2021 NBL1 Central: Round 2 preview

NBL1 Central opened its 2021 season last weekend, with plenty of entertaining clashes across both the men’s and women’s leagues. Expect plenty more of that this weekend with Round 2 delivering some exciting matchups.

Norwood Flames v Forestville Eagles

Men’s:

These two teams started their seasons in very different fashion last weekend. The Flames couldn’t get past the Warriors, eventually defeated by 15 points after a disappointing second half fadeout. The Eagles had a much better performance, blowing out the Mavericks by 27 points, with the result never in doubt. This result is no certainty, with high-volume scorers on both teams keeping the result up in the air. Eagle Michael Harris had 37 points to go with nine rebounds and seven assists. The Flames will have to keep a close check on him to make sure he doesn’t catch fire from behind the arc again. He was one of three scorers for the Eagles with 19 or more points, showcasing their scoring depth. There are plenty of guys on this team who can have a 30-point night, and the Flames will have to prepare their best defensive plans to limit this. The Flames also have scoring options, albeit not as many. CJ Turnage had 36 points against the Warriors last week along with six steals. If the Eagles can curb his influence, it will go a long way towards winning the match.

Women’s:

Both of these sides came away with a Round 1 victory but had slightly different margins. Much like the results in the men’s league, the Eagles would be much more satisfied with their performance, producing a 24 point win to start the season in ideal fashion. The Flames also started their season 1-0, but it came in the form of just a four-point win thanks to a fourth quarter comeback. It will be interesting to see where each team is at and how much they have taken out of last week’s results. Can Genna Anderson continue her strong start to the season after last round’s 26-point, 11-rebound performance? She will be well aided by teammates Paige Kennihan and Georgie Garrard. The Eagles will be looking to replicate their strong shooting performance as a team that treated them so well last week, with Samantha Simons one to watch after her 18 points and 13 rebounds to start the season.

 

Eastern Mavericks v South Adelaide Panthers

Men’s:

The South Adelaide Panthers put on a strong showing against North Adelaide, cruising their way to a 21-point win to begin their 2021 campaign. The Eastern Mavericks were disappointed in their first outing for the season, convincingly beaten by the Eagles and will be desperate for a response this week. Looking at last week’s game, it’s easy to see that the Panthers were not carried by an individual scorer, instead they had five double-digit scorers. The Mavericks will be keen to keep Alex Starling quiet after his dominant display, posting 20 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists and eight steals. This may prove to be a difficult task as Starling has shown he can influence the game in a variety of ways. The Mavericks will also be looking to get Nathaniel Koko involved in the offence again after his 23 points in last weekend’s loss.

Women’s:

The Mavericks can only improve after last week’s disappointing display, finding themselves on the end of a 24-point blowout at the hands of the Eagles. They failed to register a double digit score in two separate quarters and just couldn’t get their offence flowing against a spirited Eagles team. Mollie McKendrick tried all day to lift her side’s scoring output, so expect her to do something similar this week. Kedeisha Kartinyeri will be eager to improve after a quiet game last week, and she certainly is capable. The Panthers announced themselves as a threat to the league with a solid 21-point win over the Rockets. Ashley Spencer and Olivia Thompson combined for 64 points, nearly outscoring the opposition team themselves. Expect to see the ball in their hands again this week.

 

Southern Tigers v West Adelaide Bearcats

Men’s:

Both teams started the season in very similar fashion, losing by quite small margins. The Tigers couldn’t capitalise on a strong opening quarter, giving up their lead over the next three quarters, and losing to the Sabres by eight points. The Bearcats couldn’t quite complete the final quarter comeback and ended up being defeated by the Lions by seven points. It’s obvious the Tigers will need to tighten up on dangerous Bearcats duo Bryan Michaels (28 points) and Earnest Ross (21 points) if they are any chance to stop their offence. The Bearcats should consider doing the same with Tiger Cameron Coleman after his team-high 24 points last week.

Women’s:

The Bearcats couldn’t have started the season any better, embarrassing the Lions by a mammoth 64 points in what was nearly a flawless game. They shot 44 per cent from the field and simply could not be stopped. The Tigers held on against the Sabres to run out eight-point winners in what was a mature performance. In the final stages of the game, they never let their opponents get the open looks they wanted. They will have to be better if they want to take down this Bearcats side. A promising sign for the Tigers heading into this clash is that they had three scorers finish with over 15 points. Their offence can come from plenty of places, but their defence will have to be nearly impenetrable. Sky Langenbrinck and Jennie Rintala were deadly for the Bearcats on the offensive end, and will be aiming for similar outputs this week.

 

Central Districts Lions v Sturt Sabres

Men’s:

The Lions started the season with not the most convincing of wins, but a win nonetheless. They withstood a final quarter charge from the Bearcats to hold on as seven point wins. Expect Lual Diing to prove a threat to opposition defenders again this week, coming off a 27-point, 15-rebound performance. The Lions had plenty to take out of last week’s match and prepare for the coaches to make some adjustments for a more comfortable win. They face off against the Sabres, who had a close win of their own, beating the Tigers by eight points in a tight clash. Shooting 45 per cent from the field, the Sabres had four players in double digits. If they can spread the scoring again, they will prove hard to beat.

Women’s:

The Lions had a nightmare first round, conceding the biggest margin across the league (64 points) and only contributing 32 points themselves. They will be desperate to improve, and hopefully move themselves to the winners list. Shooting practice would have been on the agenda at training this week, as they shot only 25 per cent from the field. They also only had one scorer reach 10 points in April Rummery Lumb and only had three assists as a team. In their path this week are the Sabres, who suffered an awfully close loss to the Tigers, eventually defeated by eight points. They didn’t play bad by any means, but their shooting let them down. Only 36 per cent accuracy as a team is a fair indicator that a win is not on the horizon. They still put up 72 points, which is more than enough to put away the Lions team that showed up last week. For the Sabres, it simply a question of if that team will show up again, or if they will put up a fight.

 

North Adelaide Rockets v Woodville Warriors

Men’s:

The Rockets stumbled in their season opener, allowing the Panthers to run away with a 21-point win, and with plenty to review. They won two of the four quarters, but the two they lost were simply too much, conceding 64 points in those two periods. If they can maintain some consistency in their performance, they could compete with the best. Verle Williams will likely attract the eye of the defence, finishing with 33 points in the season opener. If he is shut down, expect Tobias Dowdell to be an offensive focus. The Warriors simply got the job done against the Flames in Round 1, with four scorers ending the game with 13 points or more, and the result was never in doubt as they showcased an impressive display of ball movement that is sure to make an appearance against the Rockets. They finished with 26 assists overall, and if they can move the ball as well as they did against the Flames, the Rockets defence will struggle to keep up. Keep an eye out for Joe Jackson on the boards, after pulling down 20 against the Flames.

Women’s:

Eerily similar to their men’s side, the Rockets were dismantled by the Panthers, with the margin ending as a 22-point loss. If they don’t want a repeat of this, they will need to improve their ability to hold on to the ball. 23 turnovers as a team did a lot of the damage, as they constantly found themselves on the back foot. They have offensive weapons in Taylor Ortlepp and Sam Defrancesco who will be crucial in the result of the game. They take on a Warriors side who will still be hurting from a four-point loss at the hands of the Flames. There would have been a lot of focus on their ability to hold onto a lead, after a final quarter fadeout cost them the game. There is no doubt this will inspire the likes of Emily Winter and Chloe Purvis, who performed well, but will be hungry to get back on the winners list. Expect a tense battle.

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