SEABL Round 13: Gunners Hit a Second Straight Game Winner while the Spectres Win a Classic
For the second week in a row, the Canberra Gunners have won on a game-winning shot with the Kilsyth Cobras this round’s victim. The match was close the entire way but with 3:48 remaining, Kilsyth jumped out to a 9 point lead. The Gunners finished strong with an 11-2 run though before Dan Joyce nailed a field goal that won it with 4 seconds to go. The final score was 77-75 with Garlon Green (25 points) and Matt Staff (10 points, 12 rebounds) leading the way. Kyle Adnam (22 and 11 with 6 assists) did all he could for the Cobras but Canberra’s win places them in a group of four teams just one win outside the South Conference top four.
The Bendigo Braves hit the road for the Tasmanian double this weekend and things started perfectly on Friday night, with a 96-85 win over the Hobart Chargers. Hobart are falling in a heap, having lost their past four while their home record stands at 2-6. Their cause was not helped by a second straight off night for Deba George (9 points) but Tom Wright (23) and Khalil Hartwell (18 and 10 rebounds) did their best to pick up the slack. A 25-14 second term proved the difference with Bendigo’s Michael Vigor (20 points, 6 rebounds, 5 blocks) exerting his influence at both ends.
A tougher task awaited the Braves the following night against the N/W Tasmania Thunder and they couldn’t complete a weekend sweep, falling 67-88. The Thunder were merciless on defence, scoring 19-6 in points off turnovers which also led to a 14-0 advantage in fast break points. Nathan Wilson (16 points, 16 rebounds- 9 offensive) and Tyrone Lee (15 and 15) dominated inside as they took their home record to 8-1. For Bendigo, Zack Atkinson fought hard, averaging 16.5 points and 11.5 boards. Dustin Salisbery (16.5 and 10) was also effective and Josh Wilcher scored 29 across the two games as their 1-1 round was good enough to take an outright hold of fourth spot in the South Conference.
The finals hopes of the Albury/Wodonga Bandits are all but dashed after two more road losses took their losing streak to eight. The Mt. Gambier Pioneers defeated them 92-74, using a 27-14 third term to silence an otherwise competitive Bandits side. The class of Brad Hill (23 points), Tom Daly (19) and Damian Johnson (14 and 12 rebounds) proved overwhelming with the South Conference leaders remaining unbeaten at home (8-0).
An incredible performance from Junior Hairston then saw off the Bandits the following night as the Sandringham Sabres won 99-81. Hairston shot 16-19 from the field and 5-6 from the three point line for 41 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks in an absolutely clinical display. He was aided by Rayshawn Goins (18 points and 10 boards) as the Sabres shot 61% as a team. The Bandits’ own import, Lamar Mallory, had his most successful round, averaging 18.5 and 9 while Alex Bogart-King averaged 13.5 points. However, their season record now sits at 3-14.
Matt O’Hea was able to celebrate his 300th game in style, scoring a season high 20 points as his Nunawading Spectres overcame the Ballarat Miners, 104-82. All five starters scored 14+ and they shot 56% and 13-20 from deep as a team with Shane McDonald (16 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists) back to his best after an injury. Ballarat were in touch with the home side at the final break but a 9-26 fourth quarter ruined any chance of an upset.
During the week, the Miners were dealt a huge blow when it was announced that the league’s leading scorer and assist man, Roy Booker, was out for the rest of the season with an Achilles injury. Ballarat had no time to lament though, with a match against the Knox Raiders the day after the Spectres loss. They got back in the winners circle on Sunday, winning 107-67 as Ken Horton (40 points, 20 boards) took over the highlight duties. He only hit 2-11 from deep but shot 14-27 overall and added 5 assists, 3 steals and 4 blocks. Nathan Sobey was also impressive over the round; averaging 23 points while Dyricus Edwards, Booker’s replacement, showed promise with 23 points against Nunawading. On a positive note for Knox, Leif Cope has given them hope for the rest of the year with a season high 11 points and 15 rebounds.
The Frankston Blues’ offence was firing on all cylinders against the Brisbane Spartans, overcoming a 7 point first quarter deficit to run out 100-79 victors. Six Frankston players scored 11+ with Brandon Polk (24 points, 11 rebounds) and Chuck Long (16 and 11) nabbing double-doubles while they won the points in the paint battle 44-20. Brendon Teys scored 18 for the Spartans but a reliance on three-pointers has hurt them on several occasions and did again on Saturday night, as they hit just 10-26. The loss places Brisbane three wins outside the East Conference top four while Frankston are one of the four sides looking to enter the South finals race.
