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SEABL Round 20: Spectres Take Top Spot while the Lady Blues Sweep Into Second
The Nunawading Spectres took top spot in the East Conference on the last day of the regular season as they defeated the Kilsyth Cobras and Dandenong Rangers in an impressive round. Saturday night saw them beat Kilsyth 86-77 with a big 21-11 fourth quarter carrying them over the line. Mitch Creek collected 26 points and 8 rebounds while Tommy Greer had 13 and 12. Auryn MacMillan (21 and 9) drilled 3 three’s for Kilsyth as they finished +30 from beyond the arc but they were hurt by a 26-44 discrepancy in the paint.
Photo Credit: Mail Times
The battle for top spot was then won by Nunawading on Sunday as another fourth quarter comeback (28-14) saw them overcome Dandenong, 83-76. Creek (17pts, 10rebs) and Greer (17 and 13) again dominated the paint, getting the better of Montreal (24 and 4) and Lewis (11 and 12). Missing out on first place in the East, the Rangers poor start to the year has come back to haunt them as they have fell to third and missed out on a double chance.
Dandenong were able to pick up a 103-69 victory the night before against the Sandringham Sabres although the result mattered for Sandringham who nabbed the final spot in the South Conference top four thanks to other results. Montreal (27 points, 13 boards) and Lewis (18 and 11) were prolific as the hosts blew the game open with a 37-16 second quarter. Rayshawn Goins had 14 and 10 for the Sabres but his side gave up 20 points off turnovers.
Thanks to Dandenong’s loss to Nunawading, the Geelong Supercats took the East’s second spot with an 82-71 win over the Ballarat Miners. After their lead was cut to 3 with two minutes remaining, Geelong finished the game on a 10-2 run as Ballarat shot a dreadful 1-20 from the three point line. Eric Gaff (10 points, 10 rebounds) and Ash Cannan (10 and 13) battled hard with Nathan Sobey (19 and 14) and Liam Gibcus (9 and 12).
The Frankston Blues went 1-1 on the Tasmanian road trip, keeping their finals hopes alive with a 79-66 win over the Hobart Chargers on Friday night. A 52% shooting effort overcame 11 less field goal attempts as Chuck Long (29pts, 10 rebounds) and Brandon Polk (16 and 9 with 6 blocks) starred. Callum Barker (12 and 11) held his own but on the back of four straight losses the Chargers finished the year on the bottom of the South Conference.
The post-season dreams of the Blues were quashed by the N/W Tasmania Thunder the following night as the home side won every quarter in an 88-74 victory. Polk averaged 19.5 points and 10 rebounds but turnovers were the scourge of Frankston as the Thunder scored 20 points off them with BJ Jenkins tallying a game high 25 points with 4 assists and 5 steals. Finishing on the same amount of wins as Bendigo and Sandringham, the head-to-head results settled the Blues in between those sides in fifth place.
The Mt. Gambier Pioneers finished the year undefeated at home (13-0) with an easy 89-71 win over the Bendigo Braves to dash their dreams of a finals appearance. It is the first time since 2004 that Bendigo has not reached the post-season and a 7 point loss in Round 12 to Sandringham was the only thing standing in their way. Dustin Salisbery (24 points, 9 boards) and Matt Vigor (17 and 10) were desperate in the loss but they were no match for Ben Allen (13 and 11), Brad Hill (17 and 10) and Damian Johnson (13 and 10 with 3 steals and 3 blocks).
In a gam played only for pride, the Albury/Wodonga Bandits snapped a five game losing streak while handing the Brisbane Spartans an eight straight defeat in a 105-81 smashing. Brendan Teys poured in 17 points off the bench for Brisbane but Lamar Mallory’s 26 and 17 rebounds was the difference while Jamar Briscoe had a handy cameo with 18 points. Both sides finished with 7-19 records, seven wins outside the East top four.
A 13 point lead for the Canberra Gunners was not enough as the Knox Raiders scored the final five points of their encounter to win 97-93. Adam Doyle had 23, Justin Brown had 14 and 11 and Robbie Linton nailed four treys off the bench as Knox also finished with a 7-19 record in the East. Canberra were in the South Conference finals mix a month ago but ended the year with six losses from their final seven matches for a 10-16 record.
