Tag: demarcus gatlin

NBL1 South Men’s team summary: Geelong Supercats

IN light of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Geelong Supercats 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: 6th
Wins: 12
Losses: 8
Home: 6-4
Away: 6-4

What went right:

  • Mid-season purple patch, winning six out of seven games between Rounds 12 to 18
  • Demarcus Gatlin was dominant
  • Clean with possession and on defence
  • Rebounding

There was a lot more than went right for the Geelong Supercats than went wrong in season 2019, with the team still reaching the second week of the finals series. Their mid-season purple patch where they won six out of a possible seven games – and the only loss was by four points to minor premiers, Ballarat Miners – helped them get into the finals series. At either end of the season the Supercats were a little inconsistent, but at their best they knew how to put on the pressure on, ranked second in steals and third in blocks, as well as number one in offensive and total rebounds. Most importantly, the Supercats produced the least turnovers of any side on average, with less than 10 per game. In otherwords, once they won the ball, they rarely coughed it up on the transition play. Looking at individuals, Demarcus Gatlin was absolutely superb throughout the season, and was named the inaugural 2019 NBL1 Men’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) for his troubles. Whilst others were also impressive during the season, more often than not, the American import was unstoppable and has really found a home in Geelong.

What went wrong:

  • Scoring power
  • Shooting accuracy

For a team that was so strong defensively, one would imagine they would be in title contention. They were, but there was one little problem – scoring. The Supercats averaged 80.7 points per game last season, the lowest of any side. Their scoring volume was 13 points less than the top side Frankston Blues, and 12 points less than premiers Nunawading Spectres. The reason for the low scoring was not due to not having enough chances however, it was more the accuracy of the shots put up, with the Supercats ranked in the bottom two for all scoring methods. They averaged just 46.5 per cent from the two-point range, and a lowly 26.4 per cent from three-point range – the only side less than 30 per cent in season 2019. With a 6.26 per cent accuracy from the free-throw line, the Supercats were also not making enough of getting fouled by the opposition when they went to the basket. These areas are linked and with the addition of an additional scorer, it will no doubt help them in the long run.

Top Players:

Demarcus Gatlin

Aside from collecting the MVP award for his outstanding season, Gatlin added to his trophy cabinet with NBL1 All-Stars selection following 20.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game. While his free-throw (52.9 per cent) and three-point accuracy (20.5 per cent) could improve a lot, he had so many opportunities that he was bound to put up some big numbers. Supported by a host of teammates throughout the season, Gatlin has become part of the furniture at the Supercats and a real dominant player off the boards. Still in his mid 20s, Gatlin is a player who will likely be up in MVP conversations for some time yet.

Lewis Thomas

Picking up the second most points, as well as the most rebounds in his side, Thomas used his 202cm frame well off the boards with nine rebounds per game, starting every match with Gatlin. He also averaged 15.8 points, 2.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game as a real solid contributor, teaming up with the American throughout the season. He was one of only two players to record a greater than 70 per cent free-throw efficiency, and was also clean with ball-in-hand.

Ma’alo Hicks

Hicks might not have been as prolific as his two teammates on the scoring front with just 10.4 points per game, but he was considered just as deadly across the court, picking up 8.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He is the oldest of the trio, and the center/forward covers the court well for a 203cm player. Like Gatlin his accuracy across the three scoring areas could improve, but he was a reliable player on the court.

Young Gun:

Cohen Blythe

Only 22 at the start of last season, Blythe was able to gain some crucial minutes on court in season 2019, even if the stats might not show it. He managed to play in every single game – a feat only Gatlin and Thomas can also lay claim to – while starting five times. He finished with an average of 2.2 points, 1.1 rebounds and 0.9 steals, but was averaging 12.4 minutes per game, the third most of the bench players that gave fans an indication that he could develop into a strong player for the future.

Christmas list for 2021:

Geelong Supercats would love to recruit a playmaker or see one of the already strong core group step up and assist in the areas lacking. If they can find a proficient and deadly shooter for 2021, then that would add an extra element to their roster without taking away from their defensive prowess. They have the talent to go all the way, and showed it throughout the season, but if they can add the last piece to their puzzle, then watch out next season.

Summary:

The Geelong Supercats statistically were the best defensive side and the worst offensive one, but in saying that, the old saying goes that defence beats offence, and that is how they played. Luring teams into a low-scoring slog, the Supercats would often win off the back of sturdy defence that locked down on key opposition players and setups, but ultimately when the game opened up in the finals, the Supercats could not quite generate enough scoring power to get the job done. They will no doubt look to add more scores on the board for 2021 and be a serious contender in 12 months time.

NBL1 expands north as national game grows

IN a landmark agreement between the National Basketball League (NBL), NBL1, Basketball Victoria and Basketball Queensland, the 2020 NBL1 competition will be split into two conferences. The current league – with the addition of new side, Mount Gambier Pioneers – will be renamed NBL1 South, while the new league featuring 26 new teams will be based in Queensland and called NBL1 North. The NBL1 North replaces the Queensland Basketball League (QBL) with 13 men’s and 13 women’s sides.

The 13 clubs that have been awarded licences in the NBL1 North are Cairns Marlins (men’s) and Dolphins (women’s), Townsville Heat (men’s) and Flames (women’s), Rockhampton Rockets (men’s) and Cyclones (women’s), Mackay Meteors (men’s) and Meteorettes (women’s), Southern District Spartans, Sunshine Coast Phoenix, University of Sunshine Coast Rip, Brisbane Capitals, Logan Thunder, South West Metro Pirates, Gold Coast Rollers, Ipswich Force and Toowoomba Mountaineers.

NBL Chief Operating Officer Andy Crook said it was an exciting time for Australian basketball.

“We are excited to announce the establishment of NBL1 North and NBL1 South conferences,” Crook said. “This is a genuine partnership between the NBL, Basketball Queensland and Basketball Victoria and we look forward to the great rivalries that’s set to develop between the conferences. “We are also in active discussions with Basketball South Australia, Basketball Western Australia and Basketball New South Wales about introducing the NBL1 concept in those states.”

NBL1 South will tip off on Saturday April 18 while NBL1 North will begin a week later on Friday April 24.

NBL1 South and NBL1 North will hold conference finals in August, before an NBL1 finals series will be played on the first weekend of September with conference champions from NBL1 South and NBL1 North at the State Basketball Centre in Victoria. Further details of the NBL1 finals series will be announced soon.

The NBL1 North logo will have a maroon colour while the NBL1 South logo will be navy blue, creating a connection between the conferences and their main state.

Basketball Queensland Chief Executive and Secretary Graham Burns said the major competition in the Sunshine State was looking forward to holding a highly recognised second tier competition.

“We can’t wait for the inaugural NBL1 North season and look forward to the growth the league will have under the NBL’s banner,” Burns said. “Basketball Victoria and the NBL did an incredible job with NBL1 in 2019 and we are thrilled to be involved and continue the positive momentum.”

Basketball Victoria CEO Nick Honey said the success of NBL1 last season showed the concept was adaptable across the country and he looked forward to the growth of the conference system.

“It’s exciting to see the next phase of NBL1’s expansion begin this year with NBL1 becoming NBL1 South,” Honey said. “From where Basketball Victoria and the NBL started last year, it’s brilliant to see the model expand to other states.”

Last year’s NBL1 competitions were won by Nunawading Spectres and Kilsyth Cobras in the men’s and women’s competition respectively. Geelong Supercats’ Demarcus Gatlin and Bendigo Braves’ Kelly Wilson were named the respective competitions’ Most Valuable Players (MVP).

NBL1 Men’s finals review: Semi-Finals

TWO tight contests decided the remaining two preliminary finalists with Nunawading Spectres getting up over Geelong Falcons, and Bendigo Braves continuing the run from eighth spot to down Kilsyth Cobras and move through to the final four. Ballarat Miners and Frankston Blues are waiting respectively for their opponents next weekend to determine the National Basketball League (NBL)1 Men’s decider.

NUNAWADING SPECTRES 23 | 16 | 24 | 19 (82)
GEELONG SUPERCATS 30 | 18 | 12 | 16 (76)

Nunawading Spectres have made it through to a Preliminary Final to face Ballarat Miners after a come-from-behind six-point victory over Geelong Supercats. The Supercats opened the scoring with a 30-23 first term, then extended the lead to nine by the main break to give the visiting fans some hope of an upset. But soon the crowd was up and about as Nunawading clicked into gear, posting 24 points to 12 in the third term to regain the lead and the momentum heading into the final quarter. They continued that momentum into the last to score 19-16 and win 82-76 in a thrilling contest. Simon Conn posted a game-high 21 points as well as nine rebounds and two assists, while Dain Swetalla picked up a double-double thanks to 16 points and 11 rebounds. Tom Wright (18 points, four rebounds and three assists) and Lucas Walker (17 points, eight rebounds) were also impressive in the win. Geelong had its own spread of scorers, with Lewis Thomas (16 points, five rebounds and two assists) and Ma’alo Hicks (16 points, nine rebounds) the top scorers for the Supercats. Demarcus Gatlin stepped up for a double-double of 14 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks, while Nick Owusu finished with 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals.

