Tag: jerry evans jr

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.

NBL1 Men’s finals review: Preliminary Finals

IN a remarkable weekend of National Basketball League (NBL)1 action, the top two teams are out of the premiership race with both Ballarat Miners and Frankston Blues defeated at home in the preliminary finals. The Miners exited thanks to a determined Nunawading Spectres who bounced back from a qualifying final loss to Frankston, to earn a spot in the decider. In the other game, Bendigo Braves somehow have made it to the grand final coming from eighth, knocking out the second placed Frankston Blues.

BALLARAT MINERS 18 | 16 | 15 | 19 (68)
NUNAWADING SPECTRES 26 | 15 | 16 | 18 (75)

Nunawading has survived an almighty comeback from minor premiers Ballarat Miners to salute on the road in its preliminary final, and make the 2019 NBL1 Men’s decider. The Spectres lead for practically the entire game, taking the lead midway through the first term and getting out to as much as a 15-point lead with less than five minutes remaining in the third term. Nunawading held firm in that term to extend its three quarter time lead out to eight points – the same margin it had been at quarter time. The Miners rallied as you would expect in the final term, as they piled on 11 points to two for the home crowd to get up and about. But the Spectres refused to give in, getting back on top, ad while the Miners had a one-point advantage thanks to a Kuany Kuany lay-up with less than three minutes left to the clock, it was all Nunawading from there, scoring eight of the last nine points to win, 75-68. Dain Swetalla was superb throughout to continue his remarkable finals series, posting 27 points, 10 rebounds and an assist, shooting at 64.3 per cent from the field, as well as making all of his seven free throws. Tom Wright scored 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists, while Simon Conn also reached double figures with 12 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals. Shane McDonald was the playmaker with nine points and nine assists, while Costa Hronopoulos was prominent near the boards with eight rebounds, as well as four points and three assists. Josh Fox was the top scorer for Ballarat with 22 points, five rebounds and two assists, while Kuany helped himself to 13 points and five rebounds.Sam Short (11 points, six rebounds and five assists) and Jerry Evans Jr (10 points, eight rebounds) were the other two who stood out on the scoring end. Unfortunately for Ballarat, a remarkable season falls one game short of the ultimate decider, while for Nunawading, its dreams of holding up the title remain very much alive.

FRANKSTON BLUES 20 | 10 | 13 | 24 (67)
BENDIGO BRAVES 21 | 23 | 16 | 25 (85)

While the other preliminary final could have gone either way, there was little doubting that Bendigo Braves were deserved winners in their clash on the road with Frankston Blues. The eighth placed side has earned a spot in the 2019 NBL1 decider despite just scraping into eighth and having to have three consecutive road trips during the finals. Travelling to MSAC, Kilsyth and now Frankston held no fears for the Braves who are running on serious adrenaline. The Blues are normally good starters and whilst they did have an old-fashioned arm-wrestle with the Braves in the first term to trail by one point at quarter time, their woes in the middle patches of games – as had been the case in their qualifying final win over Nunawading – came back to bite them as they managed just 23 points to the Braves’ 39 to open up a 17-point lead at the final break. The Blues found their groove again in the final term but it was too little, too late for the home side, losing the term by one and the game by 18 as the Braves advanced through to the grand final in what is one of the great finals stories. Mathiang Muo top scored for the Braves, piling on 25 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals, while Deonte Burton had 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists and four steals in a great all-round game. Ray Turner was enormous defensively, having 13 rebounds – 11 up the defensive end – as well as 16 points and two steals, while Chris Hogan had 13 points and three rebounds in the win. For Frankston, Damon Bozeman was the clear standout with 16 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks, while Igor Hadziomerovic finished with 15 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Najeal Young (11 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals) also reached double-figure points, as did Daniel Trist off the bench (12 points, seven rebounds). At the end of the day though, it was the remarkable work of Bendigo across the court winning both the rebounding and assists stats, and shooting more comfortably from the field – 45.2 per cent to 35.2 per cent. They now advance through to the grand final against Nunawading.

NBL1 Men’s finals preview: Preliminary Finals

IT is preliminary finals time and just four teams remain in the hunt for the National Basketball League (NBL)1 Men’s title. The top three teams remain, whilst Bendigo Braves are the wildcard side coming from eighth to have a chance at the most unlikely of title runs.

BALLARAT MINERS vs. NUNAWADING SPECTRES
Saturday August 10, 7.30pm
Mars Minerdome

In the first of two massive preliminary finals, we have the sides predicted to be in this fixture with first and third going head-to-head in Ballarat. The Miners have been the standout team of the competition this year, and whilst they did slip a little towards the end of the season with back-to-back losses, the guaranteed minor premiership might have been a relaxant heading into finals. They showed no signs of complacency against fourth placed Kilsyth Cobras in the qualifying final, defeating them as the Cobras headed out of the title race in straight sets. Now the Miners face the third placed Nunawading Spectres, who fell to second placed Frankston Blues in their quarter final clash.

