Waratah Championship - Round 2

Hi guys and girls, and welcome to the Round 2 wrap up of what was an exciting week of Waratah Championship basketball!

This week we’ll start with the ladies.

Waratah League Women

The first game of the weekend was an early one on Saturday morning. Tipping off at 11am was the Maitland Mustangs taking on the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. This was the first of two games for both sides on the day, so stay tuned for their back-to-back wraps below. Despite 21 points from Jessica Duncan, the Sea Eagles couldn’t mount the necessary comeback to get the W as Lara Shipard led the way for the Mustangs, finishing with 20 points and going 5/8 from deep to help her side hang on for the win against a depleted Manly team.

Next up was the Norths Bears travelling to Hills to take on the Hornets. A competitive first quarter had the Hornets right in the mix, but a determined Bears outfit came out aggressive in the second period. The Bears got the ball inside a lot more and managed to get to the line a few times. They put their stamp on the game in this quarter taking a 10 point lead into half time. Poor shooting after the break hindered the Hornets chance of getting back into the game as they only converted on 30% of their attempts for the half. Norths taking out the win 73-62, with Renae Camino continuing to dominate with 25 points and 9 rebounds.

The Mustangs backed up next against the Illawarra Hawks. The Maitland girls had difficulty finding the energy to go at a fresh Hawks team and never troubled the visitors. The Illawarra team taking the win 35-73. Olivia White took the honours as scoring leader for the match with 15 for the Hawks.

Manly travelled to Broadmeadow stadium for their second game against the Newcastle Hunters. The Hunters girls were fired up for their first game of the season. And whilst there are no official stats available at this stage, the Newcastle girls took a comfortable win, finishing 86-39 on top of their guests. The Hunters got solid contributions from Jill Morgan, and youngster Alison Ebzery who seemed to get into the paint with ease and finished with contact numerous times.

And that was it for a short round for the women this week.

Waratah League Men

In the early game on Saturday the Bankstown Bruins hosted the Sutherland Sharks. The Bruins looking for an improved performance in their first home game of the season. Unfortunately they ran into a determined Sutherland team, with the hosts being unable to match it on the scoreboard down the stretch. The Sharks poo free throw shooting continued from last week to give the Bruins a chance, but the Sharks managed to muscle out a 62-79 win. Daniel Sepokas again dominating for the Shire team with 17 points and 7 assists.

Next up the Bears travelled to Hills for another Sydney side match up. Jarrad Weeks led all scorers in this one as he carried the Norths boys to a win with his 32 points, with 18 of those coming from triples. Someone get a hand up on this guy! A strong second half from the visitors helped them to take the win 75-66.

Maitland hosted the Illawarra Hawks in the next game with both teams looking for their first win of the comp (despite my dodgy information last week). Maitland were boosted by the return of Igor Bosnjak from an overseas trip, and he certainly made up for lost time on the rebounds, collecting 15 for the game. Mitchell Rueter and Goran Veg combined for 43 and the hosts dominated, despite 15 points from Jordan Barry. The Mustangs coming out victorious 78-58.

The Sea Eagles of Manly Warringah travelled up the M1 for the next game to take on the Newcastle Hunters. The Hunters were missing Steve Davis, who is serving a 3 game suspension for head-butting against the Comets in round one, and 5 others including last seasons captain Cameron Springall. So they were relying on youth and enthusiasm of Youth League players stepping up. The game was close throughout, with Manly taking the lead early in the 4th, only for the Hunters to take the game back on a solid rebounding performance from young Matt Holmes and a timely interjection from hometown favourite Josh Morgan. With the Hunters down by 1 and the game less than 5 minutes from completion Josh grabbed an important offensive rebound, kicked it out to Ryan Beisty who in turn found Bennie Murray who hit a 3, and finished with 28 points. The Hunters never trailed again as they grabbed important rebounds and played smart basketball to close out. Steve White as good for the visitors and kept them alive until the very end. Final score 82-76.

Photo Credit: Hannah Pate- Official Photographer of the Central Coast Crusaders

Next was the Central Coast Crusaders against the Penrith Panthers at the Central Coast. Both teams got off to a slow start in a scrappy, defensive minded first quarter. The Panthers were feeling confident heading into the last quarter up 51-46. But the Crusaders were not to be denied behind 27 points from Jason Taylor thought, charging home to win 71-67. Ben Kearins led the visitors with 18 points. And after that loss you can be sure the Panthers will be happy to have their first home game coming, where hopefully they can use their home court advantage to get their first win of the year.

The final match for the round saw Maitland and Manly complete their double headers, with the Mustangs playing the Sea Eagles at home in Maitland. Maitland had to hang on tight in this one, as the boys from Manly Warringah had a massive final quarter scoring 29 points and closing the game to within 3 points. Igor Bosnjak recorded a double double in this one with 11 points and a massive 18 rebounds, while big man Goran Veg had 24 points against an undersized Manly team. Steve White again leading the way for the visitors in an inspiring effort, finishing with 24 points in the second loss for the weekend.

For more info on results and fixtures, head to the official Waratah Championship home page here.

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