Along with Roy Booker, the awful news out of Round 12 was the loss of Geelong Supercats point guard, Mike Mercer. Geelong took up the challenge against the Dandenong Rangers, grabbing a 4 point lead in the final term before the might of Tony Lewis (27 points, 11 rebounds) willed Dandenong to an 87-77 win. Anthony White Jr. had 5 points and 5 boards in his debut as Mercer’s replacement but a move to the starting line-up did wonders for Alex Gynes (19 and 9). However, Geelong’s hold on the East Conference top spot suddenly looks vulnerable.
Nunawading Stadium saw a classic on Saturday night as the Spectres defeated the Ballarat Rush in overtime, 101-93. Ballarat led for the entire fourth quarter before Alanna Smith drained a field goal with 13 seconds remaining to tie the match. Steph Cumming then missed a game winner for the Rush and Nunawading took over in the extra period, shooting 5-7 and hitting 11-12 free throws. Smith (25 points, 12 rebounds) was spectacular off the bench while Bec Allen chipped in 23 and 8 with 5 assists. Cumming hit four long range shots for a game high 34 in the loss.
The Rush buttered up from that performance though with a 70-48 trouncing of the Knox Raiders the following day, keeping them in touch with the East Conference top four. Knox shot just 32% for the game and had little contribution beyond Jess May’s 12 points and Shanae Greaves’ 12 points and 9 rebounds. When Kelly Wilson or Gabe Richards play, the Raiders average 83 points; without either of them that number falls to 57. For Ballarat, Cumming finished with an average of 27 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists over the weekend while Kristy Rinaldi recorded 11 points and 8.5 boards.
The Bendigo Lady Braves remain atop the South Conference despite going 1-1 on their Tasmanian road trip this weekend. They dropped an important match against the Hobart Lady Chargers, 71-79 on Friday night. With Cayla Francis (23 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks) continuing her stellar season, Hobart have now won five straight and are threatening to dethrone Bendigo. Alongside Francis, Kathleen Scheer was a stalwart with 20 points and 5 rebounds.
The Lady Braves got back on track the following night, defeating the Launceston Tornadoes in an intriguing battle as Launceston’s careful work with the ball saw them fall just short, 71-81. They committed just 4 turnovers for the game and finished +13 in points off turnovers as Abby Bishop (23 points), Lauren Mansfield (16) and Alex Wilson (16) showed there is still fight left in the 3-14 Tornadoes. Alex Bunton (23 and 8 rebounds) ensured Bendigo would not leave the Apple Isle empty-handed though as her side shot a deadly 64% from the field. Across the weekend, Lauren King (16.5 point average) and Kerryn Harrington (12 point average) were solid contributors.
Nine players for the Geelong Lady Supercats scored in their clash with the Dandenong Rangers but only Cortney Williamson (19 points) could reach double figures as the East Conference leaders controlled the tempo to win 78-60. A 26-13 fourth term was needed to finally put away the stubborn visitors but Geelong were left to rue a 4-19 disparity in points off turnovers. Lauren Scherf (20 points) led the way for the Rangers but it was Jacinta Kennedy’s 19 points and 11 boards off the bench that will earn her Player of the Match honours.
Both sides sat third in their respective conferences at 10-5 when the Brisbane Lady Spartans met the Frankston Lady Blues on Saturday night and as expected, it was a close encounter. Halfway through the fourth term, Brisbane led by 6 points but a heroic performance from Kelly Bowen, who scored 10 of her 20 points in the final quarter, saw the Lady Blues storm home for a 62-58 win. Bowen added 16 rebounds to her game high tally while Maddie Garrick chimed in with 18 points and Nat Taylor had 13 for Brisbane.
The Sandringham Sabres could be boosted by just their second win of the year as they defeated the Albury/Wodonga Lady Bandits in scintillating fashion. The 106-84 win saw the Sabres best their season average by 37 points as Mikaela Dombkins (25 points) and Hope Walker (24 and 10 rebounds) enjoyed the open flow of the game. The stat line of the night was left to Micaela Cocks though, who neared a triple-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists and 4 steals. The Lady Bandits have now lost 12 straight but it wasn’t all doom and gloom, as they shot 46% from the field and scored 18-10 in second chance points. Rachel Maenpaa (25 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists) continued her good form while Emilee Harmon was dominant with 26, 16 and 3.
Finally, the Canberra Capitals almost pulled off a spectacular win against the Kilsyth Lady Cobras, leading in the final term before falling 59-63. 8 fourth quarter points from Rosie Moult and clutch free throws in the dying seconds from Louella Tomlinson (12 points, 12 rebounds) saved the day for Kilsyth while Sarah Parsons was solid with 12 and 10. Canberra will be buoyed by 15 points from Nat Hurst (including 5-10 from long distance) and 12 points, 8 boards and 3 blocks from Caitlin Rowe. However, a win is a win for the Lady Cobras and they now sit just a game away from top spot in the South Conference.
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