Tag: dain swetalla

2021 NBL1 South Men’s: Round 15

IT was a long time between drinks with the National Basketball League (NBL)1 South put on hold due to Victoria’s snap lockdown. But the competition all picked up where it left off, with teams coming out with a point to prove in Round 15 as the competition starts to heat up.

There was one battle that went right down to the wire in Round 15 as Nunawading Spectres and Geelong fought it out until the dying stages of the game. Only two points separated them at the final siren as the Spectres claimed an almighty comeback win, 85-83. It was a tale of two halves as the Supercats had the momentum in the opening half and then lost their rhythm in the second.

Geelong were firing on all cylinders in the opening term as Isaac Turner made his intentions clear opening his account with a triple. However it did not take long for the Spectres to answer the call and quickly level proceedings as it turned into somewhat of a shootout. Both sides were trading points as the lead swung back and forth before Geelong kicked things up a gear. A couple of handy substitutions gave them some fresh legs out on court as they powered home in the final five minutes of the term to blow the lead out to seven at quarter time.

The Spectres were not about to back down from the challenge as they wasted no time hitting the scoreboard in the second to eat into the deficit. A seven point differential quickly turned into a two point deficit with Jack Gandolfo proving to be the man for the job. But every time Nunawading got within striking distance the Supercats found a way to pull ahead and create some scoreboard separation heading into half time up by a handy five points.

The third quarter is where the script was completely flipped as the Spectres levelled the scores within the first minute of the term. From there on out, the Spectres monopolised the play with their increase in defence and offence enabling them to establish dominance. Everything started to fall their way as the Supercats were forced onto the back foot and struggled to find an answer for their opponents’ new found confidence. Holding a four-point lead heading into the final stanza, the Spectres were eager to ride out the game in style but Geelong had other plans getting back within two points in the early stages of the quarter. Nunawading were able to counter everything that was thrown at them, weathering the storm nicely to secure a hard-fought two-point win.

Tom Wright was a key cog for the Spectres draining 22 points at 73 per cent from the field while his accuracy from down town was also impressive as he registered three triples from four attempts. He also finished with four rebounds, six assists and one steal. Teammate Andrew Steel was also in hot form posting 16 points in his 31 minutes on court while also racking up three rebounds in the win. Simon Conn fell just short of a double-double with his 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists as Dain Swetalla quietened down after the first half but still managed 10 points and eight rebounds.

Turner was the main man for the Supercats as he topscored with 22 points at 57 per cent from the field. He also collected one rebound, four assists and a steal in the narrow loss. Owen Odigie was the next best with his 14 points at 80 per cent from the field while also reeling in six rebounds as teammate Jack Macdonald got busy with his 11 points, two rebounds and two assists. Shea Ili managed a handy 10 points in his 34 minutes on court while also finishing with three rebounds, four assists and two steals. George Blagojevic found his rhythm sinking 10 points and nine rebounds in a solid performance.

The second placed Frankston Blues asserted themselves against Sandringham Sabres in a convincing performance while Knox Raiders blew the Melbourne Tigers out of the water with a romping 49-point win. The Miners got over the top of the Wildcats while in the battle of the birds it was the Diamond Valley Eagles that reigned supreme against the Ringwood Hawks, as Kilsyth Cobras toppled the Rangers while Bendigo Braves handed Ballarat their second loss for the season.

Round 15 results:

Geelong Supercats (90) defeated Bendigo Braves (80)
Knox Raiders (124) defeated Melbourne Tigers (75)
Ballarat Miners (86) defeated Eltham Wildcats (76)
Ringwood Hawks (88) defeated by Diamond Valley Eagles (97)
Kilsyth Cobras (83) defeated Dandenong Rangers (71)
Bendigo Braves (84) defeated Ballarat Miners (71)
Waverley Falcons (89) defeated Ringwood Hawks (82)
Sandringham Sabres (73) defeated Frankston Blues (91)
Nunawading Spectres (85) defeated Geelong Supercats (83)

Photo credit: Ian Knight Photography

2021 NBL1 South Men’s wrap: Round 10

WAVERLEY Falcons leapfrogged Nunawading Spectres following the Falcons’ on the road win against the Spectres as Round 10 of the National Basketball League (NBL)1 men’s division was completed. It was one of two wins the Falcons picked up over the weekend, also accounting for the Eltham Wildcats by 14 points in their other contest.

Heading into the match with a 5-3 record, the Falcons started well to lead by two points at quarter time and three points at half-time. The Spectres clawed back to reduce the deficit back to just two at the final break, but a barn-storming last quarter resulted in the visitors piling on 30 points to 23 and running away with an 88-79 victory.

Daniel Dillon put up 24 points in 30 minutes, as well as had six assists and five rebounds in an impressive effort for the Falcons. Partner-in-crime Dexter Kernich-Drew managed the 21 points – including three of five from long-range – with three assists and two rebounds. Elijah Tillman (16 points, six rebounds), Tristan De Zwart Forsyth (10 points, six rebounds and two assists) and Bennie Lewis (10 points, four rebounds, two assists and two blocks) also reached double-figure points.

The Spectres had four players in double-figure points range, lead by the ever-reliable Dain Swetalla who picked up a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds on the night. Jack Gandolfo (15 points, four rebounds and three assists), Simon Conn (14 points, three rebounds) and Peter Hooley (12 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals) were also among the top scorers.

In the Falcons’ Sunday afternoon win over the Wildcats, Waverley started well again to lead by six points at quarter time, but a disappointing second term had them down by a point at the half. They regained composure after half-time, piling on 56 points to 41 to run out 14-point victors, 108-94 at Waverley Basketball Stadium.

Kernich-Drew had a whopping 38 points – including serving up eight of 10 three-pointers – six rebounds and five assists in the win. De Zwart Forsyth (20 points, eight rebounds), Dillon (11 points, six rebounds and five assists) and Lewis (11 points, six rebounds and four assists) all picked up double-figure points for the second time on the weekend. Adam Doyle (20 points, five assists and three rebounds) and Justin Aver (20 points, four assists) were the top scorers for the Wildcats, whilst Ben Waldren managed the 18 points and two rebounds.

In other results, Bendigo Braves had a forgettable trip down south, losing to both the Hobart Chargers (118-95) and North West Tasmania Thunder (82-70). The results moved the Braves to 5-5 for the season after starting so promisingly, whilst both Tasmanian sides sit inside the top four at first and fourth. Second placed Frankston Blues and third placed Geelong Supercats also record comfortable wins on the weekend, with border restrictions keeping fifth placed Mt Gambier Pioneers from competing.

In the battle of the lower sides, Albury-Wodonga Bandits grabbed their second and third wins of the season to move up the table to clearly above the bottom four, having accounted for fellow battlers, Eltham Wildcats (eight points) and Sandringham Sabres (six). Ballarat Miners kept the Bandits at arms-length with a 15-point win over last placed Melbourne Tigers, whilst in the other result, Knox Raiders edged close to the mid-table logjam with a third win, this time coming against Ringwood Hawks by 23 points.

ROUND 10 RESULTS:

Hobart Chargers (118) def. Bendigo Braves (95)
Geelong Supercats (101) def. Sandringham Sabres (76)
North West Tasmania (82) def. Bendigo Braves (70)
Frankston Blues (111) def. Diamond Valley Eagles (93)
Knox Raiders (103) def. Ringwood Hawks (80)
Nunawading Spectres (79) def. by Waverley Falcons (88)
Eltham Wildcats (85) def. by Albury-Wodonga Bandits (93)
Ballarat Miners (50) def. by Kilsyth Cobras (61)
Diamond Valley Eagles (78) def. by Geelong Supercats (116)
Waverley Falcons (108) def. Eltham Wildcats (94)
Sandringham Sabres (83) def. by Albury-Wodonga Bandits (89)
Melbourne Tigers (77) def. by Ballarat Miners (92)

 

Picture credit: Ian Knight Photography

NBL1 South men’s wrap: Round 5

NO National Basketball League (NBL)1 South men’s team remains winless after both Albury-Wodonga Bandits and Dandenong Rangers secured wins this round to even up the ladder following Round 5 of action.

