SEABL Round 7: Ballarat Miners the Comeback Kings while a Triple-Header Beats Down the CoE
The Ballarat Miners completed one of the most miraculous weekends in recent SEABL history, coming from behind to win both of their games on the Tasmanian road trip. The Miners overcame a 15 point lead with 9:30 remaining, scoring an astounding 17 points in the final 3 minutes to win 92-89. Roy Booker led the charge with 14 of his 24 coming in the final term while Anthony Fisher shot 5-6 from long range for 20 points. Hobart shot 51% as a team, three of their starters scored 20+ and they won the points in the paint battle 44-26 but were just unable to execute down the stretch.
As if that nail-biter was not enough, Booker took his average for the weekend to 30 with a buzzer beating three as the Miners overcame an 18 point deficit in the final 5:26 against the N/W Tasmania Thunder the following day. The Miners scored 32 in the fourth quarter and finished the game on a 10-0 run. Off the bench, Ash Constable was instrumental with all 8 of his points coming in the fourth while Fisher (26 points) was deadly again with 4-5 from three. Ken Horton’s 16 points and 11 rebounds was his seventh straight double-double and helped Ballarat to a 4-4 record. Despite 28 from Robert Jenkins and 18 and 10 from Tyrone Lee, the Thunder have inexplicably dropped three straight after starting the year 6-0.
The opposite of Ballarat’s elation was the Centre of Excellence’s disappointment, as they lost all three games on a very tough triple-header. They were unable to win a quarter on Friday night, falling to the Bendigo Braves 93-76. The CoE’s leading scorer in Tanner Krebs was absent for the round as only Jack McVeigh (20 points) and George Blagojevic (15) reached double figures. Bendigo’s efficient night was led by Zack Atkinson (21 points, 17 rebounds) while Josh Wilcher needed only 26 minutes for 19 points.
Bendigo could not extend their winning streak to three the following day as the Albury/Wodonga Bandits ended a six game losing streak with a 95-86 upset win. Jamar Briscoe’s 25 was a team-high but more importantly, their bench tallied 29 points. If they can continue to utilise that depth, the playoffs are not out of their reach. For the Braves, Dustin Salisbery finished the round with a 24.5 point average.
The CoE next faced the Sandringham Sabres in a 104-91 loss. After grabbing a lead in the third quarter, they were overcome by a late surge that snapped a four game losing skid for the Sabres. Xavier Cooks tallied 17 points and 13 rebounds for the CoE in a battle with Rayshawn Goins (21 and 15). Mike Moore (25 points) and Alister McDonald (20) proved too tough to guard though as Nathan Crosswell collected 17 points and 8 assists without a turnover.
The CoE then just ran out of time as they pegged back a 13 point deficit to lose 85-88 against the Nunawading Spectres. McVeigh’s season high was 14 points coming into the round but he averaged 21.3 in a sensational weekend while Dejan Vasiljevic stepped up against Nunawading, recording 28 on 11-17 shooting. However, the CoE’s tough round has now taken them to a 1-9 record. Simon Conn (18 points, 14 rebounds) led the way for Nunawading while Shane McDonald had 24.
The Spectres’ victory kept them second in the East Conference but a chance at top spot went begging with a loss to the Mt. Gambier Pioneers earlier in the round. In a re-match of last year’s Conference Final, the game was tied with just over 6 minutes remaining but the class of Mt. Gambier’s big three (Tom Daly, Brad Hill and Ben Allen) combined for 71 points in an 87-78 win. At 10-0, the Pioneers are now four wins clear of second place in the South. For Nunawading, Mitch Creek (22 points, 9 rebounds) took advantage of a starting role while Conn (17 and 11) kept up his season average with another double-double.
After a thrilling overtime encounter two weeks ago, the Dandenong Rangers got back to a 4-4 record, exacting revenge on the Frankston Blues with a comfortable 93-71 victory. Daequon Montreal (26 points) and Tony Lewis (21) again led from the front as only Brandon Polk (23 points, 11 rebounds) stood up for Frankston. The Blues’ weekend got a lot worse as they dropped their third straight in an upset loss to the Canberra Gunners the following day. Canberra withstood a late fight-back as their 16 point lead was trimmed to 3 but they hung on for a 97-89 win; their first since Round 3. Polk’s excellent weekend may be forgotten due to their two losses but his 34 points and 20 rebounds against the Gunners was one of the most impressive performances of the season. Everyone who scored for Canberra reached at least 11 points with Matt Staff (15 points, 20 rebounds), Garlon Green (27 and 11) and Andrew Murphy (18 points off the bench) the standouts.
Canberra’s streak busting win came after a fifth consecutive loss at the hands of the Geelong Supercats, 96-87. Nathan Herbert’s 26 points was a season high while Canberra’s inside game was exploited with a 44-24 discrepancy in the paint. Murphy was a real highlight for the Gunners, shooting 9-12 from downtown across the weekend to average 16.5 points after scoring a previous high of just 6 in Round 1. Canberra can hopefully use his improved play and their maiden road victory as a springboard off the bottom of the South Conference.
Finally, Scott Kenny was the hero for the Brisbane Spartans, scoring 8 of his 13 points in a 35-22 fourth term as they overcame the Knox Raiders 102-89. Five Knox players hit double figures but Justin Brown’s valiant effort (10 points, 13 rebounds) summed up the Raiders’ night as he was overcome by 27 and 16 from Zach Henifin.
