SEABL Round 9: The Miners Take a Hit as the Dandenong and Nunawading Women Streak On
Without a loss coming into last round, the Mt Gambier Pioneers suddenly found themselves on a losing streak after falling to the N/W Tasmania Thunder 89-98 on Friday night. Trailing by just 2 with 8 minutes remaining, the Pioneers couldn’t go with the home side down the stretch as Tyrone Lee burnt them for 30 points and 13 rebounds. Nathan Wilson (13 and 11) was also instrumental while Robert Jenkins had 23 as the Thunder moved just one loss behind Mt. Gambier in the South Conference.
The Pioneers scored 56 points in the paint in that game and the following night they had another dominant display under the rim, this time converting it into a win. A 56-36 advantage in the paint set up the 100-81 victory over the Hobart Chargers as four starters scored 20+. Daniel Johnson (23 points, 11 boards) finished with a 19 point average for the weekend, Tom Daly scored 21 in both matches and Brad Hill averaged 19.5 points and 9.5 rebounds. The loss dropped Hobart back to 6-6 on the year despite the efforts of Khalil Hartwell (21 points, 13 rebounds- 8 offensive) and Deba George (35 points).
The Ballarat Miners were the other team to play twice over the weekend and they needed another exciting comeback to overcome the Canberra Gunners on Saturday. Canberra had built a 19 point lead in the third term but the second half was dominated by the hottest side in the league as they romped to an 82-69 win. Although the Gunners were serviced by 23 points from Garlon Green and 22 and 12 rebounds from Matt Staff, their fans have not had much to cheer about in 2014 with their home record a measly 1-5.
Whether it was a recent heavy schedule or a bit of complacency after such an incredible fortnight, the Miners five game winning streak crashed to a halt the following day against the Centre of Excellence. Some magic was required from Xavier Cooks (24 points, 11 rebounds) as he intercepted a pass and took it the length of the floor for a dunk in the final five seconds. Ken Horton then missed a three on the buzzer as the CoE won 93-91. Cooks was aided by George Blagojevic (23 points) and Tanner Krebs who had 21. For Ballarat, Roy Booker was again outstanding, averaging 35.5 points and 7.5 assists for the round but his 11 total turnovers is a facet of his game that needs improving. Horton fell just short of a double-double average with 9.5 points and 14.5 rebounds while Nathan Sobey chipped in with 14.5 points per game. The loss will sting for Ballarat as their position in the East Conference is still precarious.
Two sides going in opposite directions met on Saturday night and their form continued as the Geelong Supercats won their six straight while the Frankston Blues lost their fifth straight. The 95-75 match saw Geelong dominate in the paint, pulling down 19 more rebounds and finishing 22-11 on the offensive glass. Eric Gaff (16 points, 15 rebounds) battled hard with Frankston’s Brandon Polk (22 and 13) but Mike Mercer (21 and 7 with 5 assists) proved the difference. The Supercats are still unbeaten at home while the Blues have now fallen two games outside of the South Conference top four.
Both the Knox Raiders and Albury/Wodonga Bandits would have considered themselves a chance when they met on Saturday night. Yet, it was Knox who broke a four game losing streak while recording their first road win with a convincing 84-78 victory on the back of a 26-17 final term. Their coach, Matt Shanahan, scored 7 points in 25 minutes but Delwan Graham (26 points, 10 rebounds) was the star. The Bandits were impressive on the glass, scoring 21-7 in second chance points with Jamar Briscoe (22 points) leading the way but Mohamed Ntumba (6 points, 7 boards) continues to play reduced minutes.
The Kilsyth Cobras got back over .500 for the season with a 97-83 win over the Brisbane Spartans. Despite losing the second half, the damage was done by the main break as they held a 24 point lead. Tim Lang (31 points, 14 rebounds) and Kyle Adnam (35 and 8 assists) combined for 28 of the Cobras’ 38 field goals. Brisbane are struggling for consistency and their poor perimeter defence led to a -24 point discrepancy from the three point line. CJ Massingale (27 points, 11 boards) was a rare highlight for the Spartans.
Both the Dandenong Rangers and Bendigo Braves are fighting to consolidate their position in the top four of their respective conferences but a 69-99 loss has done Bendigo no favours. Although the teams had the same shooting percentage, 8 less turnovers and 12 more assists led the Rangers to 18 more field goal attempts. They were +17 in points off turnovers and +19 in the paint as Tony Lewis (31 points, 10 rebounds) and Daequon Montreal (23 points) ran riot. The Braves were led by 18 from Zack Atkinson while Michael Vigor (12 points, 8 boards) fought hard.