Hobart Chargers (107) def. Diamond Valley Eagles (97)

A dominant first quarter set up Hobart Chargers for a memorable 10-point win over Diamond Valley Eagles on Friday night. The Chargers piled on 40-22 in the opening term, and whilst it was fairly even after that – and the Eagles made up nine points in the second half – it was the first stanza that did all the damage as Hobart won 107-97. Jonathan Mines lead the way with 32 points – including seven of 14 from three-point range – two rebounds and two assists. Jack Stanwix (19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists), Zachary White (16 points, six rebounds) and Koen Sapwell (11 points, six assists and three rebounds) were other productive scorers in the victory. Robert Heath top-scored for the Eagles with 21 points, as well as seven rebounds and three steals, while Blacio Owili (13 points, seven rebounds and two assists) and Joel Capetola (12 points, six rebounds and four assists) were also busy.

Geelong Supercats (90) def. Melbourne Tigers (66)

Geelong Supercats have claimed a comfortable 24-point victory over Melbourne Tigers, dominating the opening three quarters to build that unassailable lead. Whilst the second term was relatively close, the Supercats won the first and third terms by eight and 13 points respectively which all but confirmed the 90-66 win. Gabriel Hadley (23 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals) top-scored for the Supercats, while Jack Macdonald (21 points, six rebounds and six assists) and Owen Odigie (13 points, six rebounds and three assists) also reached double-figure points. Felix von Hofe (18 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals) was the top points scorer for the Tigers, while Anthony Karabatsos (11 points, five rebounds) and Keenan Willie (10 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals).

North West Tasmania (100) def. Diamond Valley Eagles (78)

Doubling down on Diamond Valley’s pain on the Apple Isle, North West Tasmania Thunder came to play with a fairly impressive 22-point win at home. The Thunder raced out to a seven-point quarter time lead, and whilst the Eagles cut that back by two, the home team dominated the second half with a 49-29 effort to run out 100-78 victors. Taran Armstrong (19 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals) was lively, as was Joseph Chilcott (17 points, six rebounds), Paul Campbell (16 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks) and Bradley Simpson (16 points, six rebounds and four assists). For the Eagles, Heath again top-scored with 16 points in defeat, and also collected three rebounds. BJ Symons (13 points, three rebounds and three steals) and Owili (10 points, five rebounds and two steals) were also strong contributors in the loss.

Bendigo Braves (92) def. Eltham Wildcats (78)

Bendigo Braves’ ripping start to the season continued with an impressive 14-point victory over Eltham Wildcats at home. The Braves lead by a point at quarter time and half-time, and extended that to five by the final break, before blowing their opponents away with a 28-19 fourth quarter to win, 92-78. Ray Turner recorded a double-double of 25 points and 10 rebounds, whilst Nelson Larkins (16 points, seven rebounds and four assists) and Chris Hogan (11 points, three rebounds and three assists) were also productive in the Braves’ win. Adam Doyle knocked down 32 points – five of 11 from long-range – as well as two rebounds and two steals to lead the way for the Wildcats, while Ovie Magbegor (eight points, 13 rebounds and three assists) and Sam Whelan (eight points, four rebounds) contributed well.

Dandenong Rangers (96) def. by Frankston Blues (104)

After trailing most of the game, Frankston Blues stepped up in the final quarter to blow away Dandenong Rangers by eight points, 104-96. The Rangers raced out to a five-point quarter time lead, and were up by eight points at the last change, before Frankston stormed home with 40 points to 24 and win in a tight one. Dillon Stith was huge with 32 points, nine rebounds and four blocks, while Lachlan Barker (25 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals), Alister MacDonald (17 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals) and Lucas Barker (13 points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals) all had big numbers for the Blues. Oliver Hayes-Brown (31 points, 16 rebounds) was a massive influence across the court for the Rangers, while Sean Macdonald (25 points, six assists and four rebounds) and Declan Soukup (15 points) also impressed.

Kilsyth Cobras (72) def. Nunawading Spectres (61)

Kilsyth Cobras’ strong start to the season continued with a low-scoring victory over Nunawading Spectres at home on Saturday night. The Cobras won the first three quarters, with the second and third terms being the most damaging to lead by 12 points at the final break, before the Spectres reduced the final margin to 11 in the 72-61 loss. Ben Ursich (17 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals), Deng Riak (15 points, 14 rebounds) and Corey Jeffs (13 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals) all contributed to the win in their own way across the court. Dain Swetalla had 22 points, nine rebounds and two assists for the reigning premiers, whilst Andrew Steel (20 points, four rebounds) and Costa Hronopoulos (nine points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals) were the next best Spectres in the loss.

Albury-Wodonga Bandits (94) def. Waverley Falcons (82)

After a trying start to the year, Albury-Wodonga Bandits finally broke through for their first win of the season, downing the Waverley Falcons by 12 points on the border. The Bandits raced out to an eight-point quarter time lead and 11-point advantage at half-time. As has been the case in various matches this year, the opposition hit back in the second half to cut the deficit to seven points at the last change, but this time the Bandits stepped it up to hold on, win the final quarter in emphatic style 30-25, and record the 94-82 victory. Mitchell Dance (28 points, 10 rebounds) picked up a double-double, while Sharif Watson (24 points, nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks) and John Crnogorac (14 points, nine rebounds) almost did the same in the win. Bennie Lewis was everywhere for the Falcons on the scoring front, dropping 32 points – six of 11 from three-point range – four rebounds and three assists. The other two double-digit scorers were Dexter Kernich-Drew (16 points, nine rebounds) and Durrell Mcdonald (12 points, three assists, two rebounds and two steals).

Ringwood Hawks (87) def. Ballarat Miners (85)

Ringwood Hawks picked up their third win of the season in a nail-biter over Ballarat Miners, as a later triple from Jack Barry handed the Hawks the 87-85 victory. The home team trailed by two points at the first break and four points at the final break, but a 25-19 last quarter resulted in Ringwood coming over the top and snatching the win at home. CJ Asuncion-Byrd top-scored with 23 points and six rebounds, while Matthew Fennell (17 points, 11 rebounds and three assists) picked up a double-double, and Ricardo Martin (14 points, seven rebounds and three assists) was also lively for the Hawks. Jock Perry racked up 25 points and seven rebounds in defeat for the Miners, teaming up well with William Hickey (22 points, seven rebounds and four assists), while Deng Acuoth (14 points, seven rebounds and five blocks) was also lively.

Mt Gambier Pioneers (118) def. Knox Raiders (93)

In another monstrous performance, Mt Gambier Pioneers picked up their fifth win of the season with a 25-point victory over Knox Raiders. The pioneers showed no mercy in the opening term, bolting to a 15-point quarter time lead. The game was closer after that, but the South Australian side extended the lead to 21 points and 26 points by half-time and the final break, before Knox won the last term to reduce it to a final score of 118-93. Nick Marshall (21 points, eight rebounds and three assists) top scored for the Pioneers as a whopping seven players hit double-digit points. Three others reached double-double milestones in Tom Kubank (19 points, 11 rebounds and four assists), Thomas Daly (17 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists) and Kane de Wit (14 points, 10 assists and four rebounds). The Raiders also had plenty of high scorers with six players hitting double-digit points, lead by Jack Roberts (18 points, four rebounds and three steals), Dylan Hare (17 points, five rebounds and four steals) and Abraham Nyok (12 points, seven rebounds and three assists).

Eltham Wildcats (105) def. Sandringham Sabres (91)

Compiling another loss for the Sandringham Sabres, Eltham Wildcats ran over the top of their opponents with an impressive second half to post a 14-point win. The Wildcats trailed by seven points at half-time then added 58 points to 37 after the main break to run away with the contest, 105-91. Simon Bradbury (22 points, 14 rebounds) and Justin Aver (20 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and three steals) were huge in picking up double-doubles, whilst Whelan was a long-range shooting machine, knocking down eight of 15 from long-range to finish with 33 points. For the Sabres, Nicholas Gabsch top-scored with 28 points and eight rebounds, while James McKinnon (16 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals) and Kuany Kuany (15 points, nine rebounds and five assists) were also productive getting into double-digit points in the match.

