SEABL Round 2: Geelong Create East Separation while the CoE Inflict Some Pain

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The East Conference is looking a little lop-sided after two rounds as the Geelong Supercats sit on top with a 3-0 record while four sides are yet to pick up their first win.

Having won both of their Round 1 matches without much flair, the Supercats demolished the Dandenong Rangers to make a statement at home, winning 103-76. They trailed by 3 points at quarter-time but were clinical after that, out-scoring Dandenong by 30. Mike Mercer (24 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists) was inspirational while Eric Gaff (19 points, 16 boards) is proving a great pick-up.

The Rangers are now 0-2 and will need to find some consistent offence while Daequon Montreal continues to miss games. Brent Hobba (26 points) stepped up this week but until their superstar returns, Dandenong will continue to fall down the ladder.

The Centre of Excellence are 0-3 and lost a back-to-back this round but there were encouraging signs as they fell to the Mt. Gambier Pioneers and Albury/Wodonga Bandits by 10 points apiece. Dejan Vasiljevic provided a spark off the bench, averaging 12.5 points for the round while hitting 7-13 from the three point line. Putting up competitive scores is a concern for them though, with 68 their best effort. The Bandits’ win was their first win of the season, with the CoE unable to contain Mohamed Ntumba (20 points, 17 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals).

After defeating the Centre of Excellence in the opening match of the round, the Pioneers backed up their performance with a gritty 76-73 win over the Canberra Gunners. Mt.Gambier are undefeated at 3-0, surviving an 11-18 final term to hold off the fast finishing Gunners. They had four players reach double figures and were very careful with the ball, recording just 5 turnovers.

Garlon Green continued his hot start for Canberra, scoring 30 points on 11-28 shooting but the Gunners cannot rely on just one player to beat even-balanced sides like the Pioneers.

Alongside Dandenong and the CoE, both the Brisbane Spartans and Knox Raiders sit winless in the East Conference. Brisbane held strong against the Ballarat Miners through two quarters but were blown away 58-31 in the second half to lose by 26 points. Zach Henifin (30 points and 15 rebounds) provided most of the resistance but with three Miners starters reaching 20+ points, the Spartans ran out of answers. Roy Booker knocked down 8-15 from beyond the arc, five more than Brisbane hit as a team.

Knox are fast becoming the most disappointing side in the league, with an average losing margin of 21 points this season. The Kilsyth Cobras destroyed them by 31 before they lost to the Bendigo Braves by 12 on Sunday. The Raiders were unable to win a quarter in either match with Jeffrey Jones’ 18.5 point average for the round a rare highlight.

Credit: Photo Credit: Akuna Photography (Digital Media Bendigo)

The Braves have a frightening trio in Zach Atkinson, Michael Vigor and Dustin Salisbery who combined for 56 points, 32 rebounds and 3 blocks in the victory while the Cobras are proving to have one of the most potent offences in the competition. They have scored 100+ in consecutive weeks with their worst quarter of the year still providing 20 points. They shot 48% from inside the arc and 42% beyond it as Tim Lang shot 10-14 for 25 points.

Another team who is impressing early is the N/W Tasmania Thunder, who moved to 3-0 after beating the Nunawading Spectres 85-83 in a thriller. Chris Cameron had two chances from the three point line in the final 15 seconds but could not connect on either as the Thunder were led by 11 fourth quarter points from Robert Jenkins. Tyrone Lee (24 points, 10 rebounds) was also integral to the win.

The Spectres fell just short of sweeping their Tasmanian road trip, having beaten the Hobart Chargers the night before by 8 points. Simon Conn was in beast mode, averaging 20.5 points and 15 rebounds for the weekend while Shane McDonald (20 points, 9 assists) out-shone Hobart’s Deba George (10 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) in a battle of two of the league’s premier point guards on Friday night.

