SEABL Semi Finals: Another Comeback For Nunawading while the Lady Spartans Cause A Huge Upset
The round opened with a major scare for the Mt. Gambier Pioneers as the N/W Tasmania Thunder pushed them all the way in a 75-83 loss. The visitors started with a 29-21 opening term and still held a 4 point advantage with 6 minutes remaining. The Pioneers finished on a 16-8 run though with three triple’s from Ben Allen in the last quarter sealing the victory. Brad Hill’s 22 points and 10 rebounds answered big performances from Tyrone Lee (16 and 12) and Nathan Wilson (10 and 14). Mt. Gambier remains unbeaten at home this season (14-0) and will host the Conference Final in a fortnight for the second consecutive year.
The Thunder will play host to the Kilsyth Cobras next weekend after they took care of the Sandringham Sabres, 73-64. Leading for a majority of the match, Kilsyth needed a 25-14 last quarter to finally put away the Sabres. Joel Naburgs (16 points, 11 rebounds) was inspirational, scoring 10 points in the fourth term while Auryn MacMillan (21 and 12) and Tim Lang (15 and 9) proved too much to handle for Rayshawn Goins (15 and 10). With a calf injury restricting Junior Hairston to 17 minutes of court time, Sandringham fought bravely but lacked an inside presence to take them further into the playoffs.
In the East Conference, the Nunawading Spectres survived a thriller against the Geelong Supercats, requiring a fourth quarter comeback for the fourth consecutive game. Trailing by eight points with 7 minutes remaining, Nunawading’s Mitch Creek (20 points, 12 boards) scored 10 points in the last term to hand the Spectres the lead. Nathan Herbert and Nick Owusu then missed game tying three pointers as Geelong fell 86-87. Despite grabbing 10 less rebounds, the Supercats won the points in the paint battle 48-36 but a 46% effort from the free throw line proved costly. Anthony White Jr. poured in 22 points for the visitors but Simon Conn (20 and 12 rebounds) got the better of Eric Gaff (9 and 10) as Nunawading earned a week off.
The Dandenong Rangers will head down the highway to play Geelong in the Preliminary Final after Daequon Montreal and Tony Lewis got them over the line against the Ballarat Miners, 92-85. Ken Horton had 27 points on 12-23 shooting and 12 boards while Anthony Fisher added 20 and 8 as Ballarat closed within 2 points in the final two minutes. They had no answers for Dandenong’s front court duo though with Montreal recording 39 and 9 on 14-19 shooting while Lewis dominated with 24 and 21. Import Dyricus Edwards (14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) played a handy cameo role for the Miners but Andrew Harms (6 points, 3 boards, 7 assists, 2 steals) matched him at the other end, keeping the Rangers’ chances of back-to-back Championships alive.
The Bendigo Lady Braves have advanced to the South Conference Final, thrashing the Frankston Lady Blues, 83-49 without losing a quarter. Frankston shot just 27% and were out of the contest by the main break after a 17-36 first half. Only Kelly Bowen (13 points, 10 rebounds) provided resistance as Alex Bunton (22 and 13) and Jane Chalmers (16 and 7 with 6 assists and 3 steals) dictated terms at both ends. When the forward/duo combination of Bowen, Maddie Garrick and Nicole Romeo combine for 11-39 shooting, the Lady Blues will have little chance against any side in the league, let alone a finals competitor.
The Hobart Lady Chargers will visit Frankston next weekend after they overcame a sluggish start to beat the Kilsyth Lady Cobras, 64-57. Kilsyth were on top early, applying their exceptional defensive pressure to hold Hobart to 2-17 shooting in the first quarter. That effort led to a 17 point lead by the third term before Hobart went on a three point barrage, hitting 5-9 in the second half. They then knocked in five free throws in the final minute to seal the victory. Kathleen Scheer (20 points, 7 rebounds) hit 4-7 from long range while Cayla Francis finished strong to record a mammoth 22 and 17. For Kilsyth, Yvonne Anderson (21 points, 8 rebounds) and Sarah Parsons (5 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists) led from the front and although it was a disappointing end to the season, 2014 was a promising look to the future for the Lady Cobras.
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In the East Conference, the Brisbane Lady Spartans caused the upset of the round, handing the Dandenong Rangers their first home loss of the season in a 71-64 victory. Dandenong trailed for most of the match but made a late charge, reducing a 12 point three-quarter time deficit to 3 with 15 seconds remaining. It was too little too late though after Brisbane controlled the tempo from the opening tip, with Sarah Graham scoring 10 points in a 20-13 first term. She went on to record 21 while Odette Andrew (17 points) nailed 3-4 from downtown and Olivia Thompson collected 12 and 7 rebounds. The Rangers were buoyed by 20 assists for 24 field goals and Tenaya Philips was strong off the bench with 18 points and 5 boards. The road to a fourth Championship in five years is now a lot tougher though while Brisbane will enjoy a week’s break.
The Geelong Lady Supercats will visit Dandenong in the Preliminary Final after taking care of the Nunawading Spectres on the road, 47-72. They had not beaten Nunawading in their two previous meetings and had suffered fourth quarter fadeouts in recent weeks but both those demons were squashed with a 22-4 final term. Candice Rogers (10 points, 10 rebounds) led Geelong to a 53-37 advantage on the glass while Alex Duck (22 and 7) and Sara Blicavs (13 and 8) were impressive. Bec Cole and Alanna Smith struggled from the field for Nunawading, shooting a combined 7-25 for 15 points. After dropping the opportunity for a double chance in the last round of the regular season, Nunawading lost four of their final five games. Without Bec Allen, they struggled to find consistency in their offence and will be disappointed in a premature finish to a season that promised much more.
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