KILSYTH COBRAS 18 | 27 | 18 | 41 (104)
BENDIGO BRAVES 33 | 22 | 25 | 35 (115)

Bendigo Braves further established themselves as a genuine title contender despite finishing in eighth spot, overpowering Kilsyth Cobras to send the fourth placed side out in straight sets. The Braves dominated the first term to lead by 15 points at quarter time, before Kilsyth hit back to cut the deficit back to 10, before it went back out to 17 by the last change. Despite a ridiculously high scoring final term which resulted in 76 points combined on the board, it would be Kilsyth who won the battle (41-35), but Bendigo that won the war with a 115-104 victory. Ray Turner could not be tamed with a remarkable 37 points and 12 rebounds, while teammate Deonte Burton was not far behind with 24 points and 12 defensive rebounds, as well as eight assists in the massive upset. Mathiang Muo scored 24 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Daniel Hansen also reached double figures with a stat line of 15 points, six rebounds and five assists. For the Cobras, Isaac Turner posted a team-high 33 points, as well as two rebounds and two steals, while Felix Van Hofe (14 points, five rebounds) and Sean MacDonald (14 points, three rebounds, four assists and three steals) both assisted with scoring, as did Chris Patton (13 points, four rebounds). Now the Braves face Frankston Blues in the Preliminary Final for a spot in the decider.

NBL1 Men’s finals wash-up: Week 1 – Braves upset Tigers as favourites win elsewhere

BENDIGO Braves are through to the semi-finals after the eighth placed side upset fifth placed Melbourne Tigers in an elimination final at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic (MSAC) in the National Basketball League (NBL)1 first week of finals. The Braves will face Kilsyth Cobras who went down to minor premiers Ballarat Miners, whilst in the other semi-final, Nunawading Spectres will host Geelong Supercats.

GEELONG SUPERCATS 32 | 18 | 18 | 17 (85)
DANDENONG RANGERS 13 | 32 | 15 | 19 (79)

Geelong Supercats have kept their NBL1 title dreams alive with a see-sawing six-point win over Dandenong Rangers at home. The Supercats powered to a massive 19-point lead at quarter time, piling on 32 points in a big opening term. Whatever was said at the break must have helped the Rangers as they returned serve with 32 points of their own in the second quarter to cut the deficit to just five at the main break. The Supercats steadied in a lower scoring third term to lead by eight at the final break before holding on despite the away side’s best efforts, to win 85-79. Lewis Thomas posted up 26 points, three rebounds, two assists, four steals and two blocks, while Demarcus Gatlin had 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals in the win. Nick Owusu (16 points, five rebounds) and Anthony Williams (13 points) were also productive on the scoring end. For the losers, Dexter Kernich-Drew posted a team-high 20 points, as well as two rebounds and four steals, but it was Sam Froling who almost hauled his team across the line with 18 points and 16 rebounds – 13 defensive – as well as four blocks. Lucas Barker was creative across the court with 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists, while Tim Lang narrowly missed out on a double-double with 11 points, nine rebounds and four assists.

BALLARAT MINERS 22 | 23 | 20 |15 (80)
KILSYTH COBRAS 21 | 12 | 21 | 12 (66)

Ballarat Miners’ dominant second term of 23 points to 12 set up a 14-point win over a brave Kilsyth Cobras. The Miners move through to the Preliminary Finals after the victory, which saw them win three of the four quarters, but the 11-point second term differential was the ultimate factor in the win. The minor premiers now move through with a week off to play the winner of Nunawading Spectres and Geelong Supercats, while the Cobras face the Bendigo Braves who upset the Melbourne Tigers yesterday. Marqueze Coleman proved the impact bench players can have, coming off the pine to post a game-high 22 points, as well as seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. Kuany Kuany (18 points, six rebounds and two steals) contributed strongly, but both Josh Fox (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Deng Acuoth (10 points, 10 rebounds) picked up double-doubles in the victory. For the Cobras, Peter Hooley also had an impact off the bench collecting an equal team-high 16 points, as well as six rebounds – five defensive, while Isaac Turner also collected 16 points. Tohi Smith-Milner was a cause for concern off the boards with 13 points and 11 rebounds – eight defensive.

FRANKSTON BLUES 37 | 27 | 20 | 23 (107)
NUNAWADING SPECTRES 19 | 28 | 23 | 27 (97)

A fast-starting Frankston Blues outfit has set up a huge 10-point win over a fast-finishing Nunawading Spectres side. In one of those rare anomalies, Frankston won just one of the four quarters, but it was a dominant term, piling on 37 points to 19 in the first quarter to race out to an 18-point lead at the first break. From there Nunawading worked its way back into the contest, but could only cut back the deficit by one at the main break, down to 14 by the final break and eventually 10 at the final buzzer to be 107-97 winners at the end. Damon Bozeman was the standout player on the court with 28 points, six rebounds and three assists for Frankston, while Najeal Young had 21 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Majok Majok (18 points, eight rebounds) and Igor Hadziomerovic (14 points, eight rebounds) were again prolific off the boards. For Nunawading, Tom Wright picked up a team-high 21 points, three rebounds and three assists, whilst Simon Conn (17 points, 13 rebounds and two assists) was massive in trying to get his team across the line. Jack Saunders (15 points) and Costa Hronopoulos (14 points) were important coming off the bench in the loss. Now the Blues move through to the Preliminary Finals with a week off, while Nunawading host Geelong Supercats in the semi-finals.

MELBOURNE TIGERS 21 | 23 | 17 | 15 (76)
BENDIGO BRAVES 15 | 22 | 29 | 20 (86)

Bendigo Braves fairy-tale run continued on the weekend, showing they were far from making up the numbers in the finals series, toppling Melbourne Tigers despite a slow start. The Tigers were well on top at MSAC, an arena they had turned into a fortress since their only loss of the season there – ironically against Bendigo in Round 1 – to lead by six points at the first break and then extend that lead to seven by the major break. The scoring spread of the Braves kicked into gear in the third term as they piled on 29 points to 17 to retake the lead by five points, then they went on with the game in the final term with a 20-15 final quarter to win, 86-76. Ray Turner continued his great season form with 27 points and 15 rebounds, as well as two blocks and a steal. He was far from alone for the Braves however as Mathiang Muo (24 points, five rebounds) and Deonte Burton (20 point, nine rebounds, six assists) were both dominant close to the post. For the Tigers, Nic Pozoglou finished his season off strongly with 21 point, seven rebounds and a steal, while William Hickey and Jack Purchase both finished the game with 19 points and nine rebounds. The result meant Bendigo move through to face Kilsyth Cobras in the semi-finals, while Melbourne Tigers head to the off-season, unable to advance past the first week of finals despite the fifth placed finish.

NBL1 Men’s finals preview: Qualifying and Elimination finals

FIFTEEN rounds down and eight teams remain in the hunt for the inaugural National Basketball League (NBL)1 Men’s title. Four games play out over the weekend, with Ballarat Miners securing the minor premiership and up the other end, Bendigo Braves sneaking into the finals in eighth.

EF2: GEELONG SUPERCATS vs. DANDENONG RANGERS
Saturday July 27, 7.00pm
Geelong Arena

Last time they met: Geelong Supercats (74) defeated Dandenong Rangers (69)

In a fairly even contest, Geelong took home the points at the same venue they will square off at on Saturday night, with an 18-12 third term the real difference between the sides. Lewis Thomas (21 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals) and Demarcus Gatlin (15 points, 10 rebounds and two assists) were the best for the Supercats, while Dexter Kernich-Drew (16 points, four rebounds and two assists) and Tim Lang (15 points, 11 rebounds) never stopped trying for the Rangers.

Recent form:

Geelong Supercats have been inconsistent in the run home, winning four of the past seven, but two of those three losses came against minor premiers Ballarat Miners, while the third was against a desperate Bendigo Braves outfit in the final round.

Dandenong Rangers have won four of their past five games after dropping the two games prior to that, donning the same win-loss ratio as the Supercats.

Key Players:

Demarcus Gatlin (Geelong Supercats) – 20.7 PPG | 7.4 RPG | 3.9 APG | 2.4 SPG

The prolific 193cm guard has been a steadying influence for the Supercats this season, rarely having a poor game, and most importantly able to pad up stats across all the key areas. It is no surprise that Gatlin looms as the wildcard for the Supercats, particularly off the boards with Lewis Thomas and Ma’alo Hicks the other dangers to watch for the Rangers.