Frankston Blues (111) def. Bendigo Braves (82)

Frankston Blues made it back-to-back wins over the weekend, returning home to Frankston Basketball Stadium to put away Bendigo Braves by 29 points. The Blues raced out to a 10-point lead at quarter time, and 19 points by half-time, and when the teams headed for the final break, it was 28 points the difference. The final term was a lot tighter, but the damage was done, and the home team won 111-82. Lucas Barker came agonisingly close to a triple-double with 17 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, while Stith (22 points, four rebounds, four assists and four blocks), Lachlan Baker (22 points, five rebounds and two assists) and MacDonald (16 points, six assists, two steals and two rebounds) were again lively. Turner put on another double-double show of 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Jake Lloyd (16 points, eight assists and six rebounds), Brennan Rymer (16 points, five rebounds and three assists) and Matthew Andronicos (14 points, five rebounds) were also steadfast in defeat.

Melbourne Tigers (85) def. by Dandenong Rangers (93)

Dandenong Rangers bounced back from a loss the day before to Frankston in order to post an eight-point win over Melbourne Tigers, their first victory of the season. The Tigers lead by five points at quarter time, but the Rangers quickly turned that around to storm to a five-point half-time lead themselves thanks to a 24-14 third term. The visitors maintained the rage in the third quarter thanks to a 28-19 term, before Melbourne cut the deficit back by winning the last stanza, but it would not be enough as the Rangers won, 93-85. Hayes-Brown top-scored again with a massive double-double of 23 points and 16 rebounds, while Macdonald (13 points, six assists and two rebounds) and Riley Simmons (17 points, eight rebounds) were also productive for the Rangers. Melbourne had an even spread of scorers lead by Dogukan Elyazar (16 points, three rebounds), Karabatsos (15 points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals) and Willie (14 points, seven rebounds five assists and two steals) among five double-digit scorers in defeat.

Picture credit: NBL1

2021 NBL1 South men’s wrap: Round 4

THE National Basketball League (NBL)1 South men’s ladder is fairly tight between the top sides, middle teams and league battlers as back-to-back wins for a number of teams saw plenty of sides change places following Round 4 of competition.

Hobart Chargers (74) def. Eltham Wildcats (72)

Hobart Chargers were able to give their home fans something to cheer about, downing the Eltham Wildcats in a thriller by two points. Leading by 11 points at quarter time, the Chargers actually lost the next three quarters by one, four and four points, but that only equated to nine, and the home team got up, 74-72. Jonathan Mines (21 points, four rebounds) led the way, with Koen Sapwell (15 points, 10 rebounds) picking up a double-double, and Zachary White (10 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks) also prominent for the winners. Adam Doyle stood out for the Wildcats, scoring 19 points, eight rebounds and two assists, whilst Justin Aver (14 points, five rebounds and two steals), Ovie Magbegor (11 points, 12 rebounds) and Simon Bradbury (10 points, 13 rebounds) all stood out despite the narrow loss.

Sandringham Sabres (86) def. by Diamond Valley Eagles (98)

Diamond Valley Eagles handed Sandringham Sabres their fourth straight loss, winning by 12 points thanks to a strong effort after quarter time. The visitors trailed by two points at the Southern Basketball Stadium at quarter time, but then won each of the final three terms by four, six and four points to get up, 98-86. Blake Owili lead the way with 29 points and 10 rebounds, while Ngor Manyang (19 points, three rebounds and two steals), Darcy Harding (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Ryan Bowkett (11 points, four rebounds) were all double-digit scorers. For the Sabres, Nicholas Gabsch (22 points, six rebounds and three steals) impressed, as did Kuany Kuany (19 points, nine rebounds and two steals) and Tom O’Brien (14 points, two assists and two steals).

Geelong Supercats (66) def. Nunawading Spectres (65)

Geelong Supercats have won a thriller over Nunwading Spectres, getting up by one point at home despite a late charge from the visitors. The Spectres led by a point at quarter time, then the Supercats were up by a point at half-time and then five points at the final break, before the Spectres hit back to draw within a point at the final buzzer. He only made one of two free throws with six seconds left, but it was enough for Owen Odigie to help his team to victory by that margin, 66-65. Isaac Turner (18 points, three assists and two rebounds), Jack Macdonald (16 points, three rebounds and three assists) and Mawut Macar Deng (13 points) all had scoring impacts in the match. For the Spectres, Dain Swetalla picked up a massive double-double of 15 points and 16 rebounds, while Daniel Baxter (11 points, five rebounds and four assists) and Simon Conn (seven points – only three of 12 from the field – six rebounds and three assists) both worked hard through the contest.

Ballarat Miners (77) def. by Frankston Blues (89)

In the battle of the 2-2 sides, Frankston Blues held their nerve to win 89-77 in a come-from-behind victory over Ballarat Miners. Having to do it on the road, the Blues fell three points behind in the first term, but won the final three quarters by 15 points to win by 12 in a strong performance. Lachlan Barker (34 points, five rebounds) and Dylan Stith (33 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and two blocks) were unbelievable in the win, whilst Lucas Baker chipped in with 11 points, seven assists six rebounds and two steals. Jock Perry top-scored for the Miners with 17 points, 11 rebounds and three assists, while Deng Acuoth (15 points, eight rebounds, five blocks and two assists) and William Hickey (15 points, five rebounds) were other prominent scorers in a losing side.

Bendigo Braves (100) def. Melbourne Tigers (62)

Two sides with opposite formlines coming in, Bendigo Braves showed why they are a contender for the NBL1 South men’s title, easily accounting for Melbourne Tigers by 38 points. The Braves won every quarter by between four and 11 points to secure the 100-62 win. Ray Turner notched up yet another double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Nelson Larkins (10 points, seven assists and six rebounds), Brennan Rymer (10 points, eight rebounds and seven assists) and Jake Lloyd (12 points, five rebounds) were all prominent players in multiple facets. Dogukan Elyazar (12 points) and Keenan Willie (10 points eight rebounds and two steals) were the only two players to reach double figures as Felix van Hofe had an off shooting night, hitting just three of 15 from the field on his way to nine points, six rebounds and two assists.

Dandenong Rangers (91) def. by Mt Gambier Pioneers (97)

Mt Gambier Pioneers kept themselves level with the top sides thanks to a hard-fought six-point win over Dandenong Rangers. The Pioneers trailed by three points at quarter time and six points at the main break, but stepped up in the second half to win it 50-35 and secure the six-point win themselves, 97-91. Duom Dawam (27 points, nine rebounds and four assists) top-scored, followed by Titus Robinson (21 points, eight rebounds and four blocks) and Nick Marshall (19 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals) in an even team performance for the Pioneers. The home side had a number of strong contributors as well, with Sean Macdonald stepping up with 24 points, four rebounds and three assists, while Oliver Hayes-Brown (17 points, 13 rebounds and five assists) picked up a double-double, as did Lawson Eales (15 points, 10 rebounds).

North West Tasmania (87) def. Eltham Wildcats (69)

North West Tasmania dealt Eltham Wildcats a second loss in Round 4, defeating the visitors by 18 points at Elphin Sports Stadium. The Wildcats started strongly to lead by four points at quarter time, and three at the main break, but were blown away in the second half, as the Thunder piled on 50 points to 29 to run away with the 87-69 win and collect their fourth victory of the season while handing the Wildcats their fourth loss of 2021. Mason Bragg picked up a double-double of 15 points, 12 assists four rebounds and two steals, while Joseph Chilcott (18 points, three rebounds), Joel Beveridge (11 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals) and Paul Campbell (10 points, five rebounds and two assists) were also busy. For the Wildcats, Doyle was again a star, knocking down 26 points – including five of nine from three-point range – as well as five rebounds, five assists and two steals. Aver (12 points, four rebounds) and Sam Whelan (11 points, three assists and two rebounds) were also busy for the losers.

