SEABL Round 3: Pioneers Take the GF Replay while Several Win Streaks Are Put On The Line
Round 3 kicked off with the Grand Final replay, this time being played on Mt.Gambier’s home floor. The Pioneers utilised that advantage, steamrolling the Dandenong Rangers 97-70 to remain unbeaten this season. The home side did trail at quarter-time but are looking very strong with Brad Hill back from the NBL. He finished with 20 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals in an MVP performance.
The Rangers welcomed back Daequon Montreal but he struggled to find his feet, recording 16 points on 6-14 shooting with just 2 rebounds and 3 turnovers. Tony Lewis (22 points, 14 boards) was a shining light but at 0-3, the defending champions are officially in a slump to begin 2014.
Alongside Mt.Gambier at 4-0 in the South Conference sit the N/W Tasmania Thunder. They trounced cross-town rivals, the Hobart Chargers, 94-64 on the back of a 25-8 third term. Hobart shot just 8-28 (29%) in the second half and recorded 4 assists and 17 turnovers on an error-riddled night. For the Thunder, BJ Jenkins (19 points) leads the league in scoring but his 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals were just as impressive as his point production. N/W Tasmania play their next two matches at home and could easily be 6-0 by the end of April.
The best performance of the round came from the Brisbane Spartans as they backed up a win over the Knox Raiders with a 13 point victory over the Frankston Blues. They scored 109 against Knox, winning by 12 as CJ Massingale poured in 33 against the side he played 250 games for. A 9 point quarter-time lead was enough separation to get the job done against Frankston the following day as Zach Henifin capped off a spectacular weekend. He averaged 15 points, 8 rebounds and 5.5 assists while Scott Kenny’s 22 point average for the round was another highlight.
Frankston will be disappointed to drop that home game against Brisbane, having defeated the Bendigo Braves in a big upset on the road the previous night. It was their first win of the season while the Braves suffered their first loss. Bendigo did not go down without a fight in a high quality match, shooting 59% for the game and scoring 28-19 in the fourth quarter. However, the Blues gritted their teeth to hold on to a 91-88 win as Brandon Polk concluded the round with a double-double average. Bendigo were led by 24 from Zach Atkinson while their point guard, Kevin Probert, had 18 points and dished out 9 assists with just 1 turnover.
An awful season got even worse for the Knox Raiders this round. They fell to 0-5, losing to Brisbane and then dropping a heart-breaker against the Geelong Supercats on Sunday. The Raiders had an 8 point half-time lead and led for the entire fourth quarter before Ash Cannan hit the go-ahead shot for the Supercats with 36 seconds remaining. 66 points in the paint was a huge advantage for Geelong as all five starters reached double figures.
In some good news for Knox, Adam Doyle looks an excellent pick-up, averaging 26.5 points at 42% for the round. They are still being out-rebounded and giving up too many second chance points but with three of their next four games at home, Knox are getting closer to a maiden victory.
The Canberra Gunners were shock winners over the Kilsyth Cobras, picking up their first win while handing the Cobras their first loss. It was a tight game throughout before the Gunners, led by 27 points and 14 boards from Matt Staff, opened up an 11 point lead with less than 4 minutes to play. Kilsyth then went on a 10-3 run to end the match but it was too late as they fell 86-90.
The Cobras quickly got back in the winners circle the following day though, beating the Centre of Excellence 70-57. Tim Lang averaged 26 points for the weekend while hitting 6-11 from the three point line for Kilsyth. The CoE are still winless after four games but got great production out of Tanner Krebs as he scored 12 in just 17 minutes off the bench.
The Sandringham Sabres proved too strong for the Albury/Wodonga Bandits on the road, fighting back from a 9 point deficit at quarter time to win 76-87. Their veteran, Nathan Crosswell (26 points, 5 assists), continues to school opposition point guards at the age of 34. The Bandits were led by 18 points off the bench from Alex Opacic but are now 0-2 at home.