Lucas Barker (Dandenong Rangers) – 15.3 PPG | 5.2 RPG | 6.8 APG | 2.0 SPG

Dandenong has an even spread of contributors, with the Rangers often having different top scorers each week. Barker has been the one consistent force across the season, with just he and Tim Lang being the only players to start in all 20 of the matches. Barker is more of the playmaking type, assisting his teammates almost seven times per game, whilst hitting the scoreboard and getting off the boards despite being 185cm.

How will it play out?

Remarkably Geelong are the lowest scoring team in the competition despite sitting sixth, averaging just 80.8 points per game. However the Supercats are also the second best defensive team behind the Miners, keeping their opponents to a stingy 79.8 points per game. It shows that if the Supercats are to win, it will likely be a low-scoring contest, whereas Dandenong prefer higher scoring contests, ranked fourth overall for most points (91.7 per game) and eleventh for points conceded (88 per game).

QF1: BALLARAT MINERS vs. KILSYTH COBRAS
Saturday July 27, 7.30pm
Mars Minerdome

Last time they met: Kilsyth Cobras (71) defeated by Ballarat Miners (87)

It has been almost two months since the Miners and Cobras faced off on the court, as Ballarat got up by 16 points, surviving a third quarter challenge from the home side to run away with the contest 31-17 in the final term to win 87-71. Jerry Evans Jr (22 points, five rebounds) and Josh Fox (19 points, 18 rebounds) were sensational for the winners, while Isaac Turner (20 points) and Peter Hooley (12 points, nine rebounds) were the best for Kilsyth.

Recent form:

After dominating the season with just two losses in the opening 13 rounds, the Ballarat Miners have not won since July 6, dropping back-to-back games to Waverley Falcons and Melbourne Tigers. It may not be a huge concern considering they had top spot locked up for some time, but they do not have the most impressive form coming into the finals.

Kilsyth have had a mixed bag of results leading into finals with four wins from the past seven games, suffering a heavy loss to Frankston Blues in Round 14, but managing wins over finals sides Dandenong Rangers and Nunawading Spectres in the past few weeks.

Key Players:

Jerry Evans Jr (Ballarat Miners) 19.2 PPG | 7.6 RPG | 1.8 APG | 1.9 SPG | 0.7 BPG

The 208cm forward is a man mountain and hard for any side to stop on his day, with more than a quarter of his points coming from the line after being fouled heading to the basket. He is not a huge threat from beyond the arc, but he gets right under the post and makes opposition sides nervous with his offensive drives, and has been Ballarat’s key scorer during the season.

Tohi Smith-Milner (Kilsyth Cobras) 15.7 PPG | 8.4 RPG | 2.1 APG | 0.9 SPG | 0.5 BPG

The Melbourne United forward-center is similar to Evans Jnr in the fact that he stands at 206cm and is a hard man to move. There were some nervous moments in the late part of the season when he had an ankle concern, but he bounced back to finish the season strongly and looms as the key in a well-rounded Cobras attack. Hooley and Turner are among the others to watch.

How will it play out?

Ballarat Miners are a defence-first side, averaging the lowest points conceded by a mile, restricting their opponents to just 76.2 points per game, whilst ranked sixth overall for points scored with 90.2 per game. The Cobras have made it into the top four off the same philosophy, ranked fourth for least points conceded (84.1), but a lowly eleventh for points for (85.8). It means the clash is likely to be low-scoring, but chances are that Ballarat will be able to find more ways to the basket with so many scoring options.

QF2: FRANKSTON BLUES vs. NUNAWADING SPECTRES
Saturday July 27, 7.30pm
Frankston Basketball Stadium

Last time they met: Nunawading Spectres (73) defeated by Frankston Blues (86)

In the game that was played early on in the season, but ultimately handed Frankston the home final, the Blues started strongly to lead by nine at the first break, and then broke even with the Spectres in the third term before running out 13-point winners. Five players reached double-figure points and at least six rebounds for the Blues, led by Majok Majok (18 points, six rebounds) while Najeal Young (15 points, 12 rebounds) picked up a double-double. For Nunawading, Costa Hronopoulos shot 21 points, five rebounds and two assists, while Simon Conn (16 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks) was consistent across the board.

Recent form:

Frankston Blues have had a remarkable revival since starting the season at 1-4, winning 13 of the next 15 games to not only secure a finals berth, but become a genuine contender when the whips are cracking. With nine wins in their past 10 games, the Blues are the most in-form side in the competition winning their past eight matches.

Nunawading Spectres have won seven of their past 10 and whilst they lost the right to a home final due to the head-to-head loss to Frankston, the Spectres are surprisingly better on the road than at home. With a mediocre 5-5 home record, the Spectres have not had such trouble when bonding on the road with nine wins from 10 games and the only loss coming against Kilsyth Cobras. With four wins from the past five games, the Spectres are heading into the finals series in fairly strong form.

Key Players:

Damon Bozeman (Frankston Blues) 20.0 PPG | 4.8 RPG | 2.6 APG | 1.6 SPG

The 190cm guard is one of three Frankston players to have started in every game this season, giving the Blues great consistency throughout the year. With just over 51 per cent accuracy from the field, Bozeman could have averaged even more than his 20 points per game, but he gets the numbers across the board, particularly defensively with 1.6 steals per game, and 78 of his 96 rebounds coming off the defensive board.

Simon Conn (Nunawading Spectres) 19.4 PPG | 10.2 RBG | 2.1 APG | 0.7 SPG | 0.7 BPG

The huge 206cm centre will be a real issue for Frankston, as he positions himself well under the boards to be one of the most prolific rebounders in the competition. Nunawading has not had a consistent line-up the whole year, with Conn’s 19 starts the most of any player. Of his 19.4 points per game, 81.5 per cent come from the field, with most of them close to the basket. Not a renowned three-point shooter with just four triples made in season 2019, Conn is one who teammates look to close to the rim given his accuracy.

How will it play out?

Unlike the first two finals, expect this to be a high-scoring extravaganza. Ranked first (Frankston – 94.2 points for per game) and second (Nunawading – 92.8 points per game) for points for, both these sides know how to win big and put plenty of pressure on the opposition guards. Nunawading is the slightly better defensive side, ranked seventh in the competition for least points conceded (84.6 per game) to Frankston’s ninth placed ranking (87.8).

EF1: MELBOURNE TIGERS vs. BENDIGO BRAVES
Sunday July 28, 1.00pm
Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC)

Last time they met: Melbourne Tigers (69) defeated by Bendigo Braves (73)

You have to go back to the opening round of the season to see these two sides going head-to-head with Bendigo Braves getting up in a four-point thriller over the Tigers. They had control for most of the day, with the home side piling on 14 points to eight in the final term to cut the deficit to just four by the buzzer. Ray Turner scored 16 points, 14 rebounds and four assists in Bendigo’s win, while Matthew Andronicos (16 points, seven rebounds) was also busy. For the Tigers, Nic Pozoglou was the standout with 18 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and two blocks, while partner-in-crime Dane Pineau had 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Recent form:

After three consecutive losses – including a heartbreaking one-point defeat to Frankston, Melbourne Tigers found form in the remaining weeks, winning their three last games heading into finals to secure a top eight spot.

Bendigo had to dig deep to make finals, winning four of the past five to scrape into the top eight and steal eighth spot. They toppled the Geelong Supercats in the final round which would give them confidence after less than convincing wins over league battlers Knox Raiders and Diamond Valley Eagles, as well as a loss to Albury Wodonga Bandits.

Key Players:

Nic Pozoglou (Melbourne Tigers) 19.2 PPG | 10.2 RPG | 3.3 APG | 1.9 SPG | 0.6 BPG

The Illawarra Hawks forward might have only managed five NBL games in the 2018/19 season, but if his form is anything to go by in the NBL1, expect him to find himself a part of the action more often. Pozoglou averaged 19.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, one of the few to end the season with a double-double average. He also set up teammates and won the ball back from the opposition, being a one-man show when times were tough, and enjoying a great partnership with Pineau when the two were in together on 13 occasions.

Ray Turner (Bendigo Braves) 22.9 PPG | 12.3 RPG | 2.0 APG | 1.0 SPG | 1.3 BPG

The 206cm forward will be up there in contention for the league best and fairest after a massive season for the Braves. Like Pozoglou, Turner finished the season with a double-double average with 22.9 points and 12.3 rebounds, whilst having a couple of assists, and a steal and block per game. At his height he is hard to contain, particularly close to the basket, and he gets it done at both ends with the bulk of his rebounds coming off the defensive boards. His free throw percentage is a little low compared to others at just under 70 per cent, but he knows how to put the points up regardless of whether he makes it to the line.