If there is one area that Ballarat had looked vulnerable it was at home, winning eight of 11 matches – which is still incredibly good – but not compared to their road trip record of nine from 10. The Spectres are a high-scoring side who have the capability of putting massive scores on the board. Ranked second overall in the points for race, the defensive aspect is the area that can let the Spectres down, with teams also able to put up big numbers against them. Ballarat on the other hand have no problems scoring – though they average less than Nunawading – but their defensive work is second to none, with still far an away the least points conceded in the competition – 1590 – despite playing an extra game compared to 10 of the sides. The Miners percentage of 108.5 is also exactly 10 per cent more than the Spectres who rank second.

In the first round of the season these sides faced off with Ballarat having to come from five points down at half-time to win the second half by 12 and secure a 94-87 win at Nunawading. They won three of the four quarters in that match, but a second term of 31-16 really let the visitors down. Jerry Evans Jr and Josh Fox both put up 20 points, while Fox also recorded 13 rebounds. Deng Acuoth picked up 10 rebounds himself for the Miners, as Sam Short had 17 points and eight rebounds, and Kuany Kuany had 19 points and six rebounds. For the Spectres, Tom Wright was the man on the points end, posting 25 points, five rebounds and four assists, while Dain Swetalla picked up a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Simon Conn was quieter than usual with just 12 points, four rebounds and three assists, though Shane McDonald managed the 15 points and four assists. The stats were pretty even across the board, but the Miners were better in the defensive attributes, including steals (7-3) and blocks (6-2), but really dominated the rebounding category, picking up 48 rebounds to 33, including 12 offensive rebounds to seven, allowing them to pick up double-chance points.

In this game, the Miners will head in as deserving favourites with a nice balance of point scorers, rebounders and playmakers. Evans Jr had a quiet game last time out against the Cobras, but the likes of Fox and Kuany stepped up in his absence to combine for 36 points and 15 rebounds. Ballarat did record 14 turnovers in the win which is something they might want to watch, but they do record plenty of points off the bench with both Marqueze Coleman and Acuoth proving handy, combining for 32 points and 17 rebounds in the quarter final. If Nunawading can take anything from the game against Frankston, it has to be avoiding a slow start. The Spectres remarkably won three of the four quarters, but went down by 10 points courtesy of a shocking 37-19 term. They also trailed at quarter time against the Supercats, but were able to get it back and steady thanks to a much better second half. If Ballarat starts strong, watch out, where if Nunawading can weather the early storm, they will be best positioned for a chance at glory.

FRANKSTON BLUES vs. BENDIGO BRAVES
Saturday August 10, 7.30pm
Frankston Basketball Stadium

Beware of the underdog is the message that Frankston Blues players will receive this week, as the second placed side faces an opponent they probably would not have expected to face in the third week of finals. The eighth placed Bendigo Braves snuck into the final post-season series spot courtesy of favourable results in the last round, but have made it count with back-to-back finals wins against fifth placed Melbourne Tigers, and fourth placed Kilsyth Cobras. The Blues did not look completely convincing against Nunawading Spectres in the qualifying final after quarter time, but given the lead and the Blues’ ability to do enough to secure the points, they have had the rest that Bendigo has not been afforded due to the eighth placed finish.

In season 2019. Frankston has won eight of 11 home games, and seven of 10 away games, signalling the Blues are comfortable wherever they play on any given day. The Braves have won six of 10 at home and seven of 12 away, but as the past two weeks have shown, regular season form means little once you hit the finals. Frankston have stormed to a massive nine wins on the trot after looking in trouble in the opening month of the season, while Bendigo looked great early, dropped off and then picked up again to win seven of their past 10 games, including their last four. Both teams know how to score, with Frankston being the highest scoring team in the competition, while Bendigo are not too far behind. Defensively, Bendigo is the better side, able to strangle the opposition and try and grind out a low-scoring victory, while Frankston is more than comfortable in a shootout situation. In saying that, Bendigo had to win a 115-104 match against Kilsyth in the semi-final, so the Braves can turn it on if required.

The last time these sides played, Bendigo was on a high and Frankston was struggling, which resulted in the Braves getting the points, 88-73 at home. In that match, Frankston led at quarter time, but the home team took control from there, winning the final three terms to secure the 15-point victory. Matthew Andronicos picked up a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Jake Cowling (19 points, five rebounds), Ray Turner (16 points, four rebounds), Chris Hogan (10 points, six rebounds and four assists) and Deonte Burton (eight points, seven rebounds and eight assists) all shared the load. For Frankston, Damon Bozeman had 19 points and nine rebounds, but it was the starring performance of Majok Majok off the boards, posting 14 points, 15 rebounds and four assists that kept the visitors in the match. Igor Hadziomerovic (17 points, six rebounds and three assists) and Lachlan Barker (13 points, two rebounds and two assists) also contributed in the loss.