As several teams continue to adjust in the absence of their star players, the Centre of Excellence hit the road for a triple-header slog that resulted in one win and two losses.
Friday night saw them face off against the Bendigo Lady Braves in a 59-77 loss. The CoE started strong, jumping out to a 9 point lead in the first quarter but Bendigo never panicked, cruising to victory after a 26-12 second term. All five of the CoE’ starters scored 9+ but nobody could stamp their authority on the game as they recorded their lowest total while giving up 24 points off turnovers. Chantella Perera picked up 5 steals to go along with 5 rebounds and 15 points but LaSondra Barrett (23 points, 10 rebounds) proved the difference.
Bendigo followed up that victory with a demolition of the Albury/Wodonga Lady Bandits, overcoming a 1 point quarter-time deficit to win 75-103. The Lady Bandits have now lost six straight after starting the year 1-2. Despite recording 19 assists, they turned it over 21 times, gifting Bendigo to 25 points. The Lady Braves shot 51% as a team while their starters all scored 10+ for 86 points. Barrett finished off a brilliant weekend, averaging 24 points and 12 rebounds as Emilee Harmon (21 and 13) again led from the front for Albury/Wodonga, recording a sixth double-double from eight games.
After their loss to Bendigo, the CoE put in a brilliant performance to overcome the Sandringham Sabres 94-79. The effects of a depleted roster didn’t show as the road team was serviced by all eight players scoring, five of which reached double figures. Alicia Froling (23 points, 13 rebounds) and Tess Lavey (10 points, 10 assists) were the stars while Micaela Cocks’ 10 assists and 16 points on 4-7 long range shooting kept the Sabres in the fight. A real shot at a maiden victory went begging for Sandringham though, with their next realistic chance at a win not coming until Round 10 against the Canberra Gunners.
A 1-2 weekend for the CoE was not a terrible outcome as they were unable to stick with the Nunawading Spectres down the stretch on Sunday afternoon. Trailing by 1 with 1:03 remaining, Nunawading reeled off 9 points to come from behind and win 73-67. Although only two of their players reached double figures, the Spectres harassing defence resulted in 15 steals and 21 forced turnovers while Rebecca Cole’s game high 26 points came with 6 rebounds and 4 steals. Froling had just one double-double prior to Round 7 but the CoE forward nabbed three consecutive to average 19 points and 12.6 rebounds over the weekend.
Coming into the round at 4-1, the Ballarat Rush crashed back to Earth with two straight losses on their Tasmanian road trip. The Hobart Lady Chargers jumped them early with a 21-9 opening term and despite their lead being trimmed back to 2 in the final term, Hobart hung on to a 72-66 win. Emma Langford was missing for the home side with an ankle injury but Klara Wischer (a season high 18 points and 14 rebounds) stepped up in her absence. Eliza Chilcott was devastating with 15 points, 12 boards, 7 assists and 4 steals while Nya Mason (19 points and 15 rebounds) did her best to counter.
Ballarat’s weekend ended in a heart-breaker as the Launceston Tornadoes overcame a 5 point three-quarter time margin to win it from the free throw line. Nadeen Payne was the heroine, hitting two from the charity stripe to finish with a massive 33 points and 17 rebounds. Despite scoring 32, Steph Cumming’s brilliant performance was soured a little by a missed game winner on the buzzer. Mason finished with a round average of 18 points and 10.5 rebounds while Ashleigh Stonehouse continues to develop off the bench, improving her 3.6 rebound average with 14 total over the two games.
Alongside Ballarat, the Canberra Capitals lost both their games this weekend, falling to the Geelong Lady Supercats and Frankston Lady Blues. They held a 2 point lead at half-time against Geelong but were undone by an 8 point third term in which they shot 3-20. The Lady Supercats showed their class to power to an 81-66 victory with Candice Rogers collecting 18 points and 12 rebounds off the bench. Canberra’s season went from bad to worse with an eighth consecutive loss to Frankston, scoring just 46 in a 23 point loss. They shot 29% from the field and hit only 7-16 from the free throw line in an ugly game that saw 38 total turnovers. Junod averaged 14 for the round while Frankston’s Kelly Bowen nabbed the only double-double of the game with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
The Lady Blues salvaged their round with that win, having lost to the Dandenong Rangers 72-65 the night before. Frankston were in a winning position, leading by 9 with 7 minutes remaining but the Rangers stormed home with a 21-9 run. It was Dandenong’s fifth straight win with Lauren Scherf (16 points, 12 boards) grabbing her third double-double in four games while Aimee Clydesdale (21 points) hit three from downtown. For Frankston, Kelly Bowen, Maddie Garrick and Emily Fryters all reached double figures in rebounds but only Garrick (21 points) recorded a double-double.
Knox were again hampered by the loss of three of their top four scorers as they managed just 22 points in the first half before succumbing 56-77 to the Brisbane Lady Spartans. They did win the second half with a strong effort from their three-person bench, as Sophie Rourke (13 points) and Tia Hay (7 points) showcased their talent. Brisbane were dominant inside, scoring 32-18 in the paint with Olivia Thompson (28 points, 16 boards) once again proving unstoppable.
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