Finally, the Nunawading Spectres were able to control the tempo in their face off with the Sandringham Sabres, using a 33-13 first team to cruise to a 94-86 victory. The Sabres’ head Coach Stephen Hoare hit the floor but managed just 4 rebounds in 11 minutes. Mike Moore led the way for the road team with 27 points while Stefan Uzelac chipped in with 14 off the bench but Sandringham now sit two games outside the top four. 9 players for the Spectres’ recorded at least 2 assists as they tallied 24 as a team with Simon Conn (26 points, 14 rebounds) and Mitch Creek (21 points) proving the difference.
Round 9 kicked off with a clash of the two conference leaders as the Dandenong Rangers controlled the tempo to defeat the Bendigo Braves 64-57. Lauren Scherf (11 points, 7 rebounds) fought a great battle inside with Alex Bunton (9 and 11) but it was 14 points off the bench from Dandenong’s Jacinta Kennedy that proved the difference. LaSondra Barrett (17 and 13) was brilliant in a losing effort as the Rangers remain unbeaten at home.
The Kilsyth Lady Cobras had an opportunity to take outright first in the South Conference after that Bendigo loss but they were unable to capitalise, falling in Brisbane to the Lady Spartans 64-73. Kilsyth’s Yvonne Anderson had a game high 23 and Louella Tomlinson (20 points, 16 rebounds, 3 blocks) took the honours against Brisbane’s Olivia Thompson (22 and 7). However, 18 turnovers led to 21 points for the home side while Tiana Mangakahia’s 14 points in 16 minutes helped Brisbane move to equal third in the East Conference.
The Geelong Lady Supercats and Frankston Lady Blues were two sides looking to consolidate their position in their respective conferences when they met on Saturday night. A ferocious effort from Frankston saw them hand Geelong their first home loss of the season, winning 91-83. Maddie Garrick (31 points) and Kelly Bowen (30) proved unstoppable while Nicole Romeo chimed in with 15 and 8 assists. The Lady Blues’ big three continues to do all the heavy lifting but on a four game winning streak, it seems to be working. Geelong were +14 in rebounds, +3 in assists and shot better from the field but gave up 20 points off 16 turnovers. On the positive side, Candice Rogers (15 points, 12 boards) had a double-double, Sara Blicavs scored 20+ for the third time this year and Caitlin Shadbolt came off the bench for a season high 17 points.
The Ballarat Rush were the only side to play a back-to-back this weekend, beating the Canberra Capitals before falling to the Centre of Excellence. Canberra played one of their best halves of the season, leading the Rush by 3 at the main break while restricting them to just 25 points. An 11-23 third term undid all their hard work though as 24 total turnovers gifted Ballarat a 65-54 win. Despite the efforts of Sarah McAppion (18 points in a return to form) and Ellie Junod (10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals) the Capitals now sit at a miserable 0-11.
Ashleigh Stonehouse (15 points, 8 rebounds) proved too difficult to cover in that match but she failed to have an impact against the CoE as Ballarat succumbed 70-92. The Rush lost every quarter with Abbey Wehrung (23 points) the only player able to have an influence while Steph Cumming averaged a respectable 14.5 points over the weekend. The CoE were clinical as all five starters scored at least 15 points with Nat Burton (23 points, 10 rebounds), Alicia Froling (15 and 16 with 10 offensive boards) and Steph Talbot (16 and 11 with 8 assists) all recording double-doubles. They were dominant in the paint, scoring 48-24 and now sit equal third with Geelong in the East Conference.
Alongside Canberra, the Sandringham Sabres are still winless as they came up empty against the Nunawading Spectres. The 86-49 demolition was over at quarter-time after Nunawading opened the game with a 33-13 first term. To the Sabres credit, they played out the entire match, winning the fourth quarter as bench players like Shannon Perrett and Amanda Meinking got some important minutes. Nunawading have now won eight straight though as Rebecca Allen (22 points) and Rebecca Cole (17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals) continue to star.
The Knox Raiders also picked up an easy win on the weekend, destroying the Albury/Wodonga Lady Bandits 91-55 on the road. Knox took their average winning margin against the Lady Bandits in 2014 to 35 after hitting 11 more shots from the field on 3 less attempts. Gabe Richards (33 points, 12 rebounds) feasted in the paint as the Raiders scored 52-28 inside although Emilee Harmon held her own with 23 points and 14 boards. Kelly Wilson (17 and 10 with 7 assists) controlled the game from the point guard position as Knox snapped a four game losing streak.
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