SEABL Round 19: Sabres Make A Push for Finals while the Lady Chargers Record Another Scalp
Photo Credit: SEABL
The Sandringham Sabres have moved into the box seat for the final South Conference finals position after a superb weekend saw them defeat the Frankston Blues and Knox Raiders. Their Saturday night clash with the Blues pitted fourth vs. fifth but they were comfortable 79-62 winners following an explosive 30-12 opening term. The usual suspects did not fire for Frankston as Ryan Tindal top-scored with a season high 20 points off the bench. Rayshawn Goins led Sandringham with 13 points and 12 rebounds while Alister MacDonald had 22 and 7.
The following day saw the Sabres shore up their position, beating Knox 102-93 despite the Raiders scoring the final 15 points of the game. Adam Doyle was unconscious for Knox, scoring 41 points on 16-19 shooting while Delwan Graham added 23 points and 10 rebounds. The scoring just came too late as Goins recorded another 24 and 10 while Nathan Crosswell averaged 14 points and 10 assists over the weekend. The Sabres’ impressive weekend has placed them equal with Bendigo and a game ahead of Frankston but they now have the head-to-head result against both sides with just one round remaining.
The Canberra Gunners were eliminated from finals contention on Friday night as the Mt. Gambier Pioneers took care of them, 88-73. Mt. Gambier committed two more turnovers than the visitors but still scored 17-6 in points off errors while 10 more offensive boards led to a 12-2 advantage in second chance points. Only Garlon Green (22 points, 8 rebounds) stood up for Canberra but he was unable to contain Damian Johnson (17 and 10) and Ben Allen (22 and 8).
The Gunners then lost a fifth game from their past six matches as the Ballarat Miners beat them down 109-79. Green (35 points) again played a lone hand as every Miners player that scored reached 10 points with Liam Gibcus (19 points, 10 boards) and Chris Smith (10 and 12) compensating for Ken Horton who is still missing with a fractured thumb.
Photo Credit: SEABL
There is only one spot remaining in the South Conference now after the Kilsyth Cobras secured third place with an 82-67 win over the fifth placed Bendigo Braves. Although they made some in-roads in the second half, an 18 point lead at the main break proved insurmountable as Tim Lang (13 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks) and Kyle Adnam (17 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists) torched the Braves. Dustin Salisbery led Bendigo with 18 points but with a game in Mt. Gambier to come, the finals hopes of the Braves look dashed.
The Dandenong Rangers continued on their merry way, opening the round with a 104-69 trouncing of the Chargers in Hobart. The Rangers trailed going into the main break but took care of business with a 63-28 second half in which they shot 23-35 and 10-14 from beyond the arc. Khalil Hartwell had 14 points and 13 rebounds for Hobart but he was no match for the Daequon Montreal/Tony Lewis double team as they combined for 55 and 23.
Dandenong’s 13 game winning streak was halted the following night though at the hands of the N/W Tasmania Thunder, 93-71. All five Thunder starters reached double figures with Tyrone Lee (17 points, 13 boards) and Nathan Wilson (16 and 11) recording double-doubles while holding Montreal and Lewis to a combined 35 and 17. The loss means the Rangers could still fall to third with two matches remaining in the last round.
The Nunawading Spectres have drawn equal with Dandenong at 18-6 after they pulled off a miracle against the Albury/Wodonga Bandits. They trailed by as much as 19 and never led until Mitch Creek hit a free throw with 14 seconds to go that became the game winning shot. The 86-85 comeback upset Nick Payne’s 400th SEABL game as he became just the fourth player to crack the milestone. He celebrated with 31 points while Lamar Mallory had 16 and 10 rebounds but even without Simon Conn, the Spectres got over the line thanks to Shane McDonald (26 points) and Creek (21).
The Geelong Supercats also had to pull off a mammoth comeback after falling behind by 12 points in the first quarter to the Brisbane Spartans. From that point on they scored 89-45 in a 108-73 victory that has kept them just a loss behind Nunawading and Dandenong. Anthony White Jr. top-scored with 28 while Ash Cannan had 8 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. 17 points from Izzy Tueta and Dean Brebner was not enough to avoid Brisbane’s seventh straight defeat.
