ROUND 7 saw Sunbury drop just their second game of the season while McKinnon notched up a handy lead to sit level pegging with the top of the table Jets. There were plenty of upsets across the round with lower placed sides beating their higher placed counterparts.
Western Port (71) defeated by Hawthorn (91)
Hawthorn secured a much needed win in Round 7, defeating Western Port by a convincing 20 points to climb a little higher up the ladder. The Magic raced out to a handy 13-point lead in the opening term, piling on 27 points and kept their foot on the pedal throughout the match. They only lost one quarter – the third – by two points, but it was not enough to change the outcome of the game as Hawthorn ran home.
Jack Gaze was a force to be reckoned with for Western Port with a team-high 25 points. His accuracy from downtown was impressive, sinking six from nine attempts at 68 per cent. He was ably assisted by Chris Taylor who nailed 18 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals in his 26 minutes on court. Jay Allen also chimed in with 10 points and five rebounds in the loss. The Magic had a handful of players that hit the scoreboard with Jarrod Molnar proving to have a hot hand thanks to his 25 points, while Joe Furphy also got busy with his 22 points, seven rebounds and one assist. Kirk Smith featured heavily thanks to his 15 points and five rebounds as teammate Nathan Guscott also produced 10 points at 50 per cent from the field to help get his side the win.
Sunbury (79) defeated by Wyndham (88)
Wyndham shocked Sunbury, toppling them by nine points in a hard fought contest. Sunbury still sit on top of the ladder thanks to their percentage, but Wyndham are hot on their heels with the win seeing them sit on an equal amount of victories with five apiece. The Jets got out to a commanding 10-point lead in the opening stages of the game and extended that margin at half time to 12 points. But that is where it all stopped as Wyndham kicked into gear sinking them from left, right and centre to not only claim the ascendancy but so too steal the win.
Five players from the Jets managed to reach double-digits with Cory Bellman head of the pack, nailing 18 points at 50 per cent from the field. Jayce Beasley played a strong role for Sunbury as well thanks to his double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds. Nathan Baker managed to slot 14 points and seven rebounds while both Trevon Clayton and Nathan Marshall chimed in with 10 points apiece but it was not enough to will their side over the line. Much like the Jets, Wyndham did not have a shortage of players that were able to hit the scoreboard as five of their own hit the double-digit mark. Stefan Pomasan got busy with 17 points, four rebounds, six assists and four steals, while Tomi Ayilara also produced 16 points and six rebounds of his own. Makur Jongkuch found his scoring ways with 14 points while both Aaron Dolny and Cameron Hutton registered 11 points each.
Casey (92) defeated by Chelsea (95)
Chelsea just snuck home by a mere three points against Casey in a thriller. Despite being the higher ranked side, Casey could not get over the line with Chelsea digging deep and ruffling the feathers to claim only their third win of the season. It was somewhat a tail of two halves as Casey had all the momentum in the opening half but Chelsea wrestled it back in the second to close out the game with some monster quarters, sinking 27 points in both the third and fourth. Their ability to hold on and withstand the pressure was second to none.
It was another strong performance from Matt Donlan as he led the troops for Casey with his 28 points at 55 per cent from the field. He also proved that he was not afraid to back himself from range, sinking six out of his 13 attempts. Teammate Anthony Williams Jr also got busy with 22 points, three rebounds and five assists. The next best was Brendon Head who drained 17 points while Angus Howey fell just short of a double-double with nine points and six rebounds. The combination of Nathan Frost, Corey Standerfer and Aaron Frost seemed to be the winning mix as the trio did the most scoreboard damage. Nathan Frost top-scored with 30 points in his 40 minutes out on court, with Standerfer hot on his heels with a commanding 29 points and 12 rebounds. Aaron Frost found his groove with 23 points and 10 rebounds as Cooper Pratt registered an influential seven points in the win.
McKinnon (97) defeated Blackburn (84)
Blackburn remain on the bottom of the ladder with McKinnon notching up a strong 13-point win. Overall it was a much stronger performance from the Vikings who put McKinnon through their paces in hope of securing their second win of the season. McKinnon led the way at every change, showcasing their control over the game and while Blackburn showed glimpses of brilliance, they could not maintain that high level of intensity.
Both James Malvaso and Jordan Geer did the damage for McKinnon, registering 20 points apiece, however accuracy seemed to be somewhat of a problem for Geer who converted at 39 per cent from the field and 22 per cent from long range. Nic Laycock was another important contributor for McKinnon, piling on 18 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. For Blackburn, the influence of Jah Soloai was felt as he recorded a team-high 20 points to accompany his six rebounds – all of which were defensive. Yusuf Qaafow and Mark Berezdecky also got busy and provided plenty of hope for their side credit to their 11 and 10 points respectively.
Hume (80) defeated Keilor (74)
Hume pipped the higher placed Keilor at the post to clinch a six point win. Thunder got the break on the Broncos early, creating a six point buffer by limiting Hume to a mere six points in the first term. That quickly changed as Hume found their rhythm across the court and piled on the scoreboard pressure in the third term to drain 30 points to 17 which proved to be the difference in the game.
Joel Rimes was the go-to scorer for Hume, producing 25 points in his 33 minutes on court. His accuracy from the charity stripe was impressive, converting at an 88 per cent clip and he also registered three assists and three steals. The ever-reliable Shayan Mahboobi inserted himself into the thick of things with his 17 points, five rebounds, two assists and four steals. The efforts of Jake Martin cannot be discounted as he reeled in a whopping 15 rebounds, 13 of which were defensive along with 12 points in an all-round stellar performance. Mackuei Puondak also plied his trade thanks to his 13 points and seven rebounds. For Keilor it was once again Luke Sist that got busy on the scoreboard with 17 points along with eight rebounds. Matt Spencer also worked gallantly for his 14 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists just falling short of a triple-double. Jeremy Edwards and Charleston Long were other key contributors but could not change the outcome of the game for the Thunder.
Coming off a loss, Keilor will be hoping to get back on the winners list against Hawthorn, while the contest between Casey and Wyndham is set to be an intriguing one. Blackburn and Hume go head-to-head at Mullum Mullum Stadium, while Chelsea and Sunbury fight it out as the Jets to hope recapture their winning formula. The final game sees McKinnon host the lowly Western Port as they look to steal top spot.