After suffering a huge defeat last weekend, the Sandringham Sabres quickly got back in the winner’s circle with a 100-91 win over the Frankston Blues. Trailing by 1 at the final break, Michael Moore (30 points) exploded for 10 in the fourth quarter to carry the home side over the line. The Blues are now 0-2 but can take positives out of Chuck Long’s and Michael McInnes’ game, as they combined for 48 points on 16-25 shooting against the Sabres.


SEABL WOMEN

Having picked up a victory in their first ever SEABL match, the Centre of Excellence were even more impressive this week, annihilating the Albury/Wodonga Lady Bandits in one of the competition’s worst ever defeats.

Shooting just 19% for the game, the Lady Bandits lost 41-111 in a woeful performance. They managed just 1-13 from the field for 5 points in the opening period before hitting 3-20 for 7 points in the last quarter. Montana Farrah-Seaton (21 points, 9 rebounds) was the only bright spot as she hit 5-11 from downtown. If the past fortnight is anything to go by, Albury/Wodonga could be in for a world of hurt for the rest of the season.

All seven players scored at least 9 points for the CoE, with four of their starters reaching double figures. Steph Talbot was absolutely brilliant, finishing with a triple-double of 18 points, 10 boards and 10 assists while Carly Mijovic and Alicia Froling chimed in with double-doubles.

The Knox Raiders had a poor round, dropping games to rivals Kilsyth Lady Cobras and then the Bendigo Lady Braves the following day. Just like the Knox men, the Raiders were unable to win a quarter in either match, allowing both of their opponents to attempt upwards of 20 more field goals. This led to an average difference of 8.5 in second chance points and is an area that quickly needs fixing for Knox.

Yvonne Anderson impressed for Kilsyth with 24 points while Sarah Parsons (6 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals) stuffed the stat-sheet. For Bendigo, Kerryn Harrington knocked down 20 points in just 24 minutes while 13-15 from the free throw line helped Chantella Perera to a game-high 21.

The good news story out of Round 2 was the Nunawading Spectres, who swept their Tasmanian road trip against the Hobart Lady Chargers and Launceston Tornadoes. The Spectres were convincing in both matches, winning by an average of 22 points with Rebecca Cole averaging 21. Alannah Smith is proving herself as one of the most productive bench players in the league, as she poured in 37 points on 16-25 shooting across the weekend in just 36 total minutes.

The Tornadoes found themselves undone by Nunawading’s speed, succumbing to 20 fast break points but look to have found a star in Nadeen Payne, who scored 26 and is now averaging 19.3 in her first SEABL season. Hobart lost every quarter in their match and gave up 23 second chance points. They are now 0-3 and sit at the bottom of the South Conference, desperate to find some offensive production out of someone other than Kathleen Scheer.

The Sandringham Sabres are also winless in the South Conference, despite a strong start to the year from Hope Walker. She finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds in their 76-88 loss to the Frankston Lady Blues. A 12 point advantage after one quarter was enough for the road side who have a very strong guard pairing in Maddie Garrick and Nicole Romeo. They combined for 46 points on 18-32 shooting which included 6-10 from three.

The closest match of the round was taken to overtime with the Ballarat Rush finding their way out of a 13 point three-quarter time deficit to defeat the Brisbane Lady Spartans. The Rush shot 48% in the fourth period and overtime as Steph Cumming (27 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists) led the charge. The Ballarat starters defied fatigue, scoring all but 3 of their points total while Tiana Mangakahia (12 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists) shone off the bench for Brisbane.

Two East Conference heavyweights squared off on Saturday night, with the Geelong Lady Supercats producing a strong second half to overcome the Dandenong Rangers. Trailing by 11 at quarter-time, Geelong kept their opponents to 30% shooting for the game and hit 22-24 from the free throw line in a 63-56 win. Nobody from the Rangers managed to hit double figures and they couldn’t stop Alex Duck (19 points) who was a perfect 9-9 from the charity stripe.


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