Finally, the Nunawading Spectres continued their strong start to the year with a convincing 20 point win over the Ballarat Miners. Three starters from each side scored over 20 points but shooting 51% from the field and 45% from beyond the arc, Nunawading proved too versatile.
Since winning their opening match of the season, the Knox Raiders have slumped to 1-4 after they lost two heartbreakers in Round 3. In the match of the round, the Brisbane Lady Spartans needed an extra period to edge out the Raiders, overcoming a three quarter time deficit to win 86-85. Odette Andrew nailed a three pointer at the end of regulation to tie it before Olivia Thompson hit the go-ahead shot with 14 seconds left in overtime.
Knox then just fell short of the Geelong Lady Supercats, 102-96. Tayla Roberts and Candice Rogers both recorded double-doubles for the Lady Supercats while Alex Duck (7 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists) was everywhere. Knox do have their superstar in Kelly Wilson back now and despite 26.5 points across both matches, 12 total turnovers showed she is a bit rusty. Until Gabe Richards returns (her partner in crime from last season), Knox will need to be cleaner in order to win close matches.
Brisbane were unable to back up their thrilling victory over Knox, losing 59-53 to the Frankston Lady Blues on Sunday. Perhaps a sign of fatigue, the Lady Spartans shot 1-13 in the final quarter to record just 6 points. Olivia Thompson was sensational for the weekend however, averaging 22.5 points and 11 boards. Frankston shot 29% from the field so were lucky to escape with the win but they may also have been suffering fatigue, having lost the night before to the Bendigo Lady Braves, 73-81. Bendigo jumped out to an 8 point lead at quarter-time and that was where the margin stayed. 31 points from Chantella Perera was the highlight as Bendigo remain unbeaten in the South Conference.
The Kilsyth Lady Cobras did sit alongside Bendigo at the top of the South after defeating the Canberra Capitals 38-57 on Saturday night but a 14 point loss to the Centre of Excellence the following day put an end to their winning streak. The Capitals were never in their match, shooting 27% from the field and missing all seven of their long range attempts as only Sarah McAppion reached double-figures. They are winless after two games and with two matches next round, their offence will need to find some potency very quickly.
Yvonne Anderson is proving to be a great find for Kilsyth, stuffing the stat-sheet this weekend with an average of 20.5 points, 5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 3 steals and 1.5 blocks. Her efforts were to no avail against the CoE though as a 17-30 final term crushed any hope of keeping their win streak alive. A big double-double from Carly Mijovic (21 points, 14 boards) led the newest SEABL team to their third straight win as they sit atop of the East Conference.
Although they have only played twice, the Ballarat Rush are also unbeaten in the East, taking care of a fast-finishing Nunawading Spectres side. Trailing by 19 with 8 minutes left, the Spectres stormed home with a 23-7 run but the task proved too difficult, coming up three points short. Rebecca Cole had 28 for the road team but with four starters scoring 13+, Ballarat’s balanced line-up got them over the line.
The Hobart Lady Chargers were triumphant in the battle of the Tasmanian sides, defeating the Launceston Tornadoes 90-84 in an entertaining tussle. The Tornadoes fought until the final siren, winning the fourth quarter 18-14 while forcing 24 turnovers but with 19 more free throws, Hobart were good enough. Kathleen Scheer (28 points, 16 rebounds) and Eliza Chilcott (29, 10 and 6 assists) went off for the home side. Despite now losing three straight, Launceston have certainly improved on last year as Andrea Wilson and Lauren Mansfield combined for 63 points.
Another team that struggled last season was the Albury/Wodonga Lady Bandits but they got in the winners circle this weekend with a big 9 point win over the Sandringham Sabres. The combination of Lauren Angel and Eliza Harmon could be lethal as they totalled 50 points and 25 rebounds while shooting 56%. Sandringham are now 0-3 and play their next three matches on the road in what could be a very tough start to the year.
For more info, visit the official SEABL website at www.seabl.com.au