SEABL Round 12: Thunder Lose Two Heart-Breakers while the Capitals Break Their Duck
Sitting atop the South Conference at the beginning of the round, the N/W Tasmania Thunder came crashing back to Earth with two heartbreaking losses to the Canberra Gunners and Brisbane Spartans. The round began with a 93-91 win for Canberra as Dan Jackson nailed a buzzer beater after his side trailed by as much as 13 points. A 29-18 fourth term stunned the Thunder with Matt Staff (22 points, 14 rebounds) and Garlon Green (22 and 8) leading the charge. N/W Tasmania shot 51% and had all five starters score 13+ but the win for Canberra keeps them only a win outside the South’s top four.
Following that stunning loss, the Thunder finished two points short again on Saturday night, losing 82-84 after Nick Haywood missed on a game winning three. Scott Kenny’s season high 28 points proved the difference for Brisbane as N/W Tasmania was left to rue a +8 advantage in both offensive rebounds and second chance points. BJ Jenkins finished the round with an average of 25.5 points while Nathan Wilson (18.5 points, 8 rebounds) was solid but their second losing streak of the season is a blow to their championship hopes.
A tough weekend for the Albury/Wodonga Bandits saw them lose two games against quality opposition in the Nunawading Spectres and Dandenong Rangers. The Spectres celebrated veteran Jason Todorov’s 300th game in style, winning every quarter in a 94-68 demolition. Their bench scored 39 points while Simon Conn had 20 points and 9 rebounds and Tommy Greer chipped in 8 and 14 (5 offensive). The win keeps Nunawading outright second in the East Conference.
The following day saw the Bandits’ worst loss of the season, going down 77-111 while giving up 17 points off turnovers and 13 second chance points. Dandenong utilised their extensive bench with Lucas Barker (16 points) and Dwayne Campbell (10) damaging while Owen Odigie finished with a double-double of 15 and 10 rebounds. For Albury/Wodonga, Lamar Mallory’s 22 points was a season high and hopefully a promise of things to come while Alex Bogart-King had a superb weekend, averaging 10.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2.5 steals and a block.
Dandenong’s victory came a night after they disposed of the Knox Raiders 94-74. Knox made the scoreline respectable with a 22-13 final quarter and Delwan Graham’s tireless efforts saw him keep up his double-double average with 14 points and 11 rebounds. But the killer combo of Daequon Montreal (31 points on 9-12 shooting) and Tony Lewis (21 points, 15 boards) proved too much for the Raiders and their two wins place them two games clear in the East Conference’s third spot.
In a very tight South Conference, the Hobart Chargers have only themselves to blame after dropping out of the top four with two losses to the Mt. Gambier Pioneers and Kilsyth Cobras this weekend. They held an 8 point lead at half-time against Mt. Gambier but were out-scored 37-25 from that point to fall 77-81. Damian Johnson was all over the glass, grabbing 8 offensive boards to finish with 23 points and 14 rebounds while Brad Hill had 22 and 8 with 3 steals as the Pioneers stayed unbeaten at home (7-0).
The Chargers were disappointing the following day, again leading at the main break before scoring just 27 second half points to lose 72-94. Deba George recorded 19 points against the Pioneers but had more turnovers than field goals against Kilsyth, hitting 3-14 for a season low 9 points. Khalil Hartwell (22 points, 9 rebounds) and Tom Wright (22 and 6 assists) made up for George’s forgettable day but Joel Naburgs (25 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists) helped Kilsyth cruise.
It was a tougher task for the Cobras the previous night in their match-up against the Frankston Blues. Despite giving up 17 offensive rebounds, Kilsyth managed to hang on 73-69 with Kyle Adnam’s 7 points in the fourth quarter sealing the win. Adnam finished the weekend with a 16.5 point average, Naburgs averaged 22.5 and Tim Lang had a double-double average of 19.5 and 10 rebounds. Frankston received strong performances from Chuck Long (14 and 15) and Brandon Polk (19 and 12) but the loss puts them a game outside the South Conference top four while Kilsyth’s impressive weekend moves them to 10-5.
One of the games of the year saw the Geelong Supercats just edge the Ballarat Miners, 97-95, in overtime. The Miners had to overcome a 3-24 start but they did take a late lead before Geelong’s Nick Owusu nailed a game-tying three at the siren. Owusu then scored 5 of his 10 points in the extra period as Ken Horton missed a long range shot on the buzzer. There were super performances across the board; Eric Gaff’s 23 points and 13 rebounds and Mike Mercer’s 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists led the Supercats while Roy Booker had 29 and Horton finished with 25 and 17 with 4 steals for Ballarat. However, the match was marred somewhat by injuries to both Mercer and Booker.
Finally, a strong finish from the Sandringham Sabres saw them overcome the Bendigo Braves and convert an important South Conference win. Bendigo led by as much as 6 in the last period but the Sabres ended the game with a 23-10 run to win 82-75. The Braves grabbed 21 offensive boards but were wasteful from the three point line (4-21) and free throw line (11-24) with Zack Atkinson (18 points, 17 rebounds) providing the only highlights. Sandringham have moved within a win of the fourth placed Braves and Junior Hairston (16 and 15) looks to have found his groove.
After fourteen consecutive losses, the Canberra Capitals finally broke their duck with a well deserved 77-59 win against the Launceston Tornadoes to start Round 12. The Capitals won every quarter and dominated the rebounds 50-27 with Nat Hurst (19 points, 8 rebounds), Caitlin Rowe (10 and 11), Sarah McAppion (14 and 8) and Alice Coddington (13 and 7 with 4 steals) all starring. Against her old side, Abby Bishop stood tall with 16 and 13 but the Tornadoes never looked in the match.
Launceston then suffered a seventh straight loss as they fell to the Brisbane Lady Spartans the following night. Brisbane scored 16-0 in points off turnovers and 17-0 in second chance points on their way to an 81-66 mauling. Olivia Thompson (19 points) top-scored and Nat Taylor had 12 off the bench as the Lady Spartans kept in touch with the East Conference top two. Lauren Mansfield’s 16 point average and Bishop’s double-double average of 14.5 and 12.5 boards provided the only highlights for the Tornadoes.
It was also a tough round for the Albury/Wodonga Lady Bandits, losing to the East Conference’s top two in the Nunawading Spectres and Dandenong Rangers. A 23-4 second term and 54-10 first half handed Nunawading the win as they cruised to a 96-50 win. A 23-2 advantage in points off turnovers only added to the pain as Rebecca Cole (17 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals) got the job done in limited minutes while Alanna Smith’s 22 points was a season high in an already exceptional 2014.
Dandenong then took their home record to 8-0 on Sunday with a comfortable 79-55 victory. Lauren Scherf’s 16 points came in 23 minutes while Tenaya Phillips took full advantage off the bench, scoring 13. A rare highlight for Albury/Wodonga came in the form of Rachel Maenpaa, who nabbed her first double-double of the season with a huge 17 points and 15 rebounds while Eliza Harmon averaged 11.5 points and 7.5 boards for the weekend.
Having won the night before in Knox, the Rangers now have a league best 12-2 record. It was a 73-49 mauling against the Raiders as Clare Papavs (15.5 point, 6 rebound, 4.5 assist average for the round) and Amelia Todhunter (14.5 points and 7 rebounds) feasted. Knox were without Kelly Wilson and Gabe Richards and although Jess May (19 points, 8 boards) and Shanae Greaves (15 and 9) stood tall, a definite firepower was lacking. As international duties continue to plague the Raiders, a consistent performance will be hard to manufacture.
After a nail-biting victory over the Kilsyth Lady Cobras Saturday night, the Frankston Lady Blues are now even with them at 10-5 in the South Conference. Leading by as much as 10 points in the final term, the Lady Blues were made to fight when Kilsyth got within 2 in the final 30 seconds. Nicole Romeo calmly sank four subsequent free throws though as Frankston eked out an 81-76 win. Romeo finished with 24 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals while her partners in crime, Maddie Garrick (25 points, 10 boards) and Kelly Bowen (18 and 7) also starred.
Unable to recover from that disappointment, Kilsyth then fell to the Hobart Lady Chargers 62-82 on Sunday. The game was again in the balance at three-quarter time but Hobart powered away with a 25-9 final term. Cayla Francis was dominant inside, shooting 14-21 for 31 points while Izzy Chilcott (6 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 6 steals) flirted with a triple-double. For Kilsyth, Louella Tomlinson led a forgettable weekend with a 19.5 point average and Rosie Moult nailed 8-21 from beyond the arc for a 16.5 point average.
A spot in the East Conference top four was up for grabs when the Geelong Lady Supercats faced the Ballarat Rush. However, a 74-51 thrashing saw Geelong make a statement while the Rush now sit two games outside of playoff contention. The Lady Supercats trailed by 4 at half-time but restricted the home side to just 21 second half points and 30% shooting overall. A lack of inside presence hampered Ballarat, finishing -22 in rebounds and -14 in points in the paint. Geelong’s Sara Blicavs top scored with 17 points while Alex Duck combined 14 points with 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
Playing under new coach Paul Graham, the Sandringham Sabres were unable to turn around their fortunes as an 8-21 opening quarter ruined any chance of an upset against the Bendigo Lady Braves. There were some positive signs as they won the second half and Mikaela Dombkins impressed with 16 points but they shot 32% as a team with stars such as Hope Walker needing 20 attempts for her 13 points. A well rounded performance from Bendigo saw nine players score with Kerryn Harrington (17 points) and LaSondra Barrett (8 points, 8 rebounds off the bench) leading the way. They remain atop the South Conference and are unbeaten at home (8-0).
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