QBL Round 1 Review: Rockhampton start their title defense on a winning note, blowout wins in the women's
QBL Men’s Round 1 Review
Toowoomba blew a 17 point lead early in the third quarter to lose their first game of the season against divisional rivals Gold Coast 73-80. The Mountaineers, who were without their two imports Thon Smith and Willie Farley, had a strong start to the first half but Gold Coast bounced back behind Zack Frankland and Buster Perkins who recorded 27 and 16 points respectively.
Bundaberg pulled a huge surprise by beating divisional rivals Northside Wizards 74-70. Northside struggled on the free throw line (12-28) and from outside (2-18). Bundaberg were without their import and Bryce Arnott but a pair of local players in Kyle Keirnan and Luke Iacobucci stepped up to fill the void. Willie Shacklefold impressed with 18 points and 27 rebounds while for Northside, Heath Gameren had 20 points, 7 rebounds and 13 assists.
The Suncoast Clippers showed they will be difficult team to face after making light work of the SW Metro Pirates 105-77. Import Kahlil McDonald top scored with 31 points while Josh Tueta displayed all round skills with 17 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. For the Pirates, who were without four key players including their imports, Ryan Vines top scored with 19.
Brisbane blew past Ipswich to show why they are regarded as one of the title favourites. The game was close in the first half but Brisbane took it to another level in the second with Ipswich only managing to score 23 in 20 minutes of basketball. James Legan and Zarryon Fereti struggled with their shot selection while Martin Iti was ineffective in the paint. For Brisbane, import Dane Suttle scored 24 points while Ryan Jeffries had 23 points and 10 assists against his former team.
Rockhampton signalled their intentions to repeat as QBL champions, with a strong statement against the Cairns Marlins. Rockhampton were led by new import Chehales Tapscott with 27 points and 9 rebounds, receiving assistance from Ray Turner and Brad Williamson. For Cairns, Shaun Bruce provided resistance with 21 points, while Mitch Young recorded a double-double.
Cairns managed to get something out of the central Queensland road trip by taking their frustrations out on the Gladstone Power. Shaun Bruce and Curt Ahwang took over the game in the first quarter and never look back. For Gladstone, who were without both imports, they provided something in the second quarter, however they struggled overall. Todd Meyerding top scored with 15 point.
Friday, May 9, Cairns Taipans (1-1) vs. Suncoast Clippers (1-0)
Cairns will be at home for the first time this season and they will be facing a Suncoast team who were impressive against the Pirates. Cairns have a mixture of experience, youth, depth and height and Suncoast will struggle to contain them in their first game of their far north road trip.
Saturday, May 10, South West Metro (0-1) vs. Bundaberg Bulls (1-0)
South West will have Alex Herrera, Mike Carlson and Rasmus Bach back for their first home game against an improving Bundaberg team. Herrera and Carlson are quality bigs with impressive resumes in the NCAA division 2. They will be asked to carry a lot of the offensive load for the Pirates who will be looking for first win since round 1 in 2013 (coincidently against Bundaberg at home). Bundaberg will have a lot of confidence in their game after the win over Northside. Difficult game to predict, depending of the rosters at game time but I would have to go South West in a close encounter.
Saturday, May 10, Northside Wizards (0-1) vs. Gold Coast Rollers (1-0)
Northside are coming from a tough loss to Bundaberg and will need to bounce back against Gold Coast. Gameren and Gleeson were good however they need more production from their rest of their players. The Rollers created a surprise comeback against Toowoomba but their performance was disappointing to say the least. Gold Coast will need more out Buster Perkins, who despite a double-double shot just 3/22 from the field. Northside should bounce back in this game for the win.
Saturday, May 10, Mackay Meteors (0-0) vs. Ipswich Force (0-1)
Mackay have made huge offseason by recruiting NBL players Clint Steindl and Todd Blanchfield, Wollongong Hawks player Shane Harris-Tunks replaces Greg Vanderjagt while former QBL MVP Michael Cedar returns to the Meteors. Mackay have high expectations for the season and have the squad to challenge for a championship and they face Ipswich who were extremely disappointing in their first game against Brisbane and will need to bounce back in the central Queensland road trip. Big man Martin Iti struggled at both end of the court while more will be expected by Legan and Fereti. Mackay should win this game.
Saturday, May 10, Townsville Heat (0-0) vs. Suncoast Clippers (1-0)
Townsville will play for the first time this season after reaching the final four last year. They lost a chunk of players in the likes of the Cedar brothers, Daniel Egan and Todd Blanchfield. New Coach Mike Kelly takes over and he will have a potent backcourt of Mirko Djeric and Mitch Norton. Suncoast might have a chance over this Townsville team and all will depend on their imports Kahlil McDonald and Marshall Johnson. Townsville should win in a close encounter.
Sunday, May 11, Rockhampton Rockets (1-0) vs. Ipswich Force (0-1)
Ipswich will have to back their efforts, playing in their second game of the road trip, against the defending champions, who can be a handful in their home court. Rockhampton got good production out of their imports and Brad Williamson and they have enough guards to throw at Ipswich. The key will be upfront where Harvey and Iti will have a tough ask against Turner, Tapscott and Kingma.
Sunday, May 11, Toowoomba Mountaineers (0-1) vs. Brisbane Capitals (1-0)
Toowoomba will want to bounce back after the disappointment of losing to Gold Coast. They have both imports cleared to play and should be a tough proposition for the Capitals. Brisbane have a distinct advance in their frontcourt over the Mountaineers. The key battle will be between Farley and Suttle, while containing Jeffries and Rychart might prove too much for Toowoomba.
QBL Women’s Round 1 Reviews / Round 2 Previews
The round was highlighted by the massive blowouts throughout the matches. SW Metro defeat Suncoast 73-37 with Sidney Parsons top scoring with 22 points, with double-double performances for Savannah Au and Kelli Hayward.
Katie Harris’ 30 points put Northside in a winning spot, defeating Bundaberg by 58 points, 94-36. Gladstone defeated Cairns by 45 points 105-60, with Jessica Bibby scoring 41 points while Rachel Pryor and Maddy Willey contributed to the win. Rockhampton defeated Cairns 75-60 with Iasia Hemingway scoring 20 points and Chandra Jones with 19. Toowoomba tasted a win in their first game of the season over Gold Coast win Kisha Lee scoring 30 points on 11/17 field goals while grabbing 15 rebounds. Ipswich fought hard to get a win at Brisbane 77-71. New import Brandi Brown top scored with 27 points and 15 rebounds.
Defending champions, Mackay Meteorettes are facing Ipswich. Mackay look like the odds on favourites to repeat have a stellar roster of WNBL calibre. Ipswich struggle at Brisbane and despite the win they need more out of Chelsie Schweers, although Ipswich has a better chance to get a victory over Rockhampton the next day. Toowoomba verses Brisbane will a good match to watch, with both teams evenly matched. The battle between the bigs will be an interesting battle with the Mountaineers imports facing against Thompson and Aldred. Northside and Gold Coast could be an intriguing match, however I see Northside winning this. Based on Bundaberg performance you will have to give South West the advance that will depend on import Sidney Parsons. Fellow import Ezria Parsons is expected to return following a shoulder injury.
Thank you for loving Aussie hoops! From Kein, Damian and #TeamPnR