How will it play out?

Melbourne Tigers are ranked tenth overall for points for (86.9 per game), but still well ahead of Bendigo Braves (84.5) who sit in the bottom four. Defensively it is the other way around with Bendigo third overall for least points conceded (82.5 per game) compared to Melbourne who is still relatively strong defensively (84.5). Melbourne are capable of putting up a big score, but also matching the Braves defensively, and in terms of home and away records, with the Tigers winning 10 of a possible 11 games at MSAC – the last time they lost at home was the opening round to Bendigo – they have turned their home court into a fortress. Bendigo is mediocre on the road with five wins from 10 games.

NBL1 Men’s Round 15 review: Frankston grabs home final as Bendigo sneak in

WAVERLEY Falcons will be left wondering what could have been after back-to-back losses knocked the Falcons out of the top eight, missing out on finals by three points after going down to both Tasmanian sides and allowing Bendigo Braves back into the contest. In the standalone Friday night game, everything went according to play in the first term against Hobart Huskies for the Falcons to race to a 10-point lead, but the Huskies took control of the home court advantage to cut into the deficit and eventually run out on top with 13 more points in the second half. Jalen Adams put on a show for the home fans, sinking 35 points at a remarkable 84.2 per cent from the field, whilst picking up nine rebounds, three assists and two bocks. Tad Dufelmeier (18 points, six rebounds and eight assists) and Zachary White (17 points, six rebounds and three blocks) were also prominent for the Huskies. Dylan Travis was phenomenal for the Falcons, posting up 40 points along with four rebounds, three assists and three steals though it was all for nought, while Deondre McWhorter (16 points, 12 rebounds and three assists) also picked up a double-double. In the eight-point loss to North West Thunder to seal their fate, the Falcons again had a couple of big contributors with Travis (30 points, six rebounds, five assists and five steals) everywhere, while Bennie Lewis (33 points, three assists and two blocks) assisted with the scoring power, as McWhorter almost picked up another double-double with 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Nick Banyard sank 29 points and had 16 rebounds along with three assists for the Thunder, while Paul Campbell also picked up a double-double in the win, thanks to 15 points and 14 rebounds as well as five assists.

The team that benefited from Waverley’s demise was Bendigo Braves who caused an upset win against Geelong Supercats, denying the Supercats a double chance in the process. The Braves won each of the four quarters on their way to an impressive 84-67 victory that just might be the spur they needed heading into finals. Mathiang Muo posted 30 points, five rebounds and two assists, while Ray Turner was superb again with a double-double of 20 points, 12 rebounds and two assists. Deonte Burton (13 points, six rebounds and six assists) was the other Brave to make double-figure points. For the Supercats, Demarcus Gatlin impressed again with 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals, while Lewis Thomas (15 points, seven rebounds) and Ma’alo Hicks (12 points, six rebounds) tried hard.

Meeting the Braves in the first final is Melbourne Tigers who stood up when required, downing minor premiers Ballarat Miners by eight points, then toppling Eltham Wildcats by 12 the next day to lock up fifth spot, narrowly missing out on a double chance. The Tiers’ fast start against the Miners was key, as they piled on 27 points to 14 in the first term, and lead by 14 at the main break. The Miners hit back to cut the final margin to single digits, but it was a case of too little, too late. Dane Pineau and Nic Pozoglou went to town off the boards for the Tigers, combining for a mind-boggling 38 rebounds – more than the entire opposition side – whilst posting 18 points apiece and sharing in seven assists. Michael Luxford (seven assists) and Mike Wells (13 points) also played supporting roles in the win. For the Miners, it marked back-to-back losses heading into finals which might be a concern, but Marqueze Coleman (24 points, four rebounds and six assists), Sam Short (19 points, four rebounds and three assists) and Jerry Evans Jr (12 points, 11 rebounds) still had solid games. In the 82-70 victory over Eltham, Pineau had a game-high 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Pozoglou picked up 16 points and seven rebounds, as well as three assists and four steals. Young star William Hickey helped himself to a double-double with 10 points, 11 rebounds and three assists, while Jack Purchase (11 points, four rebounds and four assists) was also impressive. For the Wildcats, Adam Doyle picked up 16 points, four rebounds, five assists and two steals, while Geremy McKay (13 points, 11 rebounds) had a double-double and Ovie Magbegor (12 points, eight rebounds) was also solid off the boards.

Dandenong Rangers also played two matches over the weekend, but with mixed results, going down to Kilsyth Cobras to lose out on a potential double chance, before managing to secure seventh with an important win over Ringwood Hawks on Sunday. In the narrow defeat to Kilsyth, the Rangers lead at half-time before the Cobras piled on 27 points to 17 in the third term to set themselves up for a vital win. Tohi Smith-Milner sank 28 points, nine rebounds and four assists in the win, while Isaac Turner (23 points, three rebounds and two assists) and Sean MacDonald (16 points, five rebounds and seven assists) were both busy. For the Rangers, Dexter Kernich-Drew (22 points, four rebounds and five assists) was the top scorer, while Sam Froling (20 points, 10 rebounds) picked up a double-double, a feat Lucas Barker narrowly missed out on (eight points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and two steals). In the Rangers’ five-point victory over Ringwood in overtime, the players shared the points around with Froling (18 points, seven rebounds and four assists) topscoring, while Kernich-Drew (17 points, three rebounds and three assists) and Josh Oswald (17 points, eight rebounds) found plenty of points from the field, as did Barker (14 points, seven rebounds and nine assists) who again narrowly missed out on a double-double, and almost a triple-double. Shaun Clarke (24 points, nine rebounds) and Matthew Fennell (23 points, 15 rebounds) did the bulk of the damage for Ringwood along with Adrien Sturt (20 points, six rebounds and three assists).

Frankston Blues secured second spot with a vital 14-point win over Southern Sabres on Sunday. The Blues looked comfortable throughout the four quarters to win the first three terms and eventually get the points, 97-83. Majok Majok scored 21 points and had nine rebounds, while Alister Macdonald (13 points, three steals) and Igor Hadziomerovic (12 points, seven rebounds) were both busy across the court. For the Sabres, Rhys Carter stood up with 24 points, 10 rebounds and five steals, while Kingsley Box (15 points, five rebounds) and Sam McDaniel (13 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and two steals) were impressive. The Sabres had a second loss the day before, going down to Diamond Valley Eagles by just three points in a heartbreaker after leading throughout the match. Carter (18 points, four rebounds and six assists) and McDaniel (16 points, eight rebounds) were again prominent in defeat, while Jamie Batish had 11 points and three rebounds. Logan Hovey was the standout player on the court, picking up a double-double with 28 points and 10 rebounds, while Anthony Odunsi (20 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals), Joel Spear (15 points, four rebounds, five assists) and Ben Allen (13 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals) were all prominent.

In the other games, Knox Raiders claimed a narrow three-point win over Albury Wodonga Bandits, while Nunawading Spectres finished the regular season with a win to give themselves a chance at second spot prior to Frankston’s win, after also getting up by three points over Eltham Wildcats. In Knox’s win, Adam Thoseby scored 20 points and had six rebounds, whilst Torren Jones was massive for the Bandits in defeat with 26 points and 14 rebounds. For the Spectres, Simon Conn (23 points, 18 rebounds) was one of four players to reach double-figure points on his side in the victory, while McKay (24 points, 10 rebounds) also picked up a double-double despite Eltham’s second defeat of the weekend.

Round 15 results:

Hobart Huskies 98 defeated Waverley Falcons 95
Albury Wodonga Bandits 96 defeated Knox Raiders 99*
Geelong Supercats 67 defeated by Bendigo Braves 84
Kilsyth Cobras 94 defeated Dandenong Rangers 86
North West Thunder 103 defeated Waverley Falcons 95
Diamond Valley Eagles 85 defeated Southern Sabres 82
Eltham Wildcats 94 defeated by Nunawading Spectres 97*
Ballarat Miners 78 defeated BY Melbourne Tigers 86
Dandenong Rangers 111 defeated Ringwood Hawks 106
Southern Sabres 83 defeated by Frankston Blues 97
Melbourne Tigers 82 defeated Eltham Wildcats 70

Final ladder:

1 Ballarat Miners 16-4
2 Frankston Blues 14-6 (lower percentage but head-to-head record has Blues slot into second)
3 Nunawading Spectres 14-6
4 Kilsyth Cobras 12-8
5 Melbourne Tigers 12-8
6 Geelong Supercats 12-8
7 Dandenong Rangers 11-9
8 Bendigo Braves 11-9

9 Hobart Huskies 10-10
10 Waverley Falcons 10-10
11 Diamond Valley Eagles 9-11
12 Albury Wodonga Bandits 8-12
13 North West Thunder 8-12
14 Knox Raiders 8-12
15 Basketball Australia CoE 8-12
16 Ringwood Hawks 6-14
17 Eltham Wildcats 6-14
18 Southern Sabres 5-15

