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SEABL Round 1: Road Teams Revel as the CoE Picks Up a Debut Win
Photo Credit: SEABL
It was a weekend for the road teams to begin the season, with Geelong, North West Tasmania and Hobart all beginning their campaigns with back-to-back wins away from home.
The Hobart Chargers were arguably the most impressive in Round 1, defeating the Frankston Blues and the reigning champions, the Dandenong Rangers. Facing his old side, Brandon Polk starred for the Blues with 20 points and 9 rebounds but with all five of their starters reaching double figures, the Chargers romped to an easy 72-63 victory. Deba George led Hobart with 20 points and backed it up with a sensational display against Dandenong, recording 35 points and 5 assists while hitting 8-15 from the three point line. Jerrah Young, Hobart’s latest import, also impressed with an average of 16.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists for the weekend. Dandenong played without their superstar, Daequon Montreal and although his import partner, Tony Lewis, racked up 29 points and 9 boards, there was a distinct lack of firepower as they lost 89-108.
The N/W Tasmania Thunder eased through their matches, thrashing the Albury/Wodonga Bandits and Knox Raiders by 17 and 20 points respectively. Their newest import, BJ Jenkins, ran riot for an average of 33.5 points, 6 rebounds and 5.5 assists whilst playing 77 minutes for the round. The Thunder haven’t made the post-season since 2008 and although they will rely heavily on Jenkins, their immediate future looks bright.
Despite a relatively easy schedule, the Geelong Supercats will be pleased to put two road wins on the board, taking care of the Canberra Gunners and SEABL’s debutants, the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence. The CoE is made up of players aged between 15-18 with only Tanner Krebs owning previous SEABL experience. This year will be highly valuable to their development but they will have to endure some tough matches, as they did against Geelong. The CoE were out-scored 50-22 in the paint and conceded 20 points off turnovers in a 22 point loss. The Supercats dropped only the third quarter against the Gunners the night before as they did all the damage in the first half to cruise to a 69-84 victory. Ash Cannan (12 points, 11 rebounds) averaged a double-double for the weekend while Canberra’s Garlon Green put up 25 shots for his 26 points in the loss.
The closest match of the round was played between the Bendigo Braves and Brisbane Spartans as the Braves escaped with a 1 point win. The lead changed hands five times in the final term with Dustin Salisbery knocking down a field goal to give Bendigo the lead with 7 seconds remaining. After a time-out, Dean Brebner was able to get a three-pointer off in time but it rimmed out. Salisbery celebrated his SEABL debut in style, finishing with 28 points while CJ Massingale top-scored for his new side with 27. Brisbane followed up that heartbreaker with a disappointing return against the Nunawading Spectres the following day, soundly beaten by 27. Massingale was a non-factor in the match as the Spectres’ big three of Chris Cameron, Simon Conn and Shane McDonald combined for half of their teams’ 90 points. Conn was especially efficient, hitting 9-11 from the field and pulling down 15 boards.
In the other two matches of the round, the Mt. Gambier Pioneers began the season on Friday night with a solid win over the Ballarat Miners. They trailed by 9 at quarter time but had pulled in front by the main break and didn’t look back, running out 9 point victors. After finishing runner-up in 2013, the Pioneers lost one of their stars in Titus Robinson but Damian Johnson looks an adequate replacement and with Brad Hill and Ben Allen returning, Mt.Gambier should once again compete in the post-season.
The Kilsyth Cobras kept their foot on the throat of the Sandringham Sabres during their clash, leading by 18 at three-quarter time before piling on 31 in the final period to win by 34 points. Kilsyth shot 57% for the match with three of their starters scoring over 20.
The Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence was the biggest story to come out of Round 1 for the women, with the latest addition to SEABL grabbing an historic first victory.
The CoE women’s side is not as inexperienced as the men’s team with three of their five starters having played in the SEABL before but it was still a result that few saw coming. Owning a 14 point lead at the final break, the CoE survived a late scare from the Geelong Lady Supercats as they drew within 3 points with under 4 minutes to play. However, cool heads prevailed with Carly Mijovic (17 points and 10 rebounds) the star in the 69-62 win. The loss came a night after the Lady Supercats opened the season with a comfortable 11 point victory over the Canberra Capitals. Sara Blicavs averaged 18.5 points for the round off the bench while Candice Rogers pulled down 12.5 rebounds a game for the weekend.
The Albury/Wodonga Lady Bandits have a 4-48 record over the past two seasons and the signs for 2014 are once again dire with an insipid display against the Launceston Tornadoes this weekend. They were out-rebounded 22-51, giving up 26 second chance points in the process and managing scores of just 12, 15, 19 and 13 in each quarter. The Tornadoes won just one game last year and although they have improved with Nadeen Pryce and Emma McKenzie joining their roster, the 59-87 scoreline was an indictment on the Lady Bandits’ hopes for the season. Launceston could not complete the road double the following day, losing to the Knox Raiders by 13. Jess May had a day out for Knox, shooting 12-24 from the field (including 6-11 from downtown) to finish with 33 points and 12 rebounds in a Player of the Week performance. Despite shooting 28% as a team in the game, the Tornadoes got huge production from Lauren Mansfield who averaged 22 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists for the weekend.
The Hobart Lady Chargers suffered the worst opening round, falling to the Frankston Lady Blues by 13 points and then the Dandenong Rangers by 25. The Lady Chargers lost two big names in the off-season in Lindsay Laur and Tayla Roberts and are currently suffering from a depleted bench that only provided 9 points over both matches. They do have significant firepower in their starting five from the likes of Kathleen Scheer and Eliza Chilcott but fatigue will remain a problem. Frankston will be very pleased with Kelly Bowen and Maddie Garrick scoring over 20 points while Dandenong were also comfortable at the offensive end, shooting 48% as a team. Their starting five is one of the strongest in the league, with a combination of strength, speed and experience that should take them deep into the playoffs for a sixth straight year.
The round was closed with a barn-burner, as the Brisbane Lady Spartans pulled off an upset to defeat the Nunawading Spectres 60-61. After Sarah Graham hit two free throws to put the road team ahead, Alanna Smith missed what eventuated into Nunawading’s final field goal attempt with 30 seconds remaining. Smith (13 points and 9 boards) led the Spectres from the bench but a dominant 17 and 14 from Olivia Thompson (who averaged 18 and 9.5 for the weekend) proved the difference. Brisbane escaped back-to-back defeats having fallen to the Bendigo Lady Braves the night before. Bendigo did not lose a quarter, cruising to a 9 point win behind 20 and 14 from Alex Bunton and 24 combined points from Rosie Fadljevic and Kerryn Harrington off the bench. The Kilsyth Lady Cobras also picked up a win in Round 1, forcing the Sandringham Sabres into 23 turnovers on their way to a 73-64 victory. Hitting 5-8 from beyond the arc, Rosie Moult finished with 20 points while Hope Walker recorded a double-double with 26 and 12 rebounds.
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