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2021 NBL1 Central wrap: Round 15

IT was another action packed round in the National Basketball League (NBL1) Central as the Forestville Eagles claimed a big win in the men’s, while in the women’s it was the Sturt Sabres that walked away with a resounding victory.


Woodville Warriors (77) defeated by Sturt Sabres (99)

Stuart Sabres claimed a 22-point win over Woodville warriors leading from the opening minutes of the game. The Sabres came out with a point to prove in the first quarter piling on 26 points to 24 to take a handy two point buffer into the quarter time break. That momentum continued in the second as they forged ahead ever so slightly. But the nail in the coffin came in the third term where the Sabres added 25 points to 10 to really assert their dominance and then eventually take out the match.

Luke Stanbridge was amongst the action for the Warriors draining 17 points at 40 per cent from the field as he also accumulated four rebounds in the loss. Riley Meldrum was the other main contributor for Woodville as he produced 13 points and collected five rebounds and five assists. Hayden Meakes was arguably best afield for the Sabres sinking 20 points and four rebounds as teammate Keanu Rasmussen got busy with his 15 points, five rebounds and three assists. Joel Spear, Sam Daly and Tom Goodall played instrumental roles in the win nailing 14,12 and 10 points respectively.


Woodville Warriors (43) defeated by Sturt Sabres (126)

It was a complete and utter demolition job by Sturt Sabres claiming a 83-point win over Woodville Warriors. The Sabres came out with a point to prove in the opening term adding 28 points to their opponents 15. But that was only a sign of what was to come as Sturt kept the Warriors to a combined 16 points in the second and third term to really claim the ascendancy. They did not take the foot off the pedal in the final quarter piling on 37 points to 12 to run home with a comfortable win.

Serena Waters was the only player to hit double-digits for the Warriors contributing 11 points to her sides total but she did also managed two rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks. Emily Winter tried hard for her nine points and three rebounds as Katherine Perkas drained six points and five rebounds. It was a different story in the Sabres camp as six players made it out of single digits on the scoring front. Kylee Smith was electric with 21 points in 16 minutes as she also collected seven rebounds. Jade Johnson was commanding producing 15 points and four assists as Tayla Brazel, Zoe Walker-Roberts and Soriah Moon finished with 14 points to their name with the latter also reeling in 10 rebounds.


South Adelaide Panthers (68) defeated by Norwood Flames (73)

It was a tight tussle between South Adelaide Panthers an Norwood flames with the latter just sneaking over the line by a mere five points. The flames got on top nice and early and then really put the foot down in their second term creating a handy 10 point lead at half-time. It turned into somewhat of a shootout in the third term with both sides putting up 22 points but it was not until the final quarter that the Panthers got their rhythm up and running to eat back into the margin in give Norwood a scare, but it was too little too late.

Alex Mudronja was once again a force to be reckoned with topscoring for the Panthers with his 24 points and just fell short of a double-double thanks to his nine rebounds. Todd Davies chimed in with a handy 15 points and eight rebounds as Codey Ellison worked in overdrive for his seven points and impressive 12 rebounds. Matt Lycett was up and about for the Flames recording a team high 21 points at 44 per cent from the field. It did not stop there as Lycett managed nine rebounds and two assists in the win. CJ Turnage was relatively quiet by his lofty standards producing 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists as Daniel Webber proved to be solid thanks to his 11 points.


South Adelaide Panthers (97) defeated Norwood Flames (83)

South Adelaide strung together their third consecutive win after defeating Norwood Flames by 14 points. It was a tight opening first term but South Adelaide managed to get the upper hand albeit by a narrow two points. They continued to work in overdrive in the second term to create a handy buffer and then kept that momentum going in the third quarter where they added 29 points to 18. The Flames hit back in the final term with 24 points to 19 but simply left their run too late.

Olivia Thompson was at her devastating best for the Panthers recording 25 points and a whopping 16 rebounds to accompany her four assists and two steals in what was an all-round stellar performance. Hannah Stewart also stamped her authority on the match topscoring with 34 points at 60 per cent from the field. Jordan Hunter also made sure her presence was felt nailing 14 points and dishing off a staggering 14 dimes in the win. For Norwood it was the ever-reliable Alex Wilson that was running the show with her 30 points, eight rebounds and six assists as Genna Anderson chipped in with 15 points and seven rebounds. The efforts of Tara Girardi and Sophie Kerridge did not go unnoticed sinking 13 and 12 points respectively but it was not enough to get their side over the line.