Albury-Wodonga Bandits (69) def. by Kilsyth Cobras (98)

Kilsyth Cobras have handed Albury-Wodonga Bandits their fifth straight loss, winning all four quarters on the way to a 29-point victory. The Cobras only led by a point at quarter time and four points at half-time, but each quarter created more separation, and in the end, the visitors won the second half 56-31 for a 98-69 win. Adrian Tomada (22 points, two assists) was the top scorer for the Cobras, but he had plenty of support from the likes of Ben Ursich (18 points, three rebounds), Corey Jeffs (15 points, four rebounds and four assists) and Deng Riak (12 points, seven rebounds and two steals). Mitchell Dance hit 18 points and had six rebounds and four assists for the Bandits, while John Crnogorac picked up a double-double of 14 points, 10 rebounds and two assists, and Jacob Cincurak had 12 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Ringwood Hawks (92) def. Knox Raiders (73)

Leapfrogging their opponents by getting the win, Ringwood Hawks secured a 19-point win in front of home fans against Knox Raiders. The Hawks won the first half by 15 points, and while the Raiders cut the deficit to eight at the final break, the home team broke away again with a 25-14 quarter to run out 92-73 winners and grab their second win of the season. CJ Asuncion-Byrd (20 points, two rebounds and two steals) top-scored for the Hawks, Ricardo Martin (16 points, two rebounds) was also prominent, while Matthew Fennell (15 points, 10 rebounds and two assists) and Matthew Snow (13 points, 10 assists and five rebounds) both picked up double-doubles. Simon Grant (18 points, four rebounds and three assists) was busy for the Raiders, while Jack Roberts (13 points, three rebounds and two assists) and Abraham Nyok (11 points, seven rebounds) were also prominent in defeat.

Waverley Falcons (99) def. Geelong Supercats (95)

After winning a thriller the day before, Geelong Supercats were on the end of a heartbreaking loss, going down to Waverley Falcons by four points in overtime. The Supercats led by five points at the main break, but the Falcons caught them by the final buzzer, then won the overtime 14-10 after a late Jake Heath triple, and a Turner turnover proved costly for the Supercats in the 99-95 Falcons’ win. Durrell McDonald was impressive with 28 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Heath (22 points, five rebounds and four assists), Tristan De Zwart Forsyth (19 points, eight rebounds and two assists) and Michael Harper (13 points, six rebounds) had strong scoring efforts. Turner finished with a match-high 29 points, as well as two assists and two rebounds, while Gabriel Hadley (19 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals), Odigie (18 points, 13 rebounds and five assists) and Macdonald (15 points, four rebounds and two assists) were also prominent.

Nunawading Spectres (92) def. Dandenong Rangers (81)

Nunawading Spectres handed Dandenong Rangers their fifth consecutive loss, winning the first three quarters to go up by 18 points at the final break, before a spirited consolation effort in the last term by the Rangers cut the final deficit to 11 points. Swetalla was the standout with a double-double in the 92-81 victory, racking up 27 points, 10 rebounds and three steals, while Luke Van Rijn (15 points, two rebounds), Jack Gandolfo (14 points, two rebounds and two assists) and Peter Hooley (10 points, seven rebounds and four assists) were all busy. Macdonald hit 27 points for the losers with four rebounds and two steals, while Hayes-Brown managed a point better and a double-double with 28 points and 13 rebounds in the match to be the only two majors scorers for the Rangers.

Melbourne Tigers (95) def. by Mt Gambier Pioneers (123)

Winning their second game on the road this weekend and handing their opponents their second loss, Mt Gambier Pioneers proved too strong for Melbourne Tigers in a high-scoring 28-point victory. The Pioneers piled on 123 points – scoring more then 30 points in three of the quarters – to win 123-95, only reduced back to the 28-point final margin thanks to a 30-18 last quarter in favour of the Tigers. Marshall was running hot with 32 points – five of 10 from long-range – as well as five assists three rebounds and two steals, while Dawam had 20 points and 11 rebounds in a double-double effort. Tom Kubank (20 points, five rebounds) was lively, while Kyle Tipene finished with 17 points and four assists on the day. For the Tigers, Lachlan Anthony top-scored with 17 points, while Willie (14 points, nine rebounds and five assists) and von Hofe (15 points, six rebounds and two assists) were impressive despite the defeat.

Picture credit: Rachel Louise / Ian Knight Photography

2021 NBL1 South Men’s wrap: Round 3

BENDIGO Braves had a couple of sterling wins in Round 3 of the National Basketball League (NBL)1 South Men’s competition, whilst Geelong Supercats held off Waverley Falcons in a thriller to be the only undefeated team remaining in the competition.

Geelong Supercats (81) def. Waverley Falcons (79)

Geelong Supercats have held on in a thrilling contest against Waverley Falcons, coming from four points down at quarter time to post an 81-79 win. The Supercats quickly hit back in the second quarter to cut the half-time deficit to just one point, before extending it out to two at the last change. The Falcons hit back in the final term to balance the ledger, but could not get in front when it counted. Isaac Turner (16 points, six rebounds and two steals) and Gabriel Hadley (17 points, four rebounds and two assists) both turned it on for the Supercats, while Jack Macdonald (13 points, four assists and three rebounds) and Owen Odigie (12 points, seven rebounds) were also impressive. For the Falcons, Durrell McDonald (18 points, seven rebounds and three steals) and Bennie Lewis (15 points, nine rebounds, six assists and two steals) were the pick of the bunch, while Tristan De Zwart Forsyth (15 points, five rebounds) and Jake Heath (14 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals) were also strong in the match.

Frankston Blues (78) def. by North West Tasmania (86)

Grabbing a win on the road, North West Tasmania Thunder did enough against Frankston Blues in the middle two quarters to cause an upset at the Frankston Basketball Stadium on Saturday night. With the first and fourth terms all-square in terms of points, the Thunder won the second and third terms by a combined eight points to secure the 86-78 victory. Joseph Chilcott (19 points, four rebounds and two steals) led the point-scorers, while Mason Bragg (13 points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals), Joel Beveridge (12 points, six assists and two rebounds) and Paul Campbell (11 points, seven rebounds and two blocks) were among the better players on the night. Veteran David Andersen stood up for the Blues, putting up 15 points, nine rebounds and two assists, as Lucas Barker impressed with 10 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Dillon Stith picked up a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Lachlan Baker (18 points, seven rebounds) equal top-scored for the losers.

Knox Raiders (78) def. Albury-Wodonga Bandits (73)

A topsy-turvy match between Knox Raiders and Albury-Wodonga Bandits saw the Raiders string back-to-back wins, whilst handing the visitors their third straight loss to start the season. The Bandits raced away to a seven-point lead at quarter time, but that was reversed in the second half with the teams all square again. As if there was a breeze in the State Basketball Centre, the Bandits again stormed to a commanding eight-point lead at three quarter time, before the Raiders piled on 27-14 in the final quarter for a 78-73 win. Ben Ayre led the scoring with 20 points, five rebounds, six assists and two steals, while Simon Grant (10 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals) and Dylan Hare (12 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals) both picked up double-doubles. It was predominantly a two-man show for the visitors as Mitchell Dance and John Crnogorac combined for 43 points and 12 rebounds, while Sharif Watson came close to a double-double of nine points, 10 rebounds and three steals.

Ballarat Miners (80) def. by Bendigo Braves (85)

Bendigo Braves needed the full four quarters and then some overtime to finally grab a win over Ballarat Miners despite a one-sided second term. The Braves raced out to a 23-point lead at half-time of their road trip, scoring 30-8 in the second term to seemingly be in complete control. The second half saw a change in fortunes however, as the Miners piled on 46 points to 23 to level the scores, 69-69 at the final buzzer. Despite all the momentum being with the Miners, the Braves found a way, putting up 16 points to 11 in the first overtime period to come away with the 85-80 win. Ray Turner had a night out with 27 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and two blocks, teaming up well with Nelson Larkins (23 points, five rebounds and three assists) on the scoring front. Brennan Rymer (10 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals) and Javaan Mumtaz (13 points, three rebounds and three assists) were the other prevalent scorers. For the Miners, William Hickey knocked down 27 points and 13 rebounds, with Matt Kenyon (17 points, 12 rebounds) also picking up a double-double. Sam Short (16 points, six assists and five rebounds) and Deng Acuoth (10 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks) were also strong in the loss.

