Tag: blake jones

NBL21 season previews: Brisbane Bullets

THE Brisbane Bullets were a cat’s whisker away from a second straight postseason back in NBL20, missing out on fourth position by just a handful of points determined on the last day of the season.

Three different sides finished with a home and away record consisting of 15 wins and 13 losses, in what was one of the tightest races to the end of the season in recent NBL history, with Melbourne United edging out the Bullets and the New Zealand Breakers. But coming so close to success, many of Brisbane’s faithful are on unstable ground determining whether their side can replicate the same benchmark of play they displayed last season to crack the finals this time in 2021.

A major talking point that came into the spotlight months ago was the release of last season’s MVP-candidate and member of the 2019-20 All-NBL First Team, Lamar Patterson, who recently committed to the Breakers. Patterson exhibited ridiculous numbers for the Bullets last season, averaging 21.4 points, six rebounds and 4.5 assists in an all-around campaign. The loss of Patterson paired with the secondary loss of star big-man and now member of the New Orleans Pelicans, Will Magnay, means Brisbane will definitely have their work cut out for them.

The club acquired imports Orlando Johnson and Vic Law during the Free Agency period, adding much needed depth to the side’s wing positions with both signings having an abundance of experience at the NBA level. These additions backing up Nathan Sobey and returning sharpshooter Jason Cadee will make Andrej Lemanis’s backcourt a formidable one to say the least.

Following the departure of Magnay, Brisbane needed to fill that void. The club found their solution down in Adelaide in the signing of 211cm tall Harry Froling who will line up next to fellow 211cm center Matthew Hodgson who is fresh off re-signing with the side for another season. The second of the two signatures from the 36ers is 28-year-old Anthony Drmic, who spent three seasons at his old team before heading north for warmer weather and a more primary role.

Listing off the rest of the Bullets’ rosters is a litany of young and promising talents. The list includes 200-plus youngsters Blake Jones, Tyrell Harrison and Callum Dalton (Development Player), with forward Tanner Krebs concluding the list of talls. Meanwhile, NBA Global Academy member of the last three years in Canberra, Tamuri Wigness, will look to make a considerable impact in his rookie professional season at just 18 years of age.

Due to the large number of new faces set to don the blue and gold in just under a week, a few individuals from last season had to leave. Excluding Patterson, the Bullets relinquished New Zealander Reuben Te Rangi and Cameron Gliddon, both of whom have joined the league’s newest side in the South East Melbourne Phoenix.

Uniquely, Brisbane’s ridiculous size across the roster will provide the Bullets with all the tools necessary to combat some of the NBL’s best offences. But, in order to translate good defence into positive results Coach Lemanis will need his offence to perform on a consistent basis in NBL21 with the season just around the corner.

Victoria dominates in AJC tournaments, SA takes home Men’s Ivor Burge title

IT was a successful weekend for Victoria as three of their four teams came out of the ACT victorious in this year’s Australian Junior Championships for Basketball. The three-teams being Victoria’s under 20 men and women, who both knocked over Queensland’s sides, while Victoria’s Ivor Burge Women’s team toppled NSW in convincing fashion. Lastly it was South Australia that took home the Ivor Burge Men’s title in an overtime classic.

U20 Men

Victoria (92) defeated Queensland (90) 

The Australian Junior Championships finally came to a head on Sunday as Queensland and Victoria squared off in what was a hectic gold medal game. Following a dominant 35-point first quarter, it already looked like the boys in navy-blue were ready to run away with the contest, leading Queensland by a sizeable 12 points. A gradual increase in scoring efficiency from the Reds saw them grind away at what was an 18-point deficit, outscoring team Vic 23-15 in the second, and then 26-20 in the third, resulting in a two-point lead at the final break for Queensland. In what was a back-and-forth final period, that saw the lead change hands nine times, it was not until the final 10 seconds that the game was decided. Former Melbourne Tigers guard in Joshua Giddey, took his chances from the three-point arch over a contesting Didan Tito, in which the ball bounced off the back of the rim straight into the lap of Giddey again, from which his second attempt from the elbow would strike true, putting the Vics up by two and win the coveted national title. Giddey played on another level throughout the entire game, as he amassed a sizeable 27 point, 10 rebound and eight assist stat line on the day. Credit still falls on the efforts of Southern Sabres big-man Kobe Williamson, who notched up a double-double, putting up 24 points and 11 rebounds, as well as a pair of blocks. For Zac Triplett, it was another shooting exhibition, as the Keilor Thunder guard rounded up 19 points, along with five three-pointers under his belt. For Queensland, the scoring load again fell onto the shoulders of Blake Jones, who piled it on with 24 points, 12 rebounds and five assists, whereas Boston Mazlin supported as best as he could with 20 points and five assists. Donovan Crowe produced 16 of his own points in addition. The win for Victoria was their third consecutive year raising the trophy, their 30th in history.