Southern Tigers (84) defeated Eastern Mavericks (70)

Southern Tigers continued their winning streak to make it four on the trot while the Mavericks continued their struggles. The Tigers established an early two-point lead and proceeded to add to it in the second term with a 25 points to 13 quarter to really tighten the screws. It was closer in the third and the Mavericks managed to outscore their opponents in the final but the damage was already done.

The Tigers had no shortage of scoring options with five players reaching double-digits highlighting just how versatile the squad is. Christian Artacho led the troops with his 17 points, seven rebounds and one assist. He was ably assisted by Nick Wurm who in fine form thanks to his 15 points, nine rebounds, six assists and one steal. Machar Machar also managed 15 points at 47 per cent from the field as Koop McCalop put in the hard yards with his double-double consisting of 13 points and 17 rebounds. Cameron Coleman was the other to feature highly for the Tigers credit to his 11 points and four assists. William Wise was by far the best contributor for the Mavericks posting 28 points in his 40 minutes out on court. He also recorded 11 rebounds in the loss. Teammates Owen Raneberg and Diing Lual both managed 10 points apiece while Tom Cromarty proved to be a force to be reckoned with off the boards thanks to his 12 rebounds.


Southern Tigers (60) defeated Eastern Mavericks (54)

The Southern Tigers survived an overtime scare from the Eastern Maverick to clinch a six point win in what was an incredibly tight contest. The Tigers burst out of the gates in the opening quarter nailing 12 points and keeping the Mavericks to a mere one point. But he Mavericks were not about to lie down hitting back in the second term to add a little bit more respectability to the margin. The momentum swung back and forth with the Mavericks throwing everything they had at the Tigers in the final term to pile on 23 points to six and send the game into extra time. But in the end it was the Tigers that found another gear to kick into running rampant with 11 points to five to steal the win.

Teige Morrell was once again a driving force for the Tigers draining 21 points and a ridiculous 26 rebounds, of which 18 were defensive. She also accumulated four assists and three steals to guide her side to victory. Jemma Thacker was solid with her 16 points, six rebounds and four assists as Isabella Stratford chimed in with 12 points at 50 per cent from the field. Mollie McKendrick led the charge for the Mavericks finishing with 20 points and 15 rebounds. The scoring dropped off after her as Taylor Moffat was the next closest with eight points and Rachel Hines with six.


Central District Lions (90) defeated by Forestville Eagles (111)

Forestville Eagles got the job done by 21 points against Central District Lions in the final game of the round. It was an incredibly high scoring opening first term from the Eagles as they piled on a whopping 37 points and opened up a handy nine-point lead at quarter time. That momentum trickled into the second term as they continued to increase their lead. The third term followed a similar trajectory as Forestville piled on 33 points to the Central District’s 24 holding all this way at three quarter time. Although the Lions managed to peg back the margin in the fourth term it was too little too late as the Eagles ran out victors.

Shaquille Maharaj was the topscorer for the Lions producing 20 points at 41 per cent from the field along with five rebounds and two assists. Magok Manyang chimed in with a handy 17 points in his 30 minutes of court time as Lual Diing also got busy credit to his 16 points and eight rebounds. David Humphries made his presence felt nailing 12 points at 50 per cent from the field. The Eagles were littered with top contributors as Michael Harris and Malith Machar both reached 30 points. Harris walked away with 34 points, four rebounds and seven assists to his name as Malith went one better registering a double-double with his 33 points and `14 rebound haul. Gregory Mays imposed himself with his 19 points and 10 rebounds as did Jake Rios who slotted 10 points and seven assists in the win.


Central District Lions (49) defeated by Forestville Eagles (88)

It was a one-sided affair as the Eagles right over the top of the lions by 39 points. Forestville did all the running in the first quarter and did not stop, more than doubling the score of the Lions in the second term to boast a commanding lead at half time. Forestville simply could not be denied piling on 24 points while keeping the Lions to just 10 in the third highlighting their all-round defensive pressure. Although the scoring dried up a little bit in the final quarter of action the Eagles had done enough to claim the win.

No one managed to record double-digits for the Lions with the highest individual total eight points as held by Erin Boyd, Madelyn Curry and Meaza Otto with the trio also lending a hand off the boards. Rebecca Wells and Samantha Kennett both finished with seven points to their name with the latter also registering four rebounds. However, the Eagles had no trouble scoring as Samantha Simons registered a handy 21 points, five rebounds, six assists and four steals in the win. Amy Cotton had an impact with her 14 points as Zali Grosser managed a double-double credit to her 10 points and 13 rebounds.