Finals Week 1:

Ballarat Miners vs. Kilsyth Cobras
Frankston Blues vs. Nunawading Spectres
Melbourne Tigers vs. Bendigo Braves
Geelong Supercats vs. Dandenong Rangers

NBL1 Men’s Round 13 review: Ballarat Miners juggernaut rolls on

THE Ballarat Miners continue to reign supreme in the National Basketball League (NBL)1, showcasing another strong 97-69 win at home against the Geelong Supercats. Despite opening decently in the first term to trail by six, the Supercats’ were let down in the second, with Ballarat increasing their lead to 18 points by the main break. Forward, Joshua Fox came close to a double-double in the win with 21 points, nine rebounds, two assists and 66 per cent shooting from inside the arc. His teammates, Kuany Kuany (23 points, four rebounds and three assists) and Jerry Evans Jr (21 points, seven rebounds and three assists) also impressed at home. For the Supercats, Lewis Thomas led the way, dropping 16 points with eight rebounds and two assists in the loss, but pulled up poorly with his shooting efficiency (6-17). Teammate, DeMarcus Gatlin, also impressed with 17 points, three rebounds and two assists – making up for his team’s poor shooting with 7-11 for the night.

The Geelong Supercats managed to clean up their work on the road in their second outing, defeating the Ringwood Hawks 77-88. The Supercats only conceded the one term in the win, besting the home side comfortably in the opening half. Despite hitting back in the second, Ringwood’s efforts could not get them to the line. As we enter Round 14, the win drops the Supercats in 4th while the Hawks continue to struggle at the bottom in 17th. Cousins was huge in Geelong’s win, earning 26 points, eight rebounds and five assists with a 56 per cent field goal (FG) efficiency. Teammates, Anthony Williams (22 points, three rebounds and four assists), Ma’alo Hicks (11 points and five rebounds) and Thomas (10 points, nine rebounds and seven assists) also impressed for Geelong. Matthew Fennel (16 points and eight rebounds) and Adrien Sturt (15 points and eight rebounds) led scoring for Ringwood and protected the paint well. Off the bench, Jacob Gibson and Trevor Latham, impressed with 15 and 13 points respectively – Latham hitting 6-7 from just 18 minutes.

The Ballarat Miners continued to dominate the round with an 89-60 win over the Hobart Huskies at home. The Miners opened with a 28-18 first term before closing their lead out to 13 points at the main break. Hobart pulled closer in the second (17-14) and third terms (19-15) but were blown away in the fourth (25-13) to lose by 29 points. Evans Jr dropped a double-double in victory with 21 points and 11 rebounds – putting him 10th for PPG for the league. Teammates, Deng Acuoth (14 points, eight rebounds and two assists), Sam Short (15 points, three rebounds and eight assists) and Fox (14 points, seven rebound and five assists) also came close to double-doubles but fell short despite impressive numbers. Jalen Adams led for the Huskies with 13 points and eight rebounds, while Tad Dufelmeier followed close on 11 points and seven rebounds. In Hobart’s first game they faced the Kilsyth Cobras at home and won 80-62. Both sides impressed in the opening half, sitting 35-35 at the main break. Though the Huskies proved too good, surging to a 45-27 half to close out the game. Dufelmeier controlled the floor with 22 points, seven rebound and six assists, while Adams hit a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Jacob Richards was also a highlight, hitting 18 points, six rebounds and three assists across 24 minutes. For Kilsyth, Tohi Smith-Milner earned a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, alongside guard, Isaac Turner, who dropped 15 points in the loss.

The Kilsyth Cobras followed up their first loss in Tasmania with an important 81-86 win over the North West Thunder. Despite opening the first half three points better than the visitors, the Thunder’s sub-par third term (16-22) may have cost them the game, with the Cobras shooting clean across four terms (21-21-22-22). Milner came close to a double-double in the win, securing 25 points, nine rebounds and two assists alongside teammate, Turner (24 points), who followed close on the board. The pair were assisted well by guard, Michael Wearne (15 points, four rebounds, five assists), and forward, Chris Patton (14 points, seven rebounds and four assists), opening up the offense with their playmaking ability. In the loss, Jordan Bowling, was immense for the Thunder, dropping 25 points, 13 rebounds and four assists on his way to a double-double. Nicholas Baynard (16 points, 13 rebounds and four assists) and Joseph Chilcott (14 points) were similarly impressive.

In the tightest game of the round, the Frankston Blues come out on top in a 99-98 thriller against the Melbourne Tigers. The game opened in Frankston’s favour, outscoring Melbourne 52-46 in the first half, scoring 50 points from the paint for the game. Melbourne responded well in the second half, scoring 25 points from turnovers, coming extremely close with a 18-27 final term. Igor Hadziomerovic dominated on the board for the Blues, scoring 25 points with three rebounds and five assists, while teammate, Najeal Young, dropped a double-double with 20 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. Damon Bozeman also impressed for the Blues with 18 points and seven rebounds. Michael Wells was unstoppable for the Tigers, scoring 39 points with three rebounds and two assists at 59 per cent FG efficiency. Michael Luxford was also impressive with 23 points, four rebound and three assists, while Nic Pozoglou had 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists in the loss.

Frankston followed up their impressive win over Melbourne with a second over the Southern Sabres (119-92) at home – making it six in a row for Frankston. The Blues blitzed the Sabres in the second term, dropping a massive 38 points to 21 to take a 22-point lead into the half. The Blues dominated in the paint (58-points) and off the fast break (26) but struggled defensively at times, allowing more scores from turnovers (18). The Sabres kept close in the second half but failed to shorten the margin from the second term. Young could not miss for the Blues, dropping 25 points with an 84 per cent FG efficiency, four rebounds and two assists. Bozeman finished similarly with 26 points at 70 per cent FG efficiency, six rebounds and three assists, while Alister Macdonald impressed off the bench with 17 points and four rebounds from 21 minutes. For the Sabres, Samuel Mcdaniel led with 20 points, five rebounds and four assists, with David Barlow (13 points, four rebounds and six assists) and Ryan Beisty (12 points and six rebounds) also impressing in the loss.

The Bendigo Braves gain some much-needed separation from the Diamond Valley Eagles with a tight 86-84 win at home. The win puts Bendigo in 7th spot – only one win off 5th, while Diamond Valley place in thirteenth, just win ahead of 16th. Despite the Eagles big second term (21-30), the effort fell short with Bendigo winning the remaining quarters. Ray Turner dominated the game for the Braves, recording a double-double with 31 points, 16 rebounds and three assists, while Mathiang Muo also held his own with 17 points. Logan Hovey recorded a double-double, earning 27 points, 10 rebounds and three assists for the Eagles, while Anthony Odunsi held up with 17 points. The loss marks Diamond Valley’s third consecutive defeat, worsening their record on the road with two wins and seven losses.

Following the tight affair in Bendigo, the Albury Bandits continue the night with a huge 110-71 win over the Eltham Wildcats. Despite the 39-point margin, the Wildcats kept close in the first term, scoring 25 points to 27. They went on to lose touch in the second (28-12), conceding 20 points from turnovers and 16 points from second chances for the game. Ken-Jah Bosley starred in the win with 31 points, four rebounds and five assists, alongside Torren Jones, who recorded a double-double with 25 points and 15 rebounds. Coming off the bench, Deba George recorded a double-double with 20 points, four rebounds and 13 assists. In the loss, Josh Sykes picked up 21 points and seven rebounds, while guard, Justin Aver, finished with 11 points, six rebounds and four assists.

The Knox Raiders cop a huge 40-point loss (66-106) against the Nunawading Spectres, who were successful in protecting their near-perfect record on the road (8-1-0). The Spectres shut down the game early, scoring 40 points to 15 in the second term to take a 28-point lead into the main break. With 55 points scored from the bench, Lucas Walker recorded a huge double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds, alongside Jack Saunders (12 points) and Andrew Steel (13 points, two rebounds and three assists) who also starred off the bench. Of the starters, Costa Hronpoulos (15 points, four rebounds and three assists) and Simon Conn (14 points and seven rebounds) impressed the most for the Spectres. Mike Rose led for the Raiders with 12 points, three rebounds and four assists – Simon Grant (10 points, eight rebounds and two assists) and James Hunter (10 points, two rebounds and two assists) also impressing.