Meanwhile, in the Bronze medal game, the contest once again came down to the wire, as Taran Armstrong’s two made free-throws put Tasmania up by one point with two seconds remaining, which was followed up by a last second Biwali Bayles three-point heave that was off target for NSW, earning Tasmania a third-place finish at the tournament. Top scorers for Tassie were Armstrong who finished with 28 points and seven assists, whereas Reyne Smith compiled 22 points along with four threes from deep. As for NSW, Bayles led the charge the Blues as the Sydney Comets prospect put up a respectable 28 points, six rebounds and nine assists.

U20 Women

Victoria (69) defeated Queensland (56)

Like their male counterparts, Victoria’s U20 Women’s side pushed out ahead early against Queensland, whilst also limiting the Reds’ ability to score, leading 20-10 after 10 minutes of play. The Big V continuously and patiently extended the deficit over the next two quarters, out ahead 56-33 after three quarters of basketball. A late charge by Queensland would ensue, with the women from up north outscoring Victoria 23-13 in the final session, falling 13 points short of the now four-time defending champs, 69-56. The major factor for Victoria was the all-around performance of UCLA-commit Gemma Potter, who produced at an exemplary level, finding her stroke with 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists. By her side was Stanford-commit Agnes Emma-Nnopu, who secured a double-double on the day, like she had been doing frequently throughout the tournament putting up 10 points and 11 rebounds. Despite managing just 56 points through four quarters, Queensland’s scoring was more widespread across the team, as four of their starting five collected double digits, notably led by Neferatali Notoa who put up 16 points in her side’s loss. Furthermore, Georgia Woolley was very effective on the boards, as she attained 11 points and seven rebounds, while Catherine Macgregor produced 14 points.

Victorian head coach, Hannah Lowe, was extremely grateful to be the one at the helm of such a talented group post-game, “It’s a fantastic group – I feel really privileged to coach a group of girls who are that talented,” Lowe said. “We had a really short preparation, which makes it hard for us to put together an extensive playbook, but I think with that limited preparation, the girls did really well – they executed on the day, under pressure and all-in-all it was an excellent week.”

Following the events of the gold medal game, attention turned to Victoria A’s demolition job of NSW. Outscoring the Blues 27-eight in the first period, Victoria owned the game from there on in. With a 46-point second half, Victoria A would easily come out on top, taking out the contest 58-85. Despite Victoria A scoring 85 total points, only two players in Keeley Evans and Casey Paea reached 15 points, while Kayla Salmons was a monster on the glass finishing with a massive 16 rebounds. For NSW, Isabella Morgan’s 12 and Rebekah Dallinger’s 10 points headlined their team’s statistics.

Ivor Burge Men

South Australia (98) defeated Victoria (90)

South Australia took home this year’s Ivor Burge Championship over a courageous Victoria side in an entertaining finish to an action-packed tournament. With both sides winning two quarters each, regulation would not be enough time to separate these two sides. South Australia went on to score 20 overtime points, and held Victoria’s offence to a mere 12 points, leading them to a historic eight-point victory.  Perhaps Victoria’s biggest downfall were the number of turnovers they allowed being 31, compared to South Australia’s 19. In addition, SA moved the ball spectacularly, accumulating a mammoth 32 assists. Wayne Kinross led the way for SA, with 27 points and four assists, meanwhile Keenan Georg-Dent racked up 22 points and 17 rebounds. Averaging over 38 points per game throughout the competition, it was inevitable Jake De La Motte would put on another scoring display, this time with a ridiculous 47 points next to his name as he was later named tournament MVP and received the Ivor Burge Medal. Whereas Frazer Dawber mustered 11 rebounds in his performance. For head coach Ryan Holloway, it was a journey for his side, one that led to a style of basketball that he was proud of. “They gave it their all throughout the week,” Holloway said. “From game one our goal was to play the most respectful basketball that we could, play fairly throughout the tournament and I think these guys did that excellently.”