Men’s: West Adelaide Bearcats (65) defeated by North Adelaide Rockets (83)
Women’s: West Adelaide Bearcats (85) defeated North Adelaide Rockets (84)

Photo credit: @photographyby.af

2021 NBL1 Central wrap: Round 13

ROUND 13 of the National Basketball League (NBL1) Central played host to a number of cracking matches in both the men’s and women’s leagues.


Forestville Eagles (93) defeated Woodville Warriors (59)

The Eagles bounced back after a loss last round to defeat the Warriors by  34 points. It was a one-sided affair from the opening quarter as the Eagles piled on the scoreboard pressure with their 27 points to 12. They maintained this level of intensity throughout majority of the game and while they lost the third term 13 to 17 they hit back in the fourth with a staggering 32 point quarter. Malith Machar was in fine form for the winners, draining 30 points at 63 per cent from the field, while also recording a ridiculous 21 rebounds. Gregory Mays also got busy sinking 18 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. Jake Rios found his groove finishing with 16 points as Michael Harris managed 14 points and 11 rebounds. For the Warriors it was Joe Jackson that led the way with his 18 points and 13 rebounds. Teammate Daniel McKee was the next prolific credit to his 11 points at 46 per cent from the field. Luke Stanbridge also contributed seven points and 10 rebounds in the loss.


Forestville Eagles (86) defeated Woodville Warriors (60)

It was a comprehensive win for the Eagles who extended their five game winning streak, to six downing the Warriors by 26 points. The Eagles got off to a fast start and did not look like relenting credit to their 11-point lead. In fact they won every quarter bar the last to control proceedings and keep the Warriors at bay despite their best efforts. Samantha Simons was causing all sorts of havoc across the court for the Warriors producing 30 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Cara Annetts was also prominent for the Eagles with her 13 points and five rebounds as Brooke Basham was up to her usual tricks with 12 points at 42 per cent from the field. Emily Winter was the main source of pain dropping 24 points for the Warriors as Serena Waters also contributed a handy 11 points and five rebounds in the loss.


South Adelaide Panthers (75) defeated by West Adelaide Bearcats (87)

West Adelaide Bearcats overcame an early deficit to record victory against the Panthers. Down at quarter time the Bearcats came out with increased intensity in the second quarter to pile on the scoreboard pressure thanks to their 30 points. Neither side could be separated at half time, while there was only one point the difference at three quarter time before West Adelaide put the foot down in a big way in the final stanza. The Bearcats managed 25 points to 14 to steal the win. Owen Hulland and Alex Mudronja worked in overdrive for the Panthers amassing 22 and 20 points apiece whole Todd Davies was another that chimed in with a handy 12 points. Mudronja also managed 11 points and five assists as Hulland registered seven rebounds. Samuel Johns was the only other player to hit 11 points for the Panthers. Four players hit double-digits for the Bearcats with Fabian Johnson recording a team-high 21 points at 53 per cent from the field. Bryan Michaels was also up there for West Adelaide with his 19 points and six assists as Earnest Ross impressed, draining 18 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists.


South Adelaide Panthers (83) defeated West Adelaide Bearcats (72)

The Panthers managed to get the job done against the Bearcats by 11 points in what was a see-sawing affair. The Panthers got off to a hot start but were held to a mere eight points in the second term as the Bearcats took control of the game. That momentum was short lived as West Adelaide wrestled back control but did not fully capitalise until the final term where the home side piled on 30 points to 13. Olivia Thompson and Teresa McGreehan were in full swing for the Panthers as they slotted 23 and 22 points apiece. Thompson did not stop there as she also accumulated 15 rebounds in the win. Jordan Hunter got busy in her 39 minutes out on court with 14 points as Hannah Stewart slotted 11 points at 80 per cent from the field. Jasmin Fejo was in fine form credit to her 27 points and nine rebounds as Jennie Rintala wasted no time with her 22 points and 10 rebounds.


Southern Tigers (65) defeated by Central District Lions (90)

The Central District Lions came with a point to prove in their clash against the Southern Tigers running home with a 25 point win. The Tigers were caught on the backfoot almost instantaneously only managing a mere nine points in the first term while the Lions slotted 22 of their own. Scoring improved for the Tigers as the game went on but the damage had already been done as they found it impossible to inch their way back into the contest despite an improved effort after half time. Both Nick Wurm and Lachlan Olbrich slotted 14 points apiece while Koop McCalop was the other main port of call for the Tigers with 13 points and eight rebounds. Christian Artacho was solid off the boards walking away with 12 rebounds in the loss. David Humphries recorded a double-double for the Lions with his 23 points and 15 rebounds in his 39 minutes out on court. Kiir Deng had a hot hand with his 18 points and 12 rebounds as teammate Magok Manyang did not skip a beat slotting 17 points but at a lowly 29 per cent on the field.


