NBL 2013/14: Round 7 Wrap

Perth fell for the first time and Wollongong and Townsville recorded upset victories on the road in round 7 of the NBL. Let’s see how the round played out.

Breakers snap losing streak with win over Crocs

New Zealand has finally managed to snap its losing streak and get back on track with a hard-fought 81-74 victory over Townsville on Friday night.

Led by Tom Abercrombie (24 points, 5-8 3PT), the home side rallied early to gain an eight-point advantage at the first break before seeing off a number of Croc challenges throughout the contest.

The visitors were led by Josh Pace (14 points, 6 rebounds) and Todd Blanchfield (14 points, 5 rebounds) in what was an even contribution across the board from a number of players.

Townsville closed within three points with under a minute to go twice, with two Kerron Johnson foul shots in between keeping them at bay. Enter Abercrombie, who stepped up to nail a triple with just 30 seconds left to play to seal the victory for good.

Johnson (7 points, 2-5 FG) struggled once again and has dropped off alarmingly after a hot start to the season, and seems to be struggling to find the shots he was getting earlier on.

The home team shot 11-24 from deep, compared to the Crocs who were just 3-13, in what was the decisive stat on the night and turned out to be the difference between the two sides. Abercrombie and Darryl Corletto (14 points, 3-6 3PT) were the main culprits from long range.

New Zealand will host the Melbourne Tigers on Thursday night next week, while Townsville travel to Melbourne to finish their double this weekend before heading into a bye next weekend.

Adelaide’s defence key as Sixers knock off Perth

Despite a fury comeback in the second half from the visiting Wildcats, Adelaide showed all their grit in a determined win to cool off the undefeated Perth in Adelaide on Friday night 91-86.

With a staggering defensive display from the Sixers, the first half was a nightmare for Perth as they struggled to get any sort of rhythm into the contest.

The second quarter was the worst quarter of basketball we’ve seen from the Wildcats in their opening nine games, registering only ten points while allowing their opponent to go on a 22-2 run which ultimately led to the victory.

Adelaide forced the ‘Cats into a frenzy, shooting an abysmal 24% from the floor in the first twenty minutes, while the likes of Daniel Johnson (24 points, 5 rebounds) and Gary Ervin (22 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals) were electric proving why their side are a true championship contender.

The ‘Cats never gave up however, and were confident that they could slowly peg back the deficit throughout the second half.

That they did, with Shawn Redhage (30 points, 8 rebounds) leading the charge, pouring in a monstrous 25 second half points. Damian Martin (11 points, 7 rebound, 5 assists) and James Ennis (13 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals) produced key plays at both ends of the floor, to eventually bring them back within 3 points with under a minute left.

However, Perth scuffed their chance at erasing the deficit any further, with an unusual ball handling error which forced the visitors to foul. Adam Gibson knocked down the key free throws which ended Perth’s unbeaten start to the season.

For the home side, Jarrid Frye was the only negative to take away from the evening, re-injuring his right ankle.

Perth head home to face newly acquired Sam Young and the Sydney Kings on Sunday in what should be one of the games of the season, although it will be a tough task to better this performance. While the Sixers square off with Wollongong at home next weekend.

Clarke inspires Hawks in nail-biting win over Snakes

The Wollongong Hawks have secured their second win of the year with a victory over the Cairns Taipans 75-73 on a Rotnei Clarke go-ahead bucket within the final seconds of play.

photo credit: MR FOOJI via photopin cc

In what was a topsy-turvy evening for both sides, Clarke (27 points) was involved in the contentious decision to count the basket after a foul had been called on Taipans star Cameron Gliddon with only moments left in the game.

Cairns had one last chance to steal a win away from the probable deserved victors, however a chance from Cam Tragardh (18 points) was unsuccessful before Gliddon’s last gasp three was waived away for being just marginally after the buzzer.

The visitors were led by the hot shooting Clarke all night as he always seemed to find a way to the basket or knock down contested shots at the right moment in the contest which kept Cairns at bay.

While the Taipans found some rhythm during small patches of the game thanks to the likes of Alex Loughton (18 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists) and Tragardh, the now troubled Snakes once again failed to solidify their lead in the final period which will now ask even more questions about Cairns’ early season record.

This was shown by the unimpressive third term where Cairns took a commanding lead in the game’s perspective, however their choice of offensive sets and lack of perimeter defence let their opponent straight back into the match which has been an occurring feat.

Dropping to now a dismal 2-6, the last placed Taipans will be looking to bounce back from its first six game losing streak under current head coach Aaron Fearne against the Perth Wildcats in what will no doubt be a tough ask. The Hawks will face an equally tough challenge when they head to Adelaide to face the second-placed 36ers.