Ivor Burge Women

Victoria (76) defeated New South Wales (53)

Victoria’s Ivor Burge Women’s team rounded out a stellar weekend for Victoria as a state, toppling a gallant NSW side on Sunday morning. The game started with both sides shooting at an efficient rate and staying neck-and-neck through the first quarter, with Victoria holding the slight one-point edge at the first break. Victoria’s defence put its best foot forward in the second and third quarters, as they limited NSW’s scoring almost completely, only allowing 11 points from the Blues over the two-quarter span. NSW scored 20 points in the fourth quarter; however, it would be too little, too late as they went down 76-53, with Victoria dominating the end result. With three women collecting double-doubles, Victoria was dominant at both ends of the floor. Kaitlyn Zonneveld (13 points and 11 rebounds), Jessica McCulloch (13 points and 10 rebounds) and Kaitlyn Papworth (10 points and 14 rebounds) all put on impressive displays, while Montana Haag-Witherden contributed 15 points. For NSW, 22 points and five rebounds was the end product for Brittany Anderson, as Eliza Mills was good for 13 points, five assists and five rebounds..

Head coach Simon Robinson was excited to see the group rise to the occasion and bring the gold medal back to Victoria. “We’re very happy to obvious avenge last year where we felt that we didn’t play as well as we possibly could,” Robinson said. “New South Wales is a very strong team and they always test us – they tested us on Friday morning in the rounds and that was quite a close one, so it was good to control things early, get to an early lead and then consolidate and build on it. “It’s delightful to coach this group; last year they were very disappointed obviously, so to win this one it’s quite a good feeling.”

NBL1 Men’s Round 8 review: Thrillers excite fans as top sides continue winning ways

A COUPLE of one-point thrillers, including one to open the round was what National Basketball League (NBL)1 spectators were treated to in a big Round 8 of action. With 14 games played across three days, plenty of sides travelled around the southern parts of Australia, with Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (CoE) playing three games, two in Victoria and one in Tasmania. They came away with two victories from their matches, and fell one-point short in the round opener against Diamond Valley Eagles. In that game, the Eagles took a two-point lead into half-time and then extended it to seven by the final break. The CoE roared into life in the final term, scoring 35 points to 29, but fell one point short of victory to go down, 83-82. Logan Hovey scored 29 points and had eight rebounds for the Eagles, while Ben Allen was equally impressive off the boards with 15 points and eight rebounds, as well as three assists and two steals. For the CoE, Alex Ducas again topscored with 16 points, also raking in nine rebounds, three assists and three steals. Josh Bannan and Tamuri Wigness also reached double-figure points, while Josh Kunen recorded seven rebounds for the game to go with his eight points.

In the two wins, the CoE knocked off Waverley Falcons by 28 points, before making the trip south to face North West Thunder in Tasmania, and came away with the points in a narrow 66-59 win. In the win over Waverley, Kunen had a team-high 16 points as well as four rebounds and three assists, while Blake Jones helped himself to 15 points and six rebounds. Hunter Goodrick was the star off the boards with 15 rebounds – 11 defensive. For the Falcons, Deondre McWhorter was again the standout with 19 points and five rebounds, while Bennie Lewis achieved a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. In the victory over the Thunder, Goodrick had a best-on-court performance with a huge 23 points and 16 rebounds, while Will Tattersall was the other player to reach double figures, posting 12 points and four rebounds. For the home side, Paul Campbell recorded 15 points and nine rebounds, while Jordan Bowling and Joseph Chilcott both had 14 points and six rebounds.

The Thunder had also made the trip back home after a loss to Ballarat Miners on Saturday. The top-of-the-table Miners proved too good on their way to a 27-point win at home. Jerry Evans Jr continued his remarkable form this season with 26 points, 11 rebounds and three steals, while Deng Acuoth had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Marqueze Coleman picked up 18 points and four steals. For the Thunder, Bowling was the clear standout with 25 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two steals, while Chilcott was the other player to reach double figures with 12 points and four rebounds. In their second game for the round, Ballarat had no troubles dismissing Southern Sabres in a top-versus-bottom clash. The Miners raced to a 34-point lead by the final break, with both teams evenly matched in the last term with the game done and dusted. Coleman top scored with 22 points and six steals, while Evans Jr had 17 points and six rebounds. Acuoth finished with 13 points and seven rebounds for his efforts. Sam Short was the other standout player with 11 points, six rebounds, eight assists and three steals. For the Sabres, Nicholas Gabsch was by far the standout player, recording 24 points, nine rebounds and two assists in the loss.