In this game, it will be a similar case to what Kilsyth was supposed to do last week, and the Blues need to stop Ray Turner. He is the number one point-scoring machine and overall star of the side, not to take anything away from the likes of Burton and Muo who have really been key over the season. The pair had big games last week at both ends and across the court, combining for 48 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists, with Burton unstoppable for the match. The key with Turner is his efficiency, shooting at an eye-opening 85 per cent from the field last week which helped him get to 37 points, whilst picking up 12 rebounds. It might be up to Barker or Majok to stop Turner from getting easy looks, with the pair very competent blockers. The big difference with Frankston is the Blues are arguably the best rebounding side when their starting five are out there, as all of them provide a presence around the ring. For Bendigo to win, they have to keep doing what they are doing to get this far, but must be aware of how the Frankston guards are positioned and choose good looks when shooting. Frankston like Ballarat are deserving favourites, but it will be a case of whether or not Bendigo can dig deep and win on the road for a third consecutive final, or if the Blues’ firepower can overrun the Braves.

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 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

NBL1 mid-season review: Ballarat Miners/Rush

IN the mid-season break, Basketball Draft Central takes a look at each National Basketball League (NBL)1 team in both the men’s and women’s competition and will analyse how they have performed to date, some of their top performers, and the run home to see if they can make finals. Today we analyse the Ballarat Miners and Ballarat Rush, with the Miners on top of the table and title favourites, while the Rush might rue a slow start to the season with an uphill battle to make finals.

Men:

Position: 1st
Wins: 10
Losses: 2

Home: 3-1
Away: 7-1
Last 10: 8-2

Points For: 1127
Points Against: 907
Percentage: 124.3
Points: 30

Summary:

The Ballarat Miners have emerged as the team to beat this season, sitting on top of the NBL1 Men’s table with 10 wins from 12 games. With 11 wins likely enough to make finals, Ballarat are all but home already despite dropping its two games in the past month. They had been undefeated on the road until slipping up in Round 9 against Frankston Blues, but retain the best defence in the league with just 907 points conceded (75.6 points per game) and the best offence of those having played 12 games or less (93.9 points per game). Jerry Evans Jr is a key reason behind the offensive scoring capability of the Miners, who is averaging 20.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. After Evans Jr, the Miners have an even core of contributors with Kuany Kuany (17.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists), Sam Short (12.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.4 steals), Deng Acuoth (10.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, 3.6 blocks, 1.5 assists and 1.3 steals) and Josh Fox (9.9 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists) all impacting in every game. Marqueze Coleman (16.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.3 steals) has also been superb off the bench for the Miners.

The run home:

R10: Geelong Supercats (A)
R11: Bendigo Braves (A) | Albury Wodonga Bandits (H)
R12: Diamond Valley Eagles (H)
R13: Geelong Supercats (H) | Hobart Huskies (H)
R14: Waverley Falcons (H)
R15: Melbourne Tigers (H)

The Miners will be pleased to have 10 wins on the board so far, with a tough draw in the run home. They have just one bottom six side (Albury Wodonga Bandits) in the home stretch, with two games against title contenders Geelong Supercats, and one against top four side Melbourne Tigers. The other matches against sides ranked ninth to twelfth on the ladder with extra at stake as they try and push into the finals spots.

Women:

Position: 12th
Wins: 5
Losses: 7

Home: 2-2
Away: 3-5
Last 10: 5-5

Points For: 952
Points Against: 966
Percentage: 98.6
Points: 15

Summary:

The Ballarat Rush are likely to rue a poor start to the season, losing the first six games before going on a remarkable five-game winning streak. They were stopped by the hands of Ringwood Hawks on the weekend, before winning against a side in similar form in Frankston Blues. While the past month has been impressive, it will take a massive effort to make finals, and while they are just two games off the pace, they have a horror run home that will require their best each and every week. Olivia Hackmann has been a shining light for the Rush, averaging 19.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game, while Hsi-le Bao has been another who has started in every game as one of the best centers in the competition, averaging 12.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists. Others who have stepped up coming off the bench while starting at least half a dozen times are Chanise Jenkins (14.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 3.3 steals) and Georgia Amoore (12.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.2 steals.

The run home:

R10: Geelong Supercats (A)
R11: Bendigo Braves (A) | Albury Wodonga Bandits (H)
R12: Diamond Valley Eagles (H)
R13: Geelong Supercats (H) | Hobart Huskies (H)
R14: Waverley Falcons (H)
R15: Melbourne Tigers (H)

The Rush have an unenviable run home with two games against top-of-the-table Geelong Supercats, and a road trip against second placed Bendigo Braves. It means the game against ninth placed Albury Wodonga Bandits is a must win, with a loss all but ending their finals hopes. They will start favourites against Diamond Valley Eagles, Hobart Huskies and Waverley Falcons, but will have their work cut out for them against Melbourne Tigers in the final round, with the Rush likely to need to win six of their remaining eight – including finding a win against one of the top two sides.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Round 8 results:

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