Southern Tigers (79) defeated Central District Lions (39)

It was a white-wash for the Tigers as they collected a 40-point win against the Lions who struggled to fire on all fronts. The Tigers have been in ripping form and this game proved no different as they put the clamps on in defence and poured on the points in offence. The Lions only managed to record 15 points in the opening half. Conversely the Tigers piled on 37 to give them some real ascendancy. Although Central District increased their output in the second half the Tigers were up to the challenge and continued their merry way. Tiege Morrell was a force to be reckoned with slotting 29 points and amassing 13 rebounds in the win as teammate Morgan Yaeger also chimed in with 13 points and six assists. Jemma Thacker and Isabella Stratford were also up to the task with 10 points each. It was a tough day at the office for the Lions but it was Meaza Otto that led the way with her 12 points as Samantha Kennett managed 10 points.


Eastern Mavericks (86) defeated Norwood Flames (98)

The Flames managed to muster up a 12-point win over the Mavericks in what was a hard-fought win. The Mavericks had the upper hand in the opening quarter creating a seven-point lead before Norwood fought back in the second to completely and utterly flip the script. With their tails up at half time the Flames continued the charge into the third and while they were outscored in the final the damage was all but done. William Wise was impressive for the Mavericks sinking 27 points while also registering 13 rebounds and two assists while Owen Raneberg chimed in with 19 points and five rebounds in the loss. Tom Cromarty and Isaac Warhurst worked hard for their 14 and 11 points respectively but it was not enough to get their side over the line. It was a masterclass from CJ Turnage as he topped the table with his 26 points and 15 rebounds to record another double-double. Ray Harding was the next best with 16 points while both Daniel Webber and Jordan Wilson helped out with 14 and 11 points with the former also imposing himself off the boards with 12 rebounds.


Eastern Mavericks (64) defeated by Norwood Flames (75)

The contest between the Mavericks and Flames was intense but in the end it was the Mavericks that fell short, recording their sixth straight loss. The Flames claimed the lead early and steadily increased their buffer at half time. They did not take the foot off the pedal in the third and while the Mavericks came back in the fourth the game had already been won and done. Mollie McKendrick had an impressive performance for the Mavericks sinking 21 points and 15 rebounds, 12 of which were defensive. Kedeisha Kartinyeri also provided a helping hand with her 11 points and five rebounds while teammate Rachel Hines was the next highest contributor with her eight points in 35 minutes. Alex Wilson topscored with 23 points at 42 per cent from the field along with 11 rebounds as Sophie Kerridge also got busy with her 17 points.


North Adelaide Rockets (94) defeated Sturt Sabres (90)

It was a tight tussle between North Adelaide Rockets and Sturt Sabres as the two sides battled it out. In the end it was the Rockets that walked away with the chocolates thanks to a blistering first term of basketball. The Rockets added 31 points to their tally to kickstart proceedings before the Sabres steadily pegged the margin back but fell short of the win. Jack McVeigh was in scintillating form for North Adelaide draining 33 points, seven rebounds and three assists while Jimma Dau found his groove shooting at 56 per cent from the field for his 17 points. Tobias Dowdell also made his presence felt thanks to his 13 points. Sam Daly topped the table for the Sabres with his 26 points as Keanu Rasmussen registered 22 points and five rebounds. Joel Spear managed a double-double with his 10 rebounds and 10 points.


North Adelaide Rockets (79) defeated by Sturt Sabres (84)

The final game of the round between the Rockets and Sabres went down to the wire as the Sabres survived a late comeback from North Adelaide to secure the win. The Sabres snuck out to a narrow lead at quarter time and by half time established a five-point lead. the Sabres elevated their offence in the third pouring on 20 points but the Rockets were not about to lie down, going all out in the final stanza but falling just short. Jess Good was a key target for the Rockets draining 25 points and a whopping 23 rebounds. Taylor Ortlepp and Abigayle Mader both managed 16 points apiece in the loss as Sam Defrancesco chimed in with 12 points. For the winners, Kylee Smith was up and about with her 19 points as Kayla Matthews also collected 16 points and six rebounds. Zoe Walker-Roberts also played a crucial role with her 13 points as Nicola Mathews slotted 14 points at 50 per cent from the field.

Photo credit: Kelly Barnes/AllStar Photos

Sydney Kings season review

WITH the National Basketball League (NBL) season done and dusted we take a look at the performance of each team and how they fared in season 2021. The next team under the microscope is 2020 grand finalists Sydney Kings.

Season Summary:

Similