SEABL Round 15: Geelong Finds Success On a Dreaded Triple-Header
A disappointing start to the round for the Geelong Supercats saw them fall on Wednesday night to the Nunawading Spectres, 82-96. An even half saw Geelong lead by 2 points at the main break but a 16-29 third term blew them away as the Spectres moved a game closer to the East Conference leaders. Eric Gaff (24 points, 15 rebounds-8 offensive) had a great battle under the rim with Simon Conn (20 and 15-9 offensive) while Nick Owusu (20 points, 8 assists) won the point guard battle against Shane McDonald (19 and 5). However, a +14 advantage in bench points sealed the win for the visitors.
Nunawading then visited their other rival in the East Conference top three, the Dandenong Rangers. A strong start saw the Spectres jump out to a 17 point lead but the Rangers slowly made ground before powering away with a 22-13 final term to record a big 107-96 victory. Mitch Creek (36 points on 13-19 shooting) was superb for Nunawading while McDonald averaged 16.5 and 6 assists for the weekend. Dandenong proved deadly from beyond the arc, nailing 18-35 as Andrew Harms (25 points, 9 boards) and Brent Hobba (14 points) hit four three-pointers each. Tony Lewis was effective with 23 points and 10 rebounds as well as his solid defence on Conn.
Following Wednesday night’s disappointment, Geelong quickly got back on trackwith an 87-78 win over the Hobart Chargers. They led by 15 at quarter-time and although the Chargers got within 5 in the final term, the damage had been done. Khalil Hartwell (16 points, 12 boards) was tireless for the home team while Deba George got back on track with a healthy 16 and 8 assists. But the Supercats were too dominant inside, winning the rebound count 55-30 with Gaff (19 points, 20 rebounds-11 offensive) outstanding once again.
The Supercats finished their round at 2-1 with a big 85-66 win over the N/W Tasmania Thunder, sweeping the Tassie road trip. Anthony White Jr.’s 23 points and Owusu’s 15 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists kept Geelong at the top of the East Conference while Gaff finished with an average of 17.3 points and 15.3 rebounds for the weekend. The Thunder didn’t have much to smile about aside from Tyrone Lee (13 points, 10 boards) as they were out-scored by 30 from the three point line.
Both sides sat at 9-9 and were fourth in their respective conferences when theBendigo Braves hosted the Ballarat Miners. Ballarat trailed by 7 at the main break but picked up the important win on the back of a 51-33 second half as Ken Horton (29 points, 14 rebounds) went off. Despite 19 off the bench for Kevin Probert, Bendigo were unable to celebrate Chris Hogan’s club record 319th SEABL game and their out-right lead in the South Conference top four has now disappeared.
Ballarat then shored up their finals chances with a 101-74 defeat of the Brisbane Spartans on Sunday. Brisbane could have moved within two wins of Ballarat’s fourth place in the East but now sit four games adrift. Horton led from the front in a huge weekend for the Miners, collecting his 17th double-double of the year with 25 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals. Nathan Sobey (16, 6 and 8) and Chris Smith (season high 13 points) were also solid.
Brisbane’s pain was amplified, having lost 99-101 to the Albury/Wodonga Bandits the night before. Matt De Koeyer was the hero; drilling the game-winning shot with 7 seconds remaining after the Spartans had scored the previous 7 points. CJ Massingale had 19 off the bench in a rare highlight for Brisbane as they struggled to contain Alex Opacic (24 points on 10-14 shooting) and Lamar Mallory (22 points, 13 rebounds).
The Bandits own a three game winning streak after also surprising the Frankston Blues for just their second road victory of the season. Albury/Wodonga controlled the entire game, winning 95-76 despite the Blues collecting 11 more rebounds and shooting at 56%. Matt Hodgson doubled his season high with 24 points but 26 turnovers killed the Blues as Jamar Briscoe torched them for 32. The acquisition of Mallory has certainly helped the Bandits as he averaged 22 and 12 rebounds for the weekend.
Frankston had a chance to move into the South Conference top four at the start of the round but instead find themselves a game adrift having lost to the Mt. Gambier Pioneers, 72-84 the previous night. A promising start saw the Blues lead by 11 at quarter-time but their hard work was undone by a 9-29 second term. On his 30th birthday, Matt Sutton celebrated with a season high 24 points. Amongst the heartache for Frankston, Brandon Polk was exceptional, averaging 22.5 points and 11 boards while Chuck Long had an economical 13, 10 and 7 assists against Mt. Gambier.
There was another chapter added to the storied history between the Knox Raiders andKilsyth Cobras this weekend as Knox recorded a 75-64 upset win. Kilsyth threw everything they had at their historic rivals, trimming a 10 point lead to 3 in the final minute but the Raiders held firm to score 9 of the last 10 points and end a six game losing streak. Delwan Graham (10 points, 15 rebounds) held his own against Tim Lang (23 and 11) and Auryn MacMillan (14 and 16) as the Cobras’ third spot in the South Conference begins to look shaky.