In the last game of the round the Dandenong Rangers move to sixth on the table following an 82-95 win over the Waverley Falcons. The Falcons did well to cut the margin to five points by the end of the third, but lost touch in the fourth; Dandenong managing 21 points from turnovers and 12 from fast breaks for the game. Dexter Kernich-Drew performed well with 28 points, five rebounds and four assists, alongside Matt Kenyon (18 points, seven rebounds and three assists) and Lucas Barker (12 points, six rebounds and six assists) who also had good games. The Waverley Falcons had big performers in Dylan Travis (24 points, seven rebounds and six assists) and Deondre Mcwhorter (23 points and 12 rebounds). Michael Harper (12 points, six rebounds and four assists) and Bennie Lewis (13 points) also impressed in the loss.

Round 13 results:

Ballarat Miners (97) defeated Geelong Supercats (67)
Hobart Huskies (80) defeated Kilsyth Cobras (62)
North West Thunder (81) defeated by Kilsyth Cobras (86)
Frankston Blues (99) defeated Melbourne Tigers (98)
Bendigo Braves (84) defeated Diamond Valley Eagles (82)
Albury Wodonga Bandits (110) defeated Eltham Wildcats (71)
Ballarat Miners (89) defeated Hobart Huskies (60)
Knox Raiders (66) defeated by Nunawading Spectres (106)
Ringwood Hawks (77) defeated by Geelong Supercats (88)
Frankston Blues (119) defeated Southern Sabres (92)
Waverley Falcons (82) defeated by Dandenong Rangers (95)

NBL1 Men’s Round 12 review: Miners lock up double chance

BALLARAT Miners have secured the double chance in the National Basketball League (NBL)1 competition, moving four and a half games ahead of fifth placed Kilsyth Cobras with just four games remaining. The Cobras do have a game in hand meaning they could theoretically move past the Miners should they win all their games and Ballarat lose all their games, but they face fourth placed Frankston Blues on the run home meaning there is no way the Miners can drop out of the top four. Ballarat made it possible thanks to a narrow six-point win over Diamond Valley Eagles at home. The Miners never had it their own way, trailing by as much as seven points at the final break, before piling on 18 points to five in the final term to run out 79-73 victors. Kuany Kuany topscored with 19 points as well as six assists, four rebounds and three steals, while Josh Fox (12 points and 15 rebounds) and Deng Acuoth (11 points, 11 rebounds) picked up double-doubles and Jerry Evans Jr (14 points, nine rebounds and three assists) was not far off one either. Anthony Odunsi was the standout for the Eagles with 26 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Ben Allen (17 points, eight rebounds and three assists) was also solid for the losing side.

Diamond Valley Eagles had a second loss in a tough fixturing round – playing the top two sides – going down to second placed Nunawading Spectres, 97-109. The Spectres won every quarter, but by no more than five points in a tight contest that saw one of the title contenders prevail well. Tom Wright sank 27 points as well as eight rebounds and three assists for the winners, while Lucas Walker (15 points, nine rebounds), Simon Conn (15 points, eight rebounds) and Dain Swetalla (19 points, six rebounds) were all strong off the boards. Shane McDonald was the playmaker for the side with nine assists to accompany his 10 points and three rebounds in the win. Logan Hovey was a standout for the Eagles, finishing with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Matt Reynolds (15 points, four rebounds) and Odunsi (11 points, seven rebounds and five assists) were also productive in defeat. In the Spectres’ other game, they triumphed by three points over Ringwood Hawks in a thriller. Like the Miners, the Spectres were forced to come from behind, trailing by five points at the final break having lost the first three quarters. But as every great side does, Nunawading found a way and broke through for a home victory. Swetalla (19 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals) and Conn (18 points, 10 rebounds) picked up double-doubles while Wright had another big game, posting 20 points, three rebounds and four assists in the win. Matthew Fennell (22 points, seven rebounds) and Adrien Sturt (19 points, six rebounds and two blocks) were the best for the losers.

After the narrow loss, Ringwood had to back up against Knox Raiders the next day, but were overwhelmed as the Raiders kept their finals hopes alive in the 114-97 win. Despite a dominant second term by the Hawks which saw them take a five-point lead into the main break, the Raiders had their measure, slamming home 65 points to 43 in a dominant second half performance on their way to a 17-point success. Damon Heuir led the way with 25 points, one of six Raiders to reach double figures as Cadarian Raines (18 points, 12 rebounds and three assists) picked up a double double and Mike Rose (18 points, six rebounds and nine assists) was not far behind. Sturt again impressed for the Hawks in defeat with 24 points and two rebounds, while Fennell picked up a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Jacob Gibson worked hard for 16 points, two rebounds and three assists.

Knox’s finals hopes remained alive thanks to losses to the teams just inside the eight such as Waverley Falcons (now ninth) and Melbourne Tigers (sixth but just half a game in front). The Falcons went down to cellar dwellers Southern Sabres in the final match of the round, losing 77-91. In a dominant last term, the Sabres came from three points down to post 27-10 and run away 91-77 winners. Sam McDaniel (15 points, 12 rebounds and four assists) picked up a double-double, while Rhys Carter (21 points, five rebounds and three assists), Jaden Weldon (14 points) and Callan McDonald (10 points, eight rebounds) were all busy. For the Falcons, Deondre McWhorter‘s double-double (20 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks) caused headaches for the visitors, while Tim Liesting (21 points, three rebounds and three assists) and Dylan Travis (17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists) came close to a double-double himself.

The Tigers’ trip down south was not a pleasant one, dropping both games to North West Thunder (eight points) and Hobart Huskies (21 points) to now sit a game off fourth and only half a game inside the top eight. In the Thunder’s loss, the Tigers started strongly to lead by seven points at the first break, but the Thunder pulled back over the next three quarters to draw level by the final buzzer, then finish stronger in overtime scoring 15-7 to win 90-82. Nick Banyard posted 24 points, 15 rebounds and three assists in a massive game, while Jordan Bowling (16 points, 12 rebounds) also picked up a double-double. Kai Woodfall (21 points, three rebounds and two assists) and Reyne Smith (11 points, three rebounds, two assists and three steals) were also productive. Mike Wells (23 points, six rebounds and four assists) was impressive for the Tigers, but it was Nic Pozoglou back to his best, posting a double-double of 20 points, 16 rebounds, three assists and three steals to tighten the screws on the Thunder. Young star William Hickey helped himself to 16 points, six rebounds and three assists in one of his best games for the year. The Tigers were no match for the Huskies in their clash, as Hobart’s Jalen Adams produced a huge 28-point game, well aided by partner-in-crime Tad Dufelmeier (12 points, nine rebounds and seven assists) and Jacob Richards (13 points, nine rebounds and two assists) off the boards. Pozoglou again looked impressive with 19 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals, while Hickey had 18 points and nine rebounds in defeat.

In one of the most crucial games of the round heading into the weekend, Dandenong Rangers were able to breathe a sigh of relief, defeating Kilsyth Cobras by 11 points at home. The Rangers trailed by a point at half-time but went on with it in the second half courtesy of a 45-33 performance. Lucas Barker (24 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists) was just one rebound off a triple-double, while Dexter Kernich-Drew (21 points, two rebounds) and Matt Kenyon (17 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals) were also solid. It was an even performance across the board for the Cobras despite the defeat, with Michael Wearne (17 points, four rebounds), Felix Van Hofe (17 points, five rebounds) and Tohi Smith-Milner (14 points, seven rebounds) all balancing between scoring and rebounding work. The Cobras loss opened the door for the resurgent Frankston who took the opportunity with both hands as they dismissed Albury Wodonga Bandits, 120-105 in a high-scoring contest on the road. In a remarkable final term, the Blues scored a competition-high 41 points in a quarter to race away with the victory. Damon Bozeman recorded an equal game-high 26 points, four rebounds, two assists and three steals, while Daniel Trist (15 points, 13 rebounds) picked up a double-double, while Igor Hadziomerovic (19 points, five rebounds) and Majok Majok (14 points, eight rebounds and three assists) were also terrific. Torren Jones (26 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks) was the standout for the Bandits in the loss, while Deba George (24 points, four rebounds, five assists and three steals) and Cirkook Riak (19 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals) also tried hard throughout.

In the other two games, Geelong Supercats proved too good for Southern Sabres, winning 89-78 thanks to Lewis Thomas (22 points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals), Anthony Williams (20 points, two rebounds and five assists), Demarcus Gatlin (16 points, seven rebounds, two assists and three steals) and Ma’alo Hicks (14 points, 11 rebounds and two assists). The Sabres’ David Barlow (18 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists) came agonisingly close to a triple-double, while McDaniel was busy again with 17 points and nine rebounds – almost a double-double. Meanwhile Bendigo Braves came from 14 points down at half-time to run out four-point victors on the road against Eltham Wildcats thanks to a 59-41 second half to remain in the eight by half a game. Ray Turner was the difference with 36 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks in a huge game for the Braves, well assisted by Mathiang Muo (16 points) and Daniel Hansen (13 points, four rebounds and six assists). Adam Doyle was the top scorer for the Wildcats, finishing with 22 points, seven assists and three rebounds, while Josh Sykes (19 points, eight rebounds, two steals and three blocks) and Geremy McKay (17 points, 12 rebounds and two assists) were their usual impressive selves.

