IT is semi-final time in the Queensland State League (QSL) Men’s competition with the top three teams and fifth placed Sunshine Coast Phoenix Teal remaining in the competition for a shot at the final. Both semi-finals take place on Friday night with the grand final to be played Saturday.
RedCity Roar vs. Sunshine Coast Phoenix Teal
Friday, October 23, 6.30pm
Paul Bancroft Centre
Top of the table RedCity Roar will enter their finals campaign after a well-earned week’s rest having finished the regular season with a 10-1 record. That sole loss came in the final round against Ipswich Force, whilst Sunshine Coast Phoenix Teal upset fourth placed Southern Districts Spartans in the first week of finals to extend their finals campaign by at least another week.
In a Phoenix Teal home game at Maroochydore, RedCity Roar got up over Sunshine Coast on September 12, winning 103-84 in their encounter this season. The visitors dropped 14 triples and shot at a higher rate across the field, whilst also leading the blocks (8-2), steals (12-6) and assists (18-14). It was not all bad news for the home team who actually won the rebound count (54-49) and were particularly dominant off the offensive boards to pick up more second chance points (30-19).
Harry Froling (23 points, 18 rebounds, three assists, three steals and one block) dominated, as did his partner in crime, William McDowell-White who helped himself to a double-double of 28 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and four steals. The other prominent player on the night was Darryl McDowell-White who notched up 23 points, seven rebounds, two assists and four steals for the Roar, whilst the Phoenix Teal had a trio of big performers too. Jamaal Robateau put up 31 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals, as teammates Jonathan Janssen (16 points 14 rebounds) and Nelson Kahler (17 points, 13 rebounds) both had big nights out.
In terms of season averages, Froling is the most damaging player by far, racking up an average of 30.44 points, 16.56 rebounds and 4.56 assists, whilst the McDowell-White’s combined for 45.7 points. William McDowell-White also picks up 10 rebounds and 5.7 assists per night. Other double-figure averages for the Roar include Verle Williams III (16.78 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists) and Heath Gameren (10.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists).
For Phoenix Teal, Robateau has averaged a standout 26.08 points and remains the most deadly free-throw shooter in the competition at a 89.09 per cent clip. With 5.67 rebounds and 5.17 assists per game, he has been a steadfast contributor all season. Janssen (16.33 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists) and Kahler (15.58 points, 13.0 rebounds) both average double-doubles across 12 matches, whilst Josh Walters (8.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists) and Zane Meehl (8.18 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists) have also been prominent.
RedCity Roar are deserving favourites, particularly at home and would go into the clash hoping to follow on from their sensational season form with an impressive victory to advance through to Saturday’s decider.
Ipswich Force vs. Brisbane Capitals
Friday, October 23, 7.00pm
It seems like an eternity ago when Ipswich Force sat 1-2 and were one-point away from an 0-3 start to the QSL season. Instead, once they started going the Force never looked back, storming to eight consecutive wins and grab second spot on the table. Brisbane lost its first game of the season to the Force by that solitary point in Round 1, then strung together 10 of the next 11 games – including its quarter final win last week – to become a potent side in every regard. With more points per game and less points conceded, the Capitals are right in the contest, but the Force have just as much talent.
It has been two and a half months since the sides clashed way back in Round 1 and it went down to the wire. Meeting at the very venue they will clash at tomorrow night – JBS Arena – the Force was able to hold on by a point, 87-86. The Capitals dominated the assists (25-13), with nearly every other stat level with rebounds (47-47), steals (8-8), blocks (2-1 Brisbane) and second chance points (11-10 Ipswich) all even.
Nathan Sobey had a massive game with 33 points, seven rebounds, two assists and one steal for the Force, going toe-for-toe with opponent Cameron Goldfinch who had a big performance with 31 points, six rebounds, one assist and one steal. Perhaps the biggest performance of the lot was Capitals’ Jarred Bairstow who knocked down 23 points and a whopping 19 rebounds – six offensive – as well as six assists as the standout rebounder overall. With Sobey and Goldfinch sinking a combined 13 triples, they were on fire from long-range.
Others who stood out for the Force included Jesse Ghee (23 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two steals) and Mitchell Poulain (nine points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block). Meanwhile for the Capitals, Jason Cadee was instrumental in setting up plays with 14 points, three rebounds, eight assists, three steals and one block, whilst Anthony Kopcikas had seven points and seven rebounds in the loss.
Looking at their season averages and Sobey is the clear standout for the Force, averaging 29.82 points, 6.45 rebounds and 4.09 assists per game. He and Ghee (15.73 points, 6.09 rebounds and 3.82 assists) have played all 11 matches thus far, while Poulain (13.78 points, 7.78 rebounds) has played nine. Ryan Jeffries (9.55 points, 3.73 rebounds) and Kane Bishop (8.36 points, 7.09 rebounds) have both competed in every match, while Jason Ralph (7.38 points, 6.25 rebounds and 5.0 assists) has been consistent in eight.
Cadee is leading the charge for the Capitals, putting up 25.0 points, 5.67 rebounds and 7.0 assists this season. He has dropped 51 triples in the QSL season, just three less than Sobey though Cadee has played the extra game. Bairstow is not far behind on points with 21 per match, but he averages a massive 10 rebounds per game and almost five assists per match. Goldfinch is next with 17 points and 6.57 rebounds, while Nicholas Stoddart (12.45 points, 4.64 rebound and 3.64 assists) and Timothy Soong (9.42 points, 4.75 rebounds and 3.0 assists) have been consistent performers.
The match will come down to whether or not Sobey or Cadee can be more prominent from long-range, with the Capitals having the next best with Bairstow and Goldfinch in ripping form, while the Force have some superb depth across the court.
Picture: Brad Anderson