After winning a thriller against the CoE, the Eagles were on the receiving end of a thrilling loss. They went down to Knox Raiders in a three-point defeat despite winning the second half by eight points. Hovey was the standout shooter with 25 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals, while Liam Thomas picked up a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. For the winners, Mike Rose had a team-high 23 points as well as five rebounds, while James Hunter (11 point, 10 rebounds) and Cadarian Raines (10 points, 11 rebounds) both picked up double-doubles. Knox could not back up that winning form against Melbourne Tigers at MSAC however, going down by 13 points due to a second quarter fadeout. The Tigers scored 27-19 in the term, with each other quarter only being no more than two points difference. Mike Wells had 26 points, four rebounds, two assists and three steals, while Michael Luxford (25 points, six rebounds and eight assists) and Nic Pozoglou (18 points, 11 rebounds and five assists) were also standout players on the day. For the Raiders, Rose added another 27 points to his season tally, while Damon Heuir had 25, and Raines picked up 14 points, nine rebounds and four assists in the defeat.

The two sides chasing Ballarat Miners at the top of the table, Nunawading Spectres and Geelong Supercats both recorded solid wins, with the Spectres getting up against the Bendigo Braves 89-74, while the Supercats survived in a tight game over Dandenong Rangers. Dain Swetalla (26 points, eight rebounds) and Simon Conn (20 points, 10 rebounds) again led the way for the Spectres, while Bendigo’s Ray Turner posted 26 points, 16 rebounds and four wins in the loss. The Supercats had a big effort from Lewis Thomas (21 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals), while Demarcus Gatlin (15 points, 10 rebounds) picked up another double-double and Ma’alo Hicks had 14 rebounds, four assists and two blocks in an impressive defensive effort. For the Rangers, Dexter Kernich-Drew led the way with 16 points as well as four rebounds and two assists, while Tim Laing registered a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

The other one-point thriller was Frankston Blues’ 101-100 win over Ringwood Hawks. The win catapulted the Blues into the top 10, with their fifth consecutive victory. The Blues looked in firm control with an eight-point lead at the final break, but had to survive a Hawks scare who scored 25 points to 18 in the final term, only to fall one-point short. Remarkably, the Blues only won the first term, but the convincing 32-19 quarter set them up for the game. Damon Bozeman had 28 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, while Majok Majok recorded a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. For the Hawks, Jacob Gibson recorded 32 points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals and two two blocks, while Matthew Fennell finished with 24 points and five rebounds.

In the remaining games, Albury Wodonga Bandits got up with a much-needed win, defeating the out-of-sorts Kilsyth Cobras, 89-86. Deba George had a day out with 37 points, four rebounds, six assists and three blocks, while Torren Jones denied the Cobras time and time agin, with 17 points, 18 rebounds – 16 defensive – and two blocks. For the Cobras, Peter Hooley had 22 points, four assists and three steals. Dandenong Rangers also knocked off Bendigo Braves to bounce back from their loss to Geelong the day before, with Sam Froling (21 points, seven rebounds two assists and two blocks) the standout player, while Matthiang Muo (25 points, six rebounds) was impressive for the Braves. Meanwhile Eltham Wildcats grabbed the points against Hobart Huskies in an 11-point win. Josh Sykes was the star for the Wildcats, finishing with 18 points and being a constant threat at both ends, taking home 15 rebounds – 14 of which were defensive. For the Huskies, Jalem Adams picked up a double-double too, with 23 points, 10 rebounds, seven steals and two blocks.

Round 8 results:

Diamond Valley Eagles 83 defeated Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence 82
Geelong Supercats 74 defeated Dandenong Rangers 69
Nunawading Spectres 89 defeated Bendigo Braves 74
Knox Raiders 80 defeated Diamond Valley Eagles 77
Ballarat Miners 94 defeated North West Thunder 67
Albury Wodonga Bandits 89 defeated Kilsyth Cobras 86
Waverley Falcons 67 defeated by Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence 95
North West Thunder 59 defeated by Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence 66
Ringwood Hawks 100 defeated by Frankston Blues 101
Southern Sabres 66 defeated by Ballarat Miners 100
Melbourne Tigers 98 defeated Knox Raiders 85
Dandenong Rangers 94 defeated Bendigo Braves 76
Eltham Wildcats 82 defeated Hobart Huskies 71