Diamond Valley Eagles (97) def. Melbourne Tigers (73)

Bouncing back from their first loss of the season in Round 2, the Diamond Valley Eagles moved to 3-1 in the season with a comfortable 24-point victory over Melbourne Tigers. The Eagles dominated the first half to race out to a 19-point half-time lead, before the Tigers cut the difference to 13 at the final change. Reassessing at the break, the Eagles stepped up again and stormed to the win with a 29-18 last term for the 97-73 triumph. Blacio Owili had 23 points and eight rebounds, with Ngor Manyang (13 points, nine rebounds and two assists), Ben Allen (12 points, six rebounds) and Joel Capetola (six points, nine assists, five rebounds and two steals) among the other key contributors. Anthony Karabatsos (18 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals) tried his best for the Tigers, with Felix von Hofe (17 points, two rebounds) again solid on the scoring front, and Keenan Willie (15 points, seven rebounds and two assists) among the better players on the losing side.

Eltham Wildcats (74) def. Nunawading Spectres (69)

In a quirk of events, Eltham Wildcats grabbed their first win, whilst simultaneously handing Nunawading Spectres their first loss at Eltham High School on Saturday night. The Spectres led by a point at quarter time, with the Wildcats to go up by two at the main break. The Spectres took control in the third term to race to a seven-point advantage at the final break and seemingly on their way to another win. The home side had other ideas though, crashing through in the final term with a 23-11 quarter to secure the victory, 74-69. Adam Doyle led the way with 26 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Justin Aver (16 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals) was also prominent. Ovie Magbegor and Simon Bradbury both only scored the four points each, but combined for 21 rebounds in the process. For Nunawading, Peter Hooley (13 points, four rebounds and three assists) and Dain Swetalla (12 points, five rebounds and two assists) both stood up despite inaccurate shooting nights, while Simon Conn was huge off the boards for eight points and 14 rebounds,.

Kilsyth Cobras (86) def. Hobart Chargers (76)

Kilsyth Cobras bounced back from a Round 2 loss to post a double-figure win over Hobart Chargers. In a momentum-swinging game, the Cobras led by six points at quarter time, trailed by one at half-time and then dominated the third term to race out to a 11-point lead at the final break, before eventually getting up by 10 points, 86-76. Ben Ursich (22 points, two assists) and Corey Jeffs (21 points, 12 rebounds and two steals) were the key scorers for the Cobras, while Adrian Tomada (14 points, 11 assists, five rebounds and two steals) also picked up a double-double, and Deng Riak (nine points, 11 rebounds) was not too far off one as well. Elijah Pawson (20 points, four rebounds) was a dominant scorer, as Jacob Richards (13 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals) picked up a double-double, and Jonathan Mines (13 points, five rebounds) and Jack Stanwix (12 points, eight assists and three rebounds) were also busy in the loss.

Mt Gambier Pioneers (97) def. Ringwood Hawks (93)

Grabbing their first win in South Australia this year, Mt Gambier Pioneers won a nail-biter over Ringwood Hawks on Saturday night. The Pioneers led by eight points at half-time, and while the Hawks managed to claw back to the deficit to four by the final buzzer, it would not be enough, going down 97-93 at The Ice House. Erik Burdon (22 points, two steals) led the way from a scoring perspective, as Duom Dawam (15 points, 13 rebounds) and Nick Marshall (16 points, nine rebounds and three assists) both impacted off the boards, and Thomas Daly (16 points, three rebounds and three assists) also had a say in proceedings. Ringwood’s Jack Barry (32 points, three rebounds and two steals) and Matthew Fennell (28 points) both scored big, whilst Adrien Sturt was enormous with 12 points, 16 rebounds and six assists, and Trevor Latham had eight points and 12 rebounds.

Bendigo Braves (91) def. Dandenong Rangers (89)

Bendigo Braves have won a two-point thriller over Dandenong Rangers to make it a great weekend for the Braves. Back at home after the overtime thriller against the Miners, the Braves put together a more consistent four-quarter effort to claim the victory, 91-89. A Turner basket with four seconds remaining on the clock secured the victory. Turner was unstoppable with 33 points, 14 rebounds, two steals and two blocks, while Rymer (16 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals), Mumtaz (14 points, three assists and two rebounds) and Jacob Foy (11 points, four rebounds and two assists) were all busy. For the Rangers, Sean MacDonald stepped up for 22 points, three assists and two steals, while Oliver Hayes-Brown had a double-double of 14 points, 12 rebounds and four steals. Declan Soukup (15 points, five rebounds and five assists) was also impressive despite the narrow loss.

Waverley Falcons (76) def. Albury-Wodonga Bandits (64)

Another game, another Albury-Wodonga Bandits loss, with the visitors sinking to a fourth straight defeat at the hands of Waverley Falcons who bounced back from that heartbreaking defeat at the hands of Geelong Supercats to open the round, to defeat the Bandits by eight points. The visitors took control in the first half as the Bandits secured a six-point half-time lead, but it was all the home side in the second half, getting to within two points at the final break, before storming away to a 22-6 final term and winning 76-64. De Zwart Forsyth picked up a double-double of 18 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks, while McDonald (14 points, four rebounds and three steals), Dylan Larkin (12 points, four rebounds, three assists and four steals) and Michael Harper (16 points, two rebounds) were also strong. For the Bandits, Dance was one of the standout players on the court, knocking down 18 points – albeit at just 30.4 per cent from the field – as well as 14 rebounds, while Watson helped himself to a double-double of 13 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Sandringham Sabres (61) def. by North West Tasmania (76)

North West Tasmania made it a memorable trip across the Tasman, as the Thunder went back-to-back knocking over Sandringham Sabres to secure their second win of Round 3. The Thunder did all the damage in the first term to lead by 13 points at the first break, and whilst the Sabres fought hard after that, a 19-13 third quarter extended the lead even further for the visitors to eventually win, 76-61. Bradley Simpson top-scored with 19 points and four rebounds, while Kyle Clark (13 points, seven rebounds), Bragg (nine points, seven assists, four rebounds and two steals) and Chilcott (six points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals) were all prolific in the victory. Nicholas Gabsch had 11 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals for the Sabres, but once again the shooting load was left to Kuany Kuany who produced 21 points – seven of 11 from the field – 10 rebounds and three assists.

Melbourne Tigers (85) def. by Hobart Chargers (108)

Rebounding from their loss the day before, Hobart Chargers took control to win in a four-quarter effort over Melbourne Tigers. The Chargers won every quarter, and scored at least 25 points in each term, securing the 108-85 victory in style. Six players notched up double-figure points, led by Mines (22 points, six rebounds and four assists), while Zachary White (18 points, seven rebounds and two assists), Matthew Young (15 points, six rebounds and two assists), Richards (14 points, six rebounds and two assists) and Stanwix (14 points, four rebounds and four assists) all contributed to the cause. For the Tigers, Willie had the 24 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks in a double-double effort, while von Hofe (18 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals) was everywhere, and Karabatsos (eight points, seven assists and six rebounds) did everything he could across the court.

Picture credit: Ian Wilson Photography

2021 NBL1 South preview: Round 2

ROUND 2 of the National Basketball League (NBL) South tips off from tomorrow night, with our two feature games being the Frankston Blues up against Dandenong Ranges on Saturday (women’s) and Nunawading Specres locking horns with Sandringham Sabres on Sunday (men’s).

WOMEN’S:

An early clash between two local rivals sees Frankston Blues up against Dandenong Rangers at Frankston Basketball Stadium from 5:30pm on Saturday evening. At the start of the round both these teams come in undefeated, though a Friday night clash with Bendigo Braves could change that for the Blues, in one of four all-undefeated clashes. The Blues are fresh off a hard-fought win over Nunawading Spectres by 12 points, whilst the Rangers got away with a 14-point victory over Diamond Valley Eagles on the road in Round 1.

In the Blues’ win, WNBL duo Darcee Garbin and Tessa Lavey caused all sorts of headaches for the Spectres, combining for 53 of the teams’ 90 points on the night. Garbin had a match-high 30 points, shooting 11 of 16 from the field, but crucially a whopping six of eight from long-range. She also picked up six rebounds and thee assists for her troubles. Lavey, coming off an AFLW season with Richmond, did not miss a beat with 23 points – three of eight from three-point range – seven rebounds and nine assists, not too far off an almost triple-double let alone a double-double.

Taylah Gilliam (11 points, two rebounds and three assists) and Ella Batish (eight points, six rebounds) also proved capable of causing trouble for the opposition. Statistically the Blues dominated the assist tally with 21-10, as most of the other stats were fairly even, though hitting more than half of their long-range attempts was crucial, as the Spectres only managed three of 20 compared to the Blues’ 18 of 35.