Townsville shoot down Tigers at the Cage

On the back of Steven Markovic (15 points, 4 assists) and Josh Pace (18 points, 6 rebounds), the Townville Crocodiles have exited Melbourne with a well deserved 90-75 win over the Tigers.

The game started with the Crocs shooting out of the gates showing no fatigue from their previous game earlier in the weekend, while the Tigers looked flat and out of sorts which led to an overhaul of turnovers and a 25-13 first quarter deficit.

Townsville used a hot shooting first half throughout the roster to take a seven point lead into the main break, with veteran Peter Crawford (11 points, 4 steals) a key part in the visitor’s early success.

Throughout a tight third term, Melbourne found themselves once again relying heavily on the offence of Chris Goulding (25 points) which isn’t the best point of call moving forward. The Tigers needed to find a team game, and while it may have taken them two and a half quarters to find it, the dividends paid off when they did.

Off the back of energy plays from Mark Worthington (14 points, 6 rebounds), Lucas Walker (9 points, 11 rebounds) and Auryn MacMillan (4 points, 6 rebounds), the Tigers were looking at taking a steady lead into the final break.

However this was tainted by a poor final offensive possession which resulted in a shot clock turnover plus a Markovic half-court heave which rolled and bounced it’s way around the rim and went down, which shifted the momentum 180 degrees.

Both teams had chances to take control of the game throughout the final period, however poor offensive decisions leading to more contested Goulding jump shots allowed the Crocs to extinguish any Tiger lead and go on their own 10-2 run to kill the game during the final two minutes.

In what was the Tigers import’s first game, Mustapha Farrakhan showed promise, yet was quite obviously seen as a player still trying to fit into a new system. He failed to really affect the game; however there were positive signs for all Tigers fans as he previewed what he will bring to the table.

Townsville take a well deserved break after their hefty road double this week, while the Tigers fly across the Tasman to take on the Breakers in what is now set up to be a decisive game between middle of the table teams, before heading back home to face the Kings on Sunday.

‘Cats demolish new-look Kings to send statement

Perth have rebounded from dropping their first game on Friday in style, winning every quarter convincingly en route to a 98-55 demolition of a hapless Sydney Kings on Sunday afternoon.

The home side won every quarter by margins of 10, eight, 17 and eight in the rout, with Trevor Gleeson able to sit his entire starting five for the whole last quarter.

Earlier, James Ennis (18 points in 18 minutes) was his instrumental self, while Jermaine Beal (14 points, 4-6 3PT) and Shawn Redhage (14 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists) were also on fire.

However it was Damian Martin (9 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals, 4-4 FG) who was the pick of the bunch, recording three first quarter steals and setting the ‘Cats on their way with his typical work on both ends of the floor.

For the Kings, new import Sam Young (14 points, 4 rebounds) showed glimpses and will be a force, but struggled to get going in the tough loss, while Charles Carmouche (15 points, 4 rebounds) was the only other player in double figures.

The hot-shooting Ben Madgen (7 points, 2-9 FG) was dead cold, registering some late baskets to bolster his stat-line, while the usually reliable AJ Ogilvy (10 points, 3 rebounds, 1-4 FG) played just 20 minutes before fouling out in easily his worst display of the season.

The Wildcats dominated every stat, shooting 55% to the Kings’ 28%, outrebounding their opponents 44-24, and having 29 assists to just six in a dominant display which will send shivers to the following pack.

Perth will travel to Cairns on Saturday night to take on the struggling Taipans, while Sydney will head south to Melbourne to take on the Tigers on Sunday.

Round 7 Summary

New Zealand Breakers 81 (Abercrombie 24, Corletto 16, Wilkinson 12) Townsville Crocodiles 74 (Blanchfield 14, Pace 14, Conklin 12) Attendance: 3,405 @ North Shore Events Centre

Adelaide 36ers 91 (Johnson 24, Ervin 22, Petrie 10) Perth Wildcats 86 (Redhage 30, Beal 18, Ennis 13) Attendance 6,585 @ Adelaide Arena

Cairns Taipans 73 (Loughton 18, Tragardh 18, McCamey 17) Wollongong Hawks 75 (Clarke 27, Tiggs 15, Martin 11) Attendance: 3,800 @ Cairns Convention Centre

Melbourne Tigers 75 (Goulding 25, Worthington 14, Tomlinson 13) Townsville Crocodiles 90 (Pace 18, Markovic 15, Crawford 11) Attendance: 3,315 @ State Netball & Hockey Centre

Perth Wildcats 98 (Ennis 18, Knight 16, Beal 14) Sydney Kings 55 (Carmouche 15, Young 14, Madgen 7) Attendance: 11,960 @ Perth Arena