AFTER a three week break due to the Victorian lockdown, the Big V was back in action for Round 19 and there were two games decided by single-digit points and a couple of big blowouts.
Casey (82) defeated by McKinnon (93)
In a battle between two top four sides, McKinnon held off a determined Casey to remain in second spot overall. Sitting just one win behind ladder leaders Keilor, the Cougars improved their season record to 10-4 thanks to the 11-point triumph. The Cavaliers started strongly at home, putting up 32 points to 26 in the opening term, but could not manage more than 20 per period for the remaining three quarters. The Cougars hit back strong, winning the second and fourth terms by 10 and seven points respectively, to win 93-82.
Matt Tolnai recoded 15 points – three of six from long-range – four rebounds and two assists, one of five Cougars to notch up double-figure points. The most prolific on the court included Jordan Vandenberg (12 points, nine rebounds and two assists) and Jordan Geer (nine points, nine rebounds and five assists), while Nic Laycock managed the 14 points – three of eight from beyond the arc – five assists, two rebounds and two steals. Calvin Enge was the dominant player for the losing side, recording 15 rebounds – 10 defensive – 10 points and three assists in a double-double effort. One of the competition’s top scorers Matt Dolan managed the 15 points, four assists and two rebounds, while Brendon Head topscored with 18 points and five rebounds in defeat.
Chelsea (74) defeated by Hawthorn (104)
Hawthorn leapfrogged Casey and Wyndham with a huge 30-point win over bottom three side Chelsea to remain close enough to the top few teams. In an even midtable logjam, the Magic turned it on to triumph by 30 points, 104-74. At the time of publishing, full statistics were not available for the clash.
Hume (107) defeated Wyndham (66)
In an even larger victory, third placed Hume maintained their grapple on the position with a big win over finals contender Wyndham by 31 points. The Broncos stormed out of the blocks to pile on 30 points to 13 in the opening term and open up a 17-point quarter time lead. They built on that lead with a 25-17 second term to be up by 25 points at half-time, winning all four quarters, including a 30-17 final stanza to run away with the 31-point win, 107-66.
Three players scored more than 20 points, led by Mackuei Puondak with 22 points and six rebounds. Joel Rimes (21 points, seven rebounds) went to the line for 14 free throws and nailed 11, while Jake Martin hit four of seven triples for 21 points and four rebounds. Aaron Dolny had a team-high 13 points for Wyndham with five rebounds and two assists to-boot, as Brandon Watkins (12 points, 10 rebounds) picked up a double-double, and Tomi Ayilara (10 points, four rebounds and four assists) also recorded double-figure points.
Keilor (75) defeated Sunbury (68)
Top of the table Keilor Thunder escaped a fast-finishing Sunbury outfit to win by seven points at home on Saturday night. Keilor seemed to have everything under control at times, racing to a 10-point quarter time lead, before the Jets cut that lead in half by the main break. A strong third term resulted in the Thunder again going up, this time by 15 points, though the Jets came home strong in the last, though ultimately for little in the end, falling short by seven points, 68-75.
Nelson Kirksey led the way with 26 points, four rebounds and two assists, with Luke Sist picking up a double-double for the Thunder with 14 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and three steals. Charleston Long (10 points, five rebounds and three assists) also reached double-figure points. For the Jets, Nathan Baker was outstanding with 22 points – four of seven from beyond the arc – five rebounds and seven steals, getting it done offensively and defensively. Trevon Clayton (10 points, nine rebounds and three assists) and Nathan Marshall (10 points, four rebounds and four assists) were other strong performers in a losing side.
Blackburn (82) defeated by Western Port (85)
The bottom two sides in the Big V competition this year put on a tight contest, as Western Port all but avoided the wooden spoon with a narrow three-point triumph. The Steelers toppled the Vikings 85-82, making it their third win of the season and stopping Blackburn from moving to two wins alongside them. The two middle quarters were completely even, with Western Port’s 27-20 first term proving the difference, though Blackburn hit back late with an 18-14 final stanza, only to fall short.
Bevan Camilleri went big with 32 points and seven rebounds for the winners, while Chris Taylor (18 points, five rebounds and five assists) and Matthew Theobald (12 points, three rebounds and three assists) both had impressive outings. Bul Niop was the key shooter for Blackburn with 29 points – seven of 15 from long-range – six rebounds and three assists. Neal Mueller (19 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals) and Matthew Scammell (13 points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals) were also prominent despite the defeat.
Picture credit: Basketball Victoria