The Rangers always looked in control against the Eagles at Community Bank Stadium, as Emilee Harmon picked up a double-double of 26 points and 10 rebounds, as well as two steals. Able to crash the boards, Harmon teamed up well with rising star talent Gemma Potter. The youngster racked up a double-double herself of 14 points and 13 rebounds, as well as five assists, three steals and two blocks in the win. Tenaya Sooalo (18 points, four rebounds and three assists) and Kodie Myszka (seven points, four rebounds and two steals) were others who stood out.

The Rangers led the way in rebounds with a plus-seven in that statistical area, something they will be keen to apply here again. They were not a huge three-point shooting outfit, though made the most of it with six of 17 makes. They need to improve their work from the charity stripe, finishing Round 1 with a 50 per cent efficiency, but the visitors still got away with the win. It will be a focus if they are to take down the Blues on their home court.

The other two undefeated clashes see Knox Raiders hosting Kilsyth Cobras, and Launceston Tornadoes up against Ballarat Rush. After each team played the one game in Round 1, a number of sides will double up, with the Rush also taking on Hobart Chargers in a weekend down in Tasmania, while the Diamond Valley Eagles will hope to pick up their first win against either Eltham Wildcats or Waverley Falcons on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Sandringham Sabres have two chances to pick up another win after going 1-0 in Round 1, taking on Mt Gambier Pioneers and then travelling to take on Nunawading Spectres. In the other two matches, Albury Wodonga Bandits host Melbourne Tigers, and Ringwood Hawks face Geelong Supercats in two battles between sides yet to taste victory this season.

FIXTURES:

Bendigo Braves (1-0) vs. Frankston Blues (1-0)
Hobart Chargers (0-1) vs. Ballarat Rush (1-0)
Frankston Blues (1-0) vs. Dandenong Rangers (1-0)
Knox Raiders (1-0) vs. Kilsyth Cobras (1-0)
Sandringham Sabres (1-0) vs. Mt Gambier Pioneers (0-1)
Eltham Wildcats (1-0) vs. Diamond Valley Eagles (0-1)
Albury Wodonga Bandits (0-1) vs. Melbourne Tigers (0-1)
Ringwood Hawks (0-1) vs. Geelong Supercats (0-1)
Launceston Tornadoes (1-0) vs. Ballarat Rush (1-0)
Nunawading Spectres (0-1) vs. Sandringham Sabres (1-0)
Waverley Falcons (0-1) vs. Diamond Valley Eagles (0-1)

MEN’S:

There are plenty of blockbuster fixtures to pick from when it comes to match of the round, but this week we take a look at the Sunday head-to-head between Nunawading Spectres and Sandringham Sabres who both won their first round encounters. The Sabres opened the NBL1 competition with a thrilling three-point win over Melbourne Tigers on the road, while the Spectres got up by 11 points over Frankston Blues in a similar tough challenge heading down to bayside.

The Sabres did the bulk of their good work early against the Tigers at Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centre, as the visitors piled on 50 points to 38 in the opening half, before the Tigers roared to life, scoring 56 to 47. No doubt while the 97-94 victory was a relief, the Sabres will want more of the first half, and less of the second half in the Round 2 clash with the Spectres. The Sabres dominated the rebounds with 51-38 in that game, but struggled with transition, picking up eight assists – though in a low assist game of 10-8 – and only had two steals to the Tigers’ 10. They made it count from the field however, shooting 47.2 per cent, including 43.8 per cent from long-range, and only missing one of 16 free throws.

The points were shared around in an even spread as Kuany Kuany (20 points, nine rebounds and two assists) and Nicholas Gabsch (18 points, eight rebounds and two assists) both came close to a double-double. Tom O’Brien was handy with 17 points – including seven of eight from the field – also picking up two rebounds and two assists. Kobe Davies was the other player to reach double-figure points, knocking down three of five from long-range to finish with 13 points and three rebounds.

By comparison the Spectres held firm across four quarters against the Blues to come from three points down at quarter time to lead by two at half-time, then run away with an 11-point lead by the final buzzer. The full scores and individual statistics are still unavailable at this stage, but Dain Swetalla was well on his way to a double-double alongside partner-in-crime Simon Conn. The pair will make life difficult for the opposition teams this year, while Costas Hronopoulos and Tom Wright are among the other Spectres to keep an eye on.

The Spectres should be a strong rebounding team, and will look to get plenty of points in the paint, backing themselves to nail the free-throw opportunities. They can move the ball in transition, with their stars able to stuff the stats sheet on their day, and Nunawading has enough depth to share the load, particularly in front of a home crowd.

Casting the eye across other fixtures, the Sabres have an earlier home fixture against Mt Gambier Pioneers, meaning the Spectres will come in the fresher side. Diamond Valley Eagles also do the double after winning their Round 1 match, coming up against two Round 1 losers in Eltham Wildcats and Waverley Falcons. After a thrilling one-point win in Round 1, Kilsyth Cobras travel to Knox Raiders, while the winless pairing of Frankston Blues – who take on Bendigo Braves tomorrow night – and Dandenong Rangers looms as a must-watch.

Ballarat Miners head to the Apple Isle to face Hobart Chargers tomorrow night, before a big clash with North West Tasmania on Saturday. The Melbourne Tigers make the trek to the border to take on Albury Wodonga Bandits, while in the final game, Ringwood Hawks host Geelong Supercats in another all-undefeated clash on Saturday.

FIXTURES:

Bendigo Braves (1-0) vs. Frankston Blues (0-1)
Hobart Chargers (0-1) vs. Ballarat Miners (1-0)
North West Tasmania (1-0) vs. Ballarat Miners (1-0)
Frankston Blues (0-1) vs. Dandenong Rangers (0-1)
Knox Raiders (0-1) vs. Kilsyth Cobras (1-0)
Sandringham Sabres (1-0) vs. Mt Gambier Pioneers (0-1)
Eltham Wildcats (0-1) vs. Diamond Valley Eagles (1-0)
Albury Wodonga Bandits (0-1) vs. Melbourne Tigers (0-1)
Ringwood Hawks (1-0) vs. Geelong Supercats (1-0)
Nunawading Spectres (1-0) vs. Sandringham Sabres (1-0)
Waverley Falcons (0-1) vs. Diamond Valley Eagles (1-0)

Picture credit: Frankston Blues

NBL1 South Men’s team summary: Nunawading Spectres

IN light of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the National Basketball League (NBL)1 South Conference has been cancelled this year. As such, while Draft Central intended to do a preview on all teams leading up to the delayed start, it will instead be a team summary from last season and what they might look to improve on for 2021. Today’s edition looks at Nunawading Spectres, the inaugural premiers of the NBL1.

2019 in Review:

Finished: 3rd (Premiers)
Wins: 14
Losses: 6
Home: 6-5
Away: 8-1

What went right:

  • Won the 2019 NBL1 title
  • Offence (total points, two-point accuracy, three-point accuracy and free-throw accuracy all ranked top five overall)
  • Rebounding (30.1 defensive the best in the competition, 41.0 total rebounds ranked third overall)
  • Turnovers (10.7 per game the second least in the competition)
  • Five players averaging double-figure points for the season
  • Dain Swetalla and Simon Conn’s seasons

There was not too much to fault for the eventual NBL1 South men’s premiers as Nunawading took the title after bouncing back from a qualifying finals loss to Frankston Blues. The hard road to victory cemented their journey as one to remember, and eventually saluted against Bendigo Braves thanks to a 24-14 third term to win, 99-90. The likes of Dain Swetalla (Grand Final Most Valuable Player) and Simon Conn (All-Star Five) led the team superbly throughout the season as they proved hard to beat, winning 14 of 20, and were deadly on the road with an 8-1 record. Even though the Spectres dropped their first final to Frankston away, they showed plenty of grit, winning their way to the title. Offensively they were dominant with top five finishes in each of the major scoring categories, and defensively were strong as well. They were the best defensive rebounding unit in the lead, and ranked top three overall for rebounds. Throw in the fact they rarely turned he ball over (second least turnovers in the competition) and the Spectres were a clear title contender long before the final game of the season.