Round 12 results:

North West Thunder 90 defeated Melbourne Tigers 82
Dandenong Rangers 95 defeated Kilsyth Cobras 84
Southern Sabres 78 defeated by Geelong Supercats 89
Nunawading Spectres 99 defeated Ringwood Hawks 96
Albury Wodonga Bandits 105 defeated by Frankston Blues 120
Hobart Huskies 102 defeated Melbourne Tigers 81
Ballarat Miners 79 defeated Diamond Valley Eagles 73
Eltham Wildcats 88 defeated by Bendigo Braves 92
Diamond Valley Eagles 97 defeated by Nunawading Spectres 109
Knox Raiders 114 defeated Ringwood Hawks 97
Waverley Falcons 77 defeated by Southern Sabres 91

NBL1 Men’s Round 11 review: Hooley’s triple double sinks Spectres

A TRIPLE-double to Kilsyth Cobras’ Peter Hooley was the highlight of the National Basketball League (NBL)1 Round 11 competition, with some surprising results. The Cobras downed Nunawding Spectres by 12 points in what was a forgettable weekend for the visitors, also going down to Waverley Falcons at home. Kilsyth became the first home side to post victory over the Spectres this season, testament to Nunawading’s superior ability to get the job done on the road. The Cobras made sure they had the ascendancy early, taking a nine-point lead into half-time, then extending that by as much as 21 by the final break. The Spectres hit back in the final term to cut the final margin to 12, but it was a case of too little, too late. Hooley was dominant all over the court with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, while Tohi Smith-Milner (26 points, 13 rebounds, three assists), Isaac Turner (13 points, four rebounds) and Michael Wearne (13 points, two rebounds) were also important on the scoring end. For the Spectres, Costa Hronopoulos (25 points, 12 rebounds, two assists and two steals) and Simon Conn (22 points, seven rebounds and two assists) were the two who caused the most headaches for the home side.

Nunawading also suffered a devastating overtime loss to finals-bound Waverley Falcons, going down 101-94. The teams could not be split at the full-time buzzer after the Spectres remarkably came back from 15 points down at the main break to claw their way back and draw level. It was the Falcons who found the momentum in extra time, scoring 15 points to eight in the seven-point victory. Deondre McWhorter (33 points, five rebounds and two assists) and Dylan Travis (26 points, 10 rebounds and four assists) were dominant, while Bennie Lewis (15 points, nine rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks) was everywhere. For the Spectres, Conn had another superb game with 24 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Hronopoulos (21 points, eight rebounds and six assists) and Ben Ayre (20 points, six rebounds, eight assists and three steals) all found plenty of buckets on the attacking end. The day before, Waverley went down to a determined Diamond Valley Eagles side, 99-94. Trailing by as much as 14 points at the main break, the Falcons hit back in the second half, but could not force their way in front, going down by five points. Joel Spear was the star for the Eagles with 32 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals), while Logan Hovey (26 points, eight rebounds and two assists) and Anthony Odunsi (18 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals) were also prominent from a scoring perspective. McWhorter was best on court in the loss, posting a mammoth 37 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two blocks, while Lewis (24 points, three rebounds and four assists) was able to contribute on the scoring end as was Tim Liesting (six points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two blocks) off the defensive board.

A team that had a mixed weekend of results Ringwood Hawks, went down to Eltham Wildcats by 28 points, before securing a narrow seven-point win over Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (CoE). The Wildcats proved a bit too strong at home against the Hawks, winning all four quarters on their way to a 107-89 triumph. Adam Doyle was excellent for the home side, registering 31 points, six rebounds, seven assists and three steals, while Geremy McKay helped himself to 21 points, eight rebounds and three assists in the win. Ben Waldren (17 points), Dave Schaffert (17 points, two rebounds and three assists) and Josh Sykes (11 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks) also reached double-figure points in the victory. Adrien Sturt was the top scorer for Ringwood with 15 points, as well as four rebounds and two assists, while Shaun Clarke had 10 points and nine rebounds in a strong effort. In an even better performance, the Hawks toppled the CoE by seven points, having built up a 13-point lead at the main break, before holding on to eventually get home, 101-94. Sturt posted a round-high 42 points, as well as six rebounds and six assists, shooting at an impressive 66.7 per cent from the field, and 85.7 per cent from three-point range. Joey Miller (20 points, four rebounds, eight assists and three steals) and Matthew Fennell (17 points, six rebounds and two steals) were the other two notable scorers. Josh Bannan led the way for the CoE, finishing with 26 points, five rebounds, eight assists and four steals, while Angus Glover helped himself to 21 points, and Hunter Clarke finished with 17. Meanwhile the day before, Melbourne Tigers knocked off the CoE, 96-61 in a convincing victory. Mike Wells led the points scoring for the Tigers with 19, as well as four rebounds, two assists and two steals, while Dave Pineau (15 points, nine rebounds), Michael Luxford (15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists) and Nic Pozoglou (seven points, 16 rebounds and six teals) were impressive off the boards. For the CoE, Clarke was the dominant scorer with 16 points, nine rebounds and two assists, while Bannan had another 11 rebounds, and Kian Dennis shot 14 points and had three rebounds, three assists and two steals.

In the other game on Sunday, top-of-the-table Ballarat Miners moved three games clear on top thanks to a 10-point win over Albury Wodonga Bandits. Jerry Evans Jr had another day out with 28 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks, while Kuany Kuany (20 points, three rebounds and three assists), Josh Fox (15 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and three steals) and Deng Acuoth (seven points, 10 rebounds and four blocks) all worked hard in the victory. For the Bandits, Cirkook Riak managed 26 points and six rebounds, Deba George helped himself to 23 points, four rebounds and a game-high nine assists, while Torren Jones picked up a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds in the loss. There was some celebration over the weekend for the Bandits however, knocking off Southern Sabres by 23 points on the road. Jones (31 points, 17 rebounds and two steals) picked up another double-double, while partner-in-crime Ken-Jah Bosley posted 30 points, three rebounds and three steals. George was the other dominant scorer with 26 points, three rebounds, eight assists and two steals. In the Sabres loss, it was the usual duo of David Barlow (25 points, eight rebounds and two steals) and Sam McDaniel (21 points, four rebounds and two steals) who were among their best.

A team that maintained its percentage lead over the Bandits was Hobart Huskies, who knocked off Knox Raiders on Friday night in a three-point thriller. The Huskies came from 13 points down at quarter time to storm to the front in the third term and lead by three at the final break before a topsy-turvy final term saw that deficit remain by the final buzzer. Tad Dufelmeier posted 23 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and five steals, while Jalen Adams (17 points, eight rebounds), Zachary White (16 points, seven rebounds, two assists and three steals) and Jack Stanwix (17 points, three rebounds and three assists) were also busy in the match. Adam Thoseby (25 points) led the way for the Raiders, while James Hunter picked up a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds, as did Cadarian Raines, registering 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Raiders rebounded from the loss to the Huskies to knock off the other Tasmanian side in North West Thunder, getting up by 13 points. Thoseby again top scored with 22 points and six rebounds, while Raines (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Hunter (10 points, 12 rebounds) picked up double-doubles in the second game as well. Lachlan Dent (12 points, three rebounds, four assists and three steals) was solid for the Thunder, while Jordan Bowling (16 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals) was the losing side’s best. The Thunder was returning from an unsuccessful trip to Geelong on the Friday night, going down to the Supercats by five points in a gallant effort. The Thunder shocked the home crowd to lead by 11 points at quarter time, but by the main break, the Supercats were up by three in a change of fortunes. That margin was five by the final break and it was enough to see them hold on by that margin with an even final term. Ma’alo Hicks had 20 points, four rebounds, two assists and four steals in the win, while Lewis Thorne (18 points, 11 rebounds picked up a double-double) and Demarcus Gatlin (nine points, six rebounds and six assists) played an all-round game. Bowling again top scored for the Thunder with 19 points as well as seven rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Nick Banyard (16 points, nine rebounds) and Joseph Chilcott (15 points, seven rebounds and two steals) were also productive in defeat.

In the other game over the weekend, Frankston Blues got up over Dandenong Rangers by 12 points, knocking their neighbouring rivals down to eighth, and now sit just percentage outside the top four in a remarkable season revival. Lachlan Barker scored 23 points, nine rebounds and five steals, while Daniel Trist (18 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals), Najeal Young (15 points, nine rebounds and two steals) and Damon Bozeman (16 points, two rebounds and four assists) were all impressive for the Blues. Matt Kenyon (19 points, four rebounds and three assists) led the way for the Rangers, while Lucas Barker (15 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals), Tim Lang (14 points, six rebounds and three assists) and Dexter Kernich-Drew (10 points, 10 rebounds) were others who stood up despite the defeat.