The finals make up is thus; in the South Conference, Mt. Gambier will host N/W Tasmania with both sides recording a win on their home floor during the regular season. In the other Semi, Kilsyth should be heavy favourites with an average winning margin of 19.5 points against Sandringham.
In the East Conference, Nunawading and Geelong split their regular season series with each side winning a game on the opposition’s floor. Dandenong will be frustrated to not have the double chance and should be mindful of Ballarat in the second Semi as these sides also split their regular season meetings with wins on the road.
The Frankston Lady Blues will head into the finals full of confidence after sweeping the Tasmanian road trip to snatch second place in the South Conference. They leapfrogged the Hobart Lady Chargers on Friday night, who missed a chance to grab top spot and instead fell to third. Trailing by 30 at half-time, the home side had only themselves to blame although a late charge pulled the margin back to 63-66 at the final siren. Cayla Francis (25 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks) finished strong but the first half efforts of Maddie Garrick (25 points, 9 rebounds), Kelly Bowen (12 and 10) and Nicole Romeo (23 points, 5 boards, 3 assists, 3 steals) proved enough for Frankston.
They followed up that gutsy performance with a comfortable 93-58 win over the Launceston Tornadoes. Emily Fryters (10 points, 11 rebounds) got in on the act while Bowen added another 21 and 7. For Launceston, Lauren Mansfield top-scored with 18 points while Mariah Payne had 10 off the bench. Their season has come to an end with a 6-18 record; five more wins than last year.
The Brisbane Lady Spartans have secured second spot in the East after recording a sixth straight win against the hapless Albury/Wodonga Lady Bandits, 93-43. Patrice McKenzie (14 points, 10 rebounds) was one of eleven Brisbane players who scored as they finished +17 in points off turnovers and +22 in the paint. After a 1-2 start to the season, the Lady Bandits lost 21 straight. Emilee Harmon (15 and 10) provided the only highlights with a 15th double-double for 2014.
Although both sides combined for 2-31 shooting from beyond the arc, an overall percentage of 25% from the field did the Nunawading Spectres no favours as they fell 47-56 to the Kilsyth Lady Cobras. Bec Cole had 17 points and Alanna Smith added 9 and 10 rebounds in a dirty night for Nunawading who now have to settle for third place in the East. Bullish performances from Louella Tomlinson (16 points, 18 boards, 4 blocks) and Sarah Parsons (13 and 10 with 4 steals) handed Kilsyth the win.
An 18-20 first term was then a minor hiccup for the Dandenong Rangers as they took care of Nunawading the following day, 77-55. Lucy Dawson top-scored for the Spectres with 11 points off the bench as Lauren Scherf (14 and 8 boards) led five Dandenong players in double figures. With a 21-3 record, the Rangers finished the regular season with four more wins than any other side.
Trailing by 3 at half-time, the Geelong Lady Supercats turned the game on its head with a 20-9 third term, defeating the Ballarat Rush 80-72. Recording 9 less turnovers and 18 more offensive rebounds, Geelong finished with 20 more field goal attempts as Candice Rogers (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Courtney Williamson (16 and 5) led the way. Steph Cumming (21 points, 5 boards, 6 assists) was again the pick of the Rush players but with a competitive line-up, they will be disappointed to miss out on the playoffs after finishing second in their Conference last year.
The Canberra Capitals had a promising end to their season, winning three of their final six games after taking care of the Knox Raiders, 75-61. Both sides named limited rosters but the interior work of Ellie Junod (22 points, 8 rebounds), Alice Coddington (20 and 8) and Alyce Shearing (9 and 10) was too strong as only Shanae Greaves (23 and 7) provided resistance. Knox have reached the Grand Final for three consecutive years and not missed the playoffs since 2008 but they struggled in the absence of Kelly Wilson and Gabe Richards.
The first week of South Conference finals will see Bendigo host Frankston, a team they beat in Round 3 but lost to a fortnight ago by 6 points. The other Semi Final will see Hobart as favourites against Kilsyth as the Lady Chargers won their most recent clash by 20 points.
In the East Conference, Dandenong will host Brisbane where they are undefeated this year. However, the Lady Spartans will take confidence from a 19 point win on their own floor in Round 11. In the other Semi, Nunawading will like their chances against Geelong as they have beaten them twice this season.
For more info, visit the official SEABL website at www.seabl.com.au