In a possible preview of the Grand Final, the Hobart Lady Chargers ended the Dandenong Rangers’ nine game winning streak in an 83-80 overtime win. Coming back from a 13 point first quarter deficit, Hobart led by 3 in the final minute but an Alison Downie triple sent the game into the extra period. A 16-7 advantage in points off turnovers and 20 points and 21 rebounds (8 offensive) from Lauren Scherf gave Dandenong every chance to win the match but Cayla Francis stood in their way. Playing every minute, she tallied 27 points, 15 rebounds, 9 assists and 6 blocks as the Lady Chargers recorded a sixth straight victory.
The Rangers quickly got back on track against the Launceston Tornadoes the following night, winning 82-69. Scherf’s big weekend ended with another 17 points and 12 boards while Clare Papavs starred with an average of 23 and 6 for the weekend. The future is looking brighter for Launceston if they can retain the services of Abby Bishop (20 and 14) and Alex Wilson (15 and 8 with 7 assists) as the forwards held their own against one of the strongest line-ups in the league.
Battling back from a 14 point margin at the first break, the Sandringham Sabres trailed by only 6 with a quarter to play against the Frankston Lady Blues. They were blitzed by a 25-4 final term though, losing 54-81. Turnovers were again the issue for the Sabres, gifting Frankston 30 points as Nicole Romeo and Maddie Garrick combined for 36 points. Hope Walker (17 points, 12 rebounds) had a great battle with Kelly Bowen (16 and 11) but the victory has kept their hopes of a top two finish alive.
Sandringham ended their four game losing streak on Sunday, handing the Knox Raiders a tenth straight defeat in an 82-68 win. A shortened Raiders list were led by Shanae Greaves (27 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals) but they were out-muscled by Walker (16 points, 7 boards) and Georgia Stott (8 and 12) while Shannon Perrett nailed four three-pointers. The Sabres season has come to an end with a 6-18 record, a disappointing result for a side that, on paper, looked a finals contender.
Alongside Sandringham, the Bendigo Lady Braves also played their final game of the regular season, winning 59-98 against the Kilsyth Lady Cobras on the back of a 30-9 second quarter and 25-9 final term. Alex Bunton (18 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists) dominated while Kerryn Harrington added 20 points but Bendigo must now play the waiting game to see if they finish on top of the South Conference. Kilsyth can still finish third in the South but a fourth place is more likely after three straight losses.
The Brisbane Lady Spartans are still in the hunt for a top two finish in the East Conference, taking care of the Geelong Lady Supercats for the second time this year. If Brisbane are to finish third, these sides will meet again in the first round of the playoffs and the 76-57 victory will have them full of confidence. A 34-20 advantage in the paint and 16-7 discrepancy in second chance points saw Geelong dominate inside but they were unable to stop a -27 differential from the three point line. Nat Taylor (16 points) hit 4-4 from deep off the bench while Odette Andrew (14 points, 7 rebounds) also drained four. Sara Blicavs led the Lady Supercats with 17 and 9.
Sporting just 7 players for the majority of the match after Kristen Langhorn went down with an injury, the Canberra Capitals were gallant in a 58-69 loss to the Ballarat Rush. Despite double-doubles from Ellie Junod (11 points, 14 rebounds) and Alice Coddington (19 and 10), Canberra have finished winless on the road for the season. With the game still in reach in the fourth quarter, Steph Cumming (22 and 10) sealed the Rush’s third consecutive victory with 9 points.
Finally, the Nunawading Spectres exploded out of the gate with a 30-10 opening term and kept their foot down to win every quarter in a 98-64 demolition of the Albury/Wodonga Lady Bandits. Bec Cole scored 30, Hanna Zavecz collected 19 and 7 boards and Lucy Dawson added a season high 11 as the Spectres scored 31 points off 27 turnovers. Emilee Harmon (23 points) top-scored for the home side but the win keeps Nunawading in the box seat for second place in the East.
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