Finally, the Canberra Gunners moved above the Sandringham Sabres in a desperate South Conference battle for fifth place. Garlon Green (30 points, 11 boards) led the charge with Dan Joyce (29 points) joining him as two of five players to reach double figures. Junior Hairston (27 points, 17 rebounds-9 offensive) was superb for the Sabres but the loss will make things very difficult in the final five rounds of the season.
The round began on a sour note for the Geelong Lady Supercats, falling to the second placed Nunawading Spectres 55-58 in an East Conference showdown. The third placed Lady Supercats gave up a 1 point three-quarter time lead, shooting just 3-14 in the final term. Nunawading’s Hayley Moffatt recorded 20 points, out-scoring Geelong 8-6 in the fourth period by herself and she was ably assisted by Alanna Smith (9 points, 11 rebounds) and Hanna Zavecz (13 points, 6 boards, 3 steals, 3 blocks).
Nunawading then faced the East leading Dandenong Rangers with a chance to take top spot. A 9-20 opening term made the task difficult and although they pulled within 3 in the final term, the cool heads of Amelia Todhunter (14 points, 7 rebounds) and Lauren Scherf (14 and 6) carried Dandenong over the line, 65-57. Tenaya Phillips (14 points in 22 minutes) was just edged out in a great battle off the bench with Nunawading’s Smith (18 points in 19 minutes) but the Rangers now have the mental edge should these sides meet again in the finals.
The challenges continued for Geelong as they visited the Hobart Lady Chargers but they quickly got back on the winners list. They converted a 3 point half-time lead into a comfortable 84-59 victory as Tayla Roberts (25 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks) and Alex Duck (19 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 4steals) stuffed the stat-sheet. Kathleen Scheer (27 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks) was exceptional in the loss but Hobart are now almost assured of finishing fourth in the South Conference.
The last leg of Geelong’s triple-header saw them pummel the Launceston Tornadoes inside, scoring 34-6 in points in the paint while grabbing 58 rebounds for a 74-53 thrashing. Having swept the Tassie road trip, the Lady Supercats now have a four game advantage in the East Conference playoff race. Roberts averaged 16.3 points and 9.3 rebounds while Caitlin Rogers (11.3 and 10) and Sara Blicavs (13 points and 2.3 steals) also enjoyed bountiful weekends. For the Tornadoes, Abby Bishop recorded 18 points and 10 boards but her side was never in the game, shooting just 26%.
The Ballarat Rush’s finals chances took a severe hit after they fell to the third placed Brisbane Lady Spartans, 73-97. Brisbane’s team game was on full display, recording 29 assists on 36 field goals as Olivia Thompson (30 points, 13 rebounds) and Odette Andrew (12, 6 and 6 assists) dominated. Ballarat did shoot 46% for the match but had 17 less attempts and were never truly in the contest.
The Rush finished the round 0-2 having lost to the Bendigo Lady Braves the night before in a 39-62 drubbing. They shot just 28% and 1-17 from beyond the arc and although Bendigo shot only 31% themselves, they controlled the tempo with 12 more rebounds, 5 less turnovers and 6 more steals. Alex Bunton (14 points, 9 rebounds) combined well with Heather Oliver (6 and 11 off the bench). Only Abbey Wehrung (11 and 10) had an impact for Ballarat as her side fell four games outside the East Conference top four.
Conversely, Brisbane were able to gain some separation in the East’s third spot as their win over the Rush followed a 101-65 trouncing of the Albury/Wodonga Lady Bandits. A horrendous 28 turnovers led to 25 points for Brisbane as Rachel Maenpaa collected a forgettable double-double of 12 rebounds and 11 turnovers. Thompson finished with a round average of 26 points and 11 boards while Andrew poured in another 26 against the Lady Bandits.
Albury/Wodonga’s losing streak was then extended to 15 as they fell to the Frankston Lady Blues 74-93. As she has done all season, Emilee Harmon played a lone hand, averaging 23.5 points and 11.5 rebounds. The victory keeps the Lady Blues tied for first in the South Conference and with Kelly Bowen (20 points, 10 boards), Maddie Garrick (25 and 12) and Nicole Romeo (25 and 7 assists) at the top of their game; they are certainly a championship contender.
Two lowly South Conferences sides that are starting to find form met on Saturday night as the Sandringham Sabres extended their win streak to four over the Canberra Capitals, 80-72. In the absence of Hope Walker, Micaela Cocks (23 points, 7 rebounds) and Michelle Joy (10, 10 and 6 assists) took over while Bridget Deery chipped in 15 off the bench. Canberra had a better field goal percentage thanks to Nat Hurst (16 points), Caitlin Rowe (15 and 9 boards) and Alice Coddington (14 and 8) but a 1-13 effort from beyond the arc was their downfall.
To cap off the round, the Knox Raiders would have loved to break their four game losing streak against historic rivals, Kilsyth, but it wasn’t to be as the Lady Cobras retained their top spot in the South Conference with a 68-50 win. Knox trailed by only 4 at half-time but shot 1-12 in a 5 point third quarter that dashed any hope. Gabe Richards (12 points, 14 rebounds) returned but was contained by the likes of Rosie Moult (12 and 10) and Louella Tomlinson (15 and 5 blocks) while Yvonne Anderson’s torched them for 21 points and 10 rebounds.
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