What went wrong:

  • Not much
  • Blocks (1.5 per game ranked 17th overall)
  • Steals (4.7 per game ranked last overall)

When you win a title, the season is a success and you cannot really look too harshly on a season. But every team wants to maintain its dominance by getting better the following season. Statistically it was just blocks and steals that were ranked in the bottom two in the competition, though that is hardly surprising considering the Spectres dominated possession, led the defensive rebounds and rarely turned the ball over. It could mean the side looks to add an extra player to the roster to try and pick-pocket opposition players more often, though they do not need to add much.

Top Players:

Simon Conn

Making the NBL1 All-Star Five is a clear indication of the kind of season the veteran 206cm center had. He is like a fine wine and showed he is just as dominant off the boards as he has been in the past. Finishing the season playing every game, averaging 31.1 minutes on court and putting up numbers of 19.5 points. 9.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists, Conn was the consistent star of the show throughout the season. He also averaged 87.1 per cent from the line when a defence dared to foul him thanks to his 55 per cent two-point accuracy as well. He led the team in points, offensive rebounds and total rebounds and was deserving of his season honour.

Dain Swetalla

The Grand Final MVP did not just have a performance out of the box when he picked up 28 points and nine rebounds, he had been doing it all season. In fact, Swetalla averaged nine rebounds in season 2019 to go with his 17.2 points and 2.1 assists. He finished his attempts off at a high rate with 58.5 per cent from inside the arc, and 44.6 per cent from outside the arc as one of the most damaging long-range shooters in the competition. Another experienced shooter, Swetalla teamed up with Conn well and the pair caused all sorts of headaches for the opposition.

Thomas Wright

There were a number of players who could have slotted into this spot, though Wright was the next highest in terms of his points, averaging 18.1 per game from 18 games. He averaged the most minutes on court with 31.3 per game and also took home 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists for his troubles. He might not have won the plaudits that the other two did, but Wright was another player who just kept applying the scoring pressure across the court and was a key playmaker on transition offence.

Young Gun:

Jack Saunders

They did not have the youngest list coming into the 2019 season with just four players aged 23-years-old or younger, and we start with the oldest of that quartet given he had the most game time of the lot. Saunders averaged 13.4 minutes on court for 7.2 points and 1.2 rebounds, giving the starting guards some rest time as he came on and could be relied upon to have an impact. At greater than 20 points per 40 minutes, Saunders showed he could step up for a starting role if required and he was particularly damaging from long-range, averaging 38 per cent and sinking the second most triples of any player despite the lack of court time.

Christmas list for 2021:

List retention. There is nothing glaringly obvious the Spectres need, though with effectively two years moving on since the start of the 2019 season, players are entering a couple of years older and with the majority of the Nunawading list set to be the wrong side of 30, the Spectres need to firstly retain the list, then look to build on their youth.

Summary:

The Nunawading Spectres had a memorable first season in the NBL1 and took out the 2019 title. They get to be reigning champions for two seasons now, and no doubt their hunger will be increased to go back-to-back in 2021 when they can get back out on the court.

NBL1 South Men’s team summary: Ballarat Miners

IN light of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Ballarat Miners will not be competing in the National Basketball League (NBL)1 South Conference this year. As such, while Draft Central intended to do a preview on all teams leading up to the delayed start, for those that have chosen not to participate due to the threat, we will instead complete a team summary from last season and what they might look to improve on for 2021.

2019 in Review:

Finished: 1st (Lost in Preliminary Finals)
Wins: 16
Losses: 4
Home: 7-3
Away: 9-1

What went right:

  • The regular season
  • Jerry Evans Jr making All-Star Five
  • Disciplined (ranked number one for least personal fouls per game, 15.5)
  • Blocking (ranked number one with 5.0 per game)
  • Shared approach with scoring

Whilst the win-loss tally heading into finals might have seen the Miners sit at 16 wins from 20 games, they eased up in the final two matches, dropping them both to Melbourne Tigers and Waverley Falcons at home, meaning technically they were 7-1 at home and 9-1 away prior to those last two games. It was an unusual fixture for the Miners, playing their last eight games at home – including both finals – after spending plenty of time on the road prior to that. There was plenty that went right for the minor premiers throughout the season, looking dominant and the clear team to beat in 2019, ranking first in blocks, as well as least personal fouls per game – and both comfortably too. The Miners committed an average of 15.5 personal fouls per game, and blocked opponent five times thanks to their talls, often denying opponents high scores whilst ranking sixth for points themselves. With six players averaging 10 points or more per game, it was incredibly hard for opposition defenders to try and stop the Miners in the forward half. Leading the way of court was All-Star Five member, Jerry Evans Jr who finished the season with a team-high 18.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.

What went wrong:

  • Assists (ranked 15th with 15.3)
  • Preliminary Final first quarter

If the Miners could have one wish from 2019, it would be to start that Preliminary Final again. A disastrous first term at home after a week off saw them sluggish out of the blocks against a Nunawading Spectres side that had to go the long way to the eventual NBL1 Men’s title. The Spectres were just too strong and opened up an eight-point lead at the Miner Dome to stun the home fans, with the likes of Dain Swetalla (27 points, 10 rebounds) and Tom Wright (16 points, seven rebounds) putting on clinics for the Spectres. The Miners were able to arrest the momentum in the second term onwards, but the sides were so evenly matched across the court, the Miners could not bridge the gap and fell seven points short. Their other glaring improvement was their assist category, with just 10 in the final – five of which came from Sam Short. They ranked 15th in the statistic for the season, and had half the assists the Spectres had in that game. While the players often went it alone on the transition, having a playmaker who could set up the plays for teammates would certainly have helped.

Top Players:

Jerry Evans Jr

The oldest member of the team led by example last season, playing in every match and being a scoring machine for the Miners. He averaged the 18.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, shooting at 40.7 per cent from the field. His free-throw shooting was solid with 71.8 per cent, while he sank a third of his three-point attempts. He was not so much a playmaker as he was a proficient scorer, as the forward had less than two assists per game, but had almost two steals per game, showing how he could be damaging if an opposition guard lost concentration on the 208cm giant.

Josh Fox

The man who did all he could in Ballarat’s losing preliminary final, Fox teamed up well with Evans Jr as a starting forward, and recorded a team-high 9.2 rebounds to go with his 11.3 points per game. He also shot at a higher 46.7 field goal percentage, but rarely attempted three-pointers with just 29 per cent of his 31 long-range attempts going in. In the disappointing final, Fox was the top player with 22 points, five rebounds and two assists, shooting at 58.3 per cent from the field and nailing all five of his crucial free-throw attempts.

Kuany Kuany

Working well with Short up the other end of the court, the South Sudanese talent was the most deadly from the field. While his volume was slightly lower than some of his teammates, Kuany still put up a healthy 15.8 points per game, as well as 4.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 steals. He averaged almost 50 per cent efficiency from the field, and a solid 36.2 per cent from long range. Kuany finished the season with the fourth highest efficiency rating on the team, and was a crucial member in that starting lineup, playing 21 of a possible 22 games.

Young Gun:

Sam Short

Hard to believe Short was just 21 to start the season, with the 196cm guard being the key playmaker for the side. He averaged far and away the most assists of any player in the side, posting 4.5 per game – as shown in the preliminary final – as well as 11.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. He has a lot of time left to develop his game, but Short just ticked a lot of boxes in 2019, and while others might have got the accolades, he showed a real evenness about his game to contribute in multiple ways without going too far.

Christmas list for 2021:

Ballarat Miners would love to add another key playmaker who can set up scoring options in transition. The Miners clearly had no trouble getting to the basket and getting wins, but if there was one thing to learn from the Nunawading loss that was clear, Ballarat could have done with an extra player leading the offensive plays, even if they were not involved in the finishing product. They have the core group to build around, and an extra player who can link the guards and forwards would be the icing on the cake.

Summary:

The Ballarat Miners finished minor premiers. for a reason. They got the job done at home or away, and with the top spot sealed off in the weeks leading up to the finals, could manage their players accordingly and it mattered little that they dropped their last two games. Whether or not the management and thus additional break during the second week of finals impacted the top side is hard to conclude, but the slow start against the Spectres certainly cost them a chance at the title. They will be better for the inaugural season, and while they will not take the court in 2020, will regroup and look to be stronger in 2021.