Round 11:

Geelong Supercats 79 defeated North West Thunder 74
Hobart Huskies 89 defeated Knox Raiders 86
Melbourne Tigers 96 defeated Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence 61
Southern Sabres 84 defeated by Albury Wodonga Bandits 107
Dandenong Rangers 82 defeated by Frankston Blues 94*
Diamond Valley Eagles 99 defeated Waverley Falcons 94
Bendigo Braves 84 defeated by Ballarat Miners 88
Kilsyth Cobras 99 defeated Nunawading Spectres 87
North West Thunder 61 defeated by Knox Raiders 74
Eltham Wildcats 107 defeated Ringwood Hawks 89
Ballarat Miners 103 defeated Albury Wodonga Bandits 93
Ringwood Hawks 101 defeated Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence 94
Nunawading Spectres 94 defeated by Waverley Falcons 101

NBL1 Men’s Round 10 review: Sabres show bite in upset, as Miners and Spectres win top-four clashes

SIX of a possible 10 National Basketball League (NBL)1 Men’s games were decided by 10 points or less in a thrilling round of action. Of those games, one included an overtime win to last placed Southern Sabres to upset the Dandenong Rangers, while both top four clashes lived up to expectations with a combined five points separating the sides.

The game of the round was Southern Sabres’ massive upset over the Dandenong Rangers, winning just their third game of the year, while handing the fifth placed Rangers a reality check. The 138-130 high-scoring victory saw the Sabres welcome back both David Barlow and Sam McDaniel, who along with Nicholas Gabsch who did as they pleased. Barlow had 30 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and five steals, only bettered in the points stakes by Gabsch, who finished with 32 points, four rebounds, two assists and one steal. McDaniel was the playmaker in the attacking half, sinking 22 points while having 12 assists and five rebounds in a big return game. For the Rangers, Dexter Kernich-Drew helped himself to 28 points, two rebounds, three assists and two blocks, while Matt Kenyon (27 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and five steals) and Lucas Barker (22 points, six rebounds, 13 assists and two steals) were also impressive despite the defeat. The loss saw Dandenong drop two places down to seventh after wins to Kilsyth Cobras and Frankston Blues.

The Cobras accounted for Knox Raiders by 13 points in their game despite a really slow start. The Cobras trailed by 13 points at half-time, then something clicked to cut the deficit to seven by the last change, then run away with the game in the final term, shooting 34 points to 15 in a one-sided quarter. Isaac Turner was busy with 24 points, two rebounds, two assists and three steals, while Peter Hooley (15 points, four rebounds, six assists and three steals), Owen Odigie (15 points, five rebounds and three steals) and Tohi Smith-Milner (14 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals) were also productive for the Cobras. For the Raiders, Cadarian Raines were best on court with 19 points, seven rebounds and two assists, while Adam Thoseby also had 19 points, and Mike Rose finished with 10 rebounds and five assists to accompany his nine points. The Raiders were able to turn things around in their second game, leapfrogging the Eltham Wildcats after a 77-72 win over them at home on Sunday. Thoseby was strong in attack with 22 points, while Raiders picked up a casual 18 rebounds and 13 points, while Simon Grant had 12 rebounds and four assists on the day. Adam Doyle was the clear standout for the Wildcats with 32 points, four rebounds and three assists, while Josh Sykes (15 points, seven rebounds and five blocks), Ben Waldren (15 points, four rebounds) and Geremy McKay (11 rebounds, five assists and two steals) all contributed despite the loss.

It was a disappointing weekend for the Wildcats who suffered another narrow defeat the day before, going down to Diamond Valley Eagles by four points. The Eagles dominated the second term by nine points, and despite the Wildcats cutting the last break deficit to three points, could not get the win in the 82-78 defeat. Sykes picked up 25 points, eight rebounds, two steals and four blocks in the loss, while McKay (14 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and three steals) and Doyle (13 points, six rebounds and four assists) enjoyed strong games. For the winners, Logan Hovey had 23 points, six rebounds and two assists, while Darcy Harding had 20 points, five rebounds and four assists. Liam Thomas was big off the boards with 12 rebounds to go with his nine points, while Anthony Odunsi had 13 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals in the win.

In the first game of the weekend, Frankston Blues continued their great form to knock off Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence on the road, and move up to sixth place on the table. The Blues proved too good over the four quarters despite slipping behind by seven points at the first break, piling on 33 points to 12 as a response in the second quarter. When challenged in the third, the Blues stepped it up again with a 28-17 final term to win, 100-78. Daniel Trist had 21 points and eight rebounds, while Najeal Young (19 points, seven rebounds), Damon Bozeman (17 points, six rebounds and six assists) and Lachlan Barker (16 points, two rebounds and two assists) continued their even contributions throughout games. Josh Bannan was the best for the young stars, adding 17 points and three rebounds, while Hyunjung Lee (14 points, four rebounds and two assists) and Hunter Clarke (10 points, five rebounds and four assists) also reached double figures.

In the two top four clashes, Ballarat Miners and Nunawading Spectres got the points over Geelong Supercats and Melbourne Tigers respectively in their victories. The Miners led throughout the game but never looked entirely comfortable, getting out to an eight-point lead at the final break before the home side cut the full-time deficit to just four in the 62-66 loss. Jerry Evans Jr (19 points, seven rebounds and four blocks) and Marqueze Coleman (17 points) were the key scorers for the Miners, while Josh Fox and Deng Acuoth shared in 26 rebounds while shooting seven points apiece. For the Supercats, Demarcus Gatlin had 22 points, eight rebounds, three assists and seven steals to do all he could for his side, while Lewis Thomas (12 points, 14 rebounds, two assists and two steals) and Nick Owusu (12 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals) were also productive. In Nunawading’s narrow one-point win over Melbourne, the Spectres came from a point down at the final break to post a 19-17 final term to just survive in a 81-80 victory. Simon Conn was best on court for the Spectres with 22 points and 14 rebounds, while Shane McDonald (16 points, two rebounds and five assists) and Costa Hronopoulos (11 points, seven rebounds) were also important in the win. Dane Pineau (22 points, 15 rebounds, six steals and two blocks) was superb in defeat for the Tigers, while Mike Wells (16 points, six rebounds and two assists) was also crucial.

Meanwhile Bendigo Braves all but ended Albury Wodonga Bandits’ chances of finals, while jumping into the top eight themselves courtesy of an on-the-road win at Lauren Jackson Sports Centre. The Braves dominated early to lead by 14 at half-time and were able to control play from there in the 93-83 victory. Deonte Burton (29 points, five assists and three steals) and Mathiang Muo (28 points, five rebounds and two assists) were the dominant scorers for the Braves, while Torren Jones (20 points, 11 rebounds) and Ken-Jah Bosley (16 points, seven rebounds and three assists) were prolific for the Bandits. In the all-Tasmanian battle, North West Thunder got up at home by 21 points over Hobart Huskies. Paul Campbell had his best game of the season with a remarkable 21 points, 21 rebounds, three assists and six blocks in a match-winning effort, while Jordan Bowling (19 points) and Nick Banyard (11 points, 11 rebounds and four assists) also reached double-figure points for the Thunder. Jalen Adams (16 points, five rebounds), Zachary White (10 points, five rebounds and two steals) and Jordan Hargrave (10 points, four rebounds and two assists) were the other ones who scored more than five points in a disappointing loss for the visitors. In the last game of the round, Waverley Falcons got the job done as expected against the lowly Ringwood Hawks in a 97-78 victory. Deondre McWhorter was the standout with 30 points, 19 rebounds, two assists and two steals, while Dylan Travis (18 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and four steals) was everywhere on the court. Despite the loss, Matthew Snow (21 points, seven assists and three rebounds) and Joey Miller (20 points, three rebounds) hung tough for the Hawks.

Round 10 Results:

Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence 78 defeated by Frankston Blues 100
Dandenong Rangers 130 defeated by Southern Sabres 138
Geelong Supercats 62 defeated by Ballarat Miners 66
Kilsyth Cobras 90 defeated Knox Raiders 77
North West Thunder 75 defeated Hobart Huskies 54
Eltham Wildcats 78 defeated by Diamond Valley Eagles 82
Albury Wodonga Bandits 83 defeated by Bendigo Braves 93
Knox Raiders 77 defeated Eltham Wildcats 72
Nunawading Spectres 81 defeated Melbourne Tigers 80
Waverley Falcons 87 defeated Ringwood Hawks 78