Sydney Kings 87 (Young 29, Madgen 20, Carmouche 17) Attendance: 6,052 @ Vector Arena Perth Wildcats 94 (Ennis 32, Redhage 27, Wagstaff 13) Cairns Taipans 99 (Weigh 21, Gliddon 16, McCamey 14) Attendance: 11,771 @ Perth Arena Townsville Crocodiles 80 (Markovic 20, Pace 14, Conklin 12) Wollongong Hawks 67 (Tiggs 17, Coenraad 15, Clarke 12) Attendance: 3,098 @ Townsville Entertainment Centre Adelaide 36ers 89 (Johnson 33, Ervin 17, Creek 13) Cairns Taipans 87 (Loughton 18, Wilson 17, Steindl 15) Attendance: 5,519 @ Adelaide Arena Melbourne Tigers 57 (Worthington 14, Farrakhan 12, Ballinger 9) Perth Wildcats 81 (Beal 21, Wagstaff 18, Ennis 16) Attendance: 6,323 @ Hisense Arena