Nunawading Spectres claim inaugural NBL1 Men’s title

NUNAWADING Spectres have claimed the 2019 National Basketball League (NBL)1 Men’s title, defeating a gallant Bendigo Braves by nine points on Saturday night. It was a remarkable game that had more twists and turns than an Edgar Allan Poe novel, and whilst both teams had chances to take out the title, it was the higher ranked team that got the job done.

Both sides started the game trading blows, with Nunawading hitting the front when Tom Wright sank a three-pointer at the seven and a half minute mark of the first term, but 12 of the next 16 points went the way of the Braves to extend the lead out to seven with less than five minutes remaining in the term. Nunawading fought back again to cut the deficit to two a minute later, before Bendigo piled on the points to go on a 14-2 run to end the term. A Chris Hogan triple and a Mathiang Muo stepback jump shot – the latter in the final three seconds of the quarter – handed the eighth placed side a handy lead at the break.

The 14-point margin would be eaten into by the Spectres with Nunawading piling on 15-8 to start the term, before back-to-back triples from Deonte Burton extended the margin back out to 13. The lead was still 10 points when Muo sank two free throws with three minutes remaining in the half, but it was fitting that by the time Wright had nailed another triple himself, scores were level. The half-time buzzer sounded with both teams back where they started – level – having both scored 53 points apiece in the first half.

The teams again traded blows early, and while Ray Turner put the Braves in front by two with a layup in the opening few minutes, it would be the last time Bendigo held the lead for the game. Nunawading shot 15 points to two over the course of the next four and a half minutes to lead by 11 with just over three minutes on the clock. Burton came to the much needed rescue with an opportunity to put it back to six points, but the last seven points of the term went the way of the Spectres for Nunawading to hold a 77-64 lead at the final break.

A couple of triples to Hogan and Muo in the opening few minutes separated by a Simon Conn jumpshot had the Braves back to within nine, but by the time Conn had nailed a triple with just under eight minutes remaining, the Spectres were out to a game-high 14-point lead. Bendigo refused to give in with Burton again doing his best – a layup coming timely with less than four minutes remaining and six points the margin. When Muo sank a triple there was 103 seconds left in the final and the crowd was fever-pitch in anticipation. It was game on. Both Dain Swetalla and Conn added to the total to give the Spectres a seven-point breather, but a Turner layup with 52 seconds left cut it back to five to give the Braves hope. Alas, it was Swetalla again who stood tall, converting a lay-up and then two free-throws before the final buzzer to hand Nunawading a memorable, 99-90 victory.

Swetalla was the star in the win, picking up 28 points, nine rebounds and three assists, well aided by Wright who made six of 11 from long-range on his way to 24 points, three rebounds and four assists. Conn had 15 points and five rebounds, shooting at an efficient 62.5 per cent from the field, while Costa Hronopoulos picked up a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, as did Shane McDonald who was the playmaker thanks to 12 points and 10 assists. Turner and Burton had a team-high 24 points apiece, while Turner also had nine rebounds, four steals and two blocks, as Burton helped himself to five rebounds and five assists. Muo (23 points, five rebounds and two steals) and Hogan (15 points, two rebounds) were also prominent.

NBL1 Men’s Grand Final preview: Nunawading Spectres vs. Bendigo Braves

AFTER 23 games apiece, the two sides destined to fight it out for the 2019 National Basketball League (NBL)1 Men’s title have bee decided. Nunawading Spectres and Bendigo Braves will go head-to-head at the State Basketball Centre on Saturday night to determine which team lifts the inaugural NBL1 title.

Nunawading on face value start favourites, having finished inside the top four and won 16 of a possible 23 games. They went down to Frankston Blues in the opening final, before the Spectres worked their way back to dismiss premiership favourites Ballarat Miners and secure a spot in the decider. Bendigo’s road to the final was vastly different. They secured a finals spot courtesy of Waverley slipping up in the final round during their trip to Tasmania, with the Braves taking full advantage and sneaking into eighth spot on the table. It was all they needed to set themselves up with a half-chance because they took it and have since knocked over fifth, fourth and second on the table, with an eye to downing the third placed side in this one.

In terms of win-loss records, Nunawading won six of 11 at home, with 10 from 12 on the road, meaning the Spectres were more formidable as a visiting group. The Braves were fairly even, having won six from 10 at home, not too dissimilar to the five from 10 on the road – a record they increased to eight from 13 in the past three weeks. The Spectres average 91.7 points per game, while concede 84.4 points to their opposition. For the Braves, those numbers are 85.9 and 82.5 – a little lower on both accounts. The stats also tell a story of how the Spectres should be favourites, leading in all the key statistical areas bar blocks – and marginally shaded in steals – when it comes to comparing starting line-ups. But symbolic of blocks being a strength for the Braves, it has also told a story of the finals series, with the Braves denying their opposition despite all the numbers telling otherwise.

If form is an indicator, it is almost impossible to tip against Bendigo because of the momentum the Braves have built, and the fact they were able to knock over Frankston on the road – a feat Nunawading was unable to do two weeks earlier. In saying that, the Spectres were able to dismantle Ballarat Miners, an achievement that looked near-impossible 18 games into the season. The big difference between the teams is Nunawading have an even balance of players who can shoot, rebound and assist, while Bendigo have a genuine star in Ray Turner – who has continually got the job done – as well as a couple of handy players to assist in Deonte Burton and Mathiang Muo. Simon Conn, Dain Swetalla and Tom Wright have all pieced together really consistent seasons, with Costa Hronopoulos being a crucial key fourth player in that side. Shane McDonald might not score as much as the others, but with a massive average of 7.1 assists, he sets the team up.

STATS:

NUNAWADING SPECTRES:

Simon Conn | 19.0 PPG | 10.0 RPG | 2.1 APG | 0.7 SPG | 0.7 BPG | 53.1 FG%
Shane McDonald | 8.9 PPG | 3.1 RPG | 7.1 APG | 0.6 SPG | 0.0 BPG | 41.1 FG%
Dain Swetalla | 17.5 PPG | 9.1 RPG | 2.2 APG | 0.8 SPG | 0.3 BPG | 53.9 FG%
Costa Hronopoulos | 10.2 PPG | 4.7 RPG | 2.4 APG | 0.7 SPG | 0.0 BPG | 51.9 FG%
Tom Wright | 17.8 PPG | 4.1 RPG | 3.7 APG | 0.9 SPG | 0.2 BPG | 44.5 FG%

BENDIGO BRAVES:

Ray Turner | 23.4 PPG | 12.5 RPB | 1.8 APG | 1.1 SPG | 1.3 BPG | 57.2 FG%
Chris Hogan | 6.6 PPG | 3.9 RPG | 2.1 APG | 0.4 SPG | 0.0 BPG | 34.4 FG%
Deonte Burton | 14.1 PPG | 5.3 RPG | 5.6 APG | 1.3 SPG | 0.7 BPG | 46.3 FG%
Daniel Hansen | 7.2 PPG | 2.9 RPG | 2.2 APG | 0.6 SPG | 0.1 BPG | 37.1 FG%
Mathiang Muo | 20.3 PPG | 5.3 RPG | 2.0 APG | 0.4 SPG | 0.3 BPG | 48.8 FG%

STARTING LINE-UPS COMPARISON: NUNAWADING | BENDIGO

Points: 73.4 | 71.6
Rebounds: 31.0 | 29.9
Assists: 17.5 | 13.7
Steals: 3.7 | 3.8
Blocks: 1.2 | 2.4
Field Goal %: 48.9 | 44.8

KEY QUESTIONS:

1. Can Nunawading stop the momentum Bendigo has been building?
2. Will a sixth successive road trip tire the Braves?
3. Will Simon Conn be able to restrict the work of Ray Turner and have more of an influence on the game at the same time?

SUMMARY:

Nunawading Spectres should be the team to beat in this game. If you look at how each of the starting 10 players have performed this year, the Spectres have five of the top eight because their fifth player often contributes more than some team’s third or certainly fourth players. Turner has the ability to create something special and while he is not a passer, that is how Burton fits into the mix for the Braves. We will tip the Spectres because of the consistency across the board, but Bendigo have been the underdogs in every game and there is just something brewing there with the potential to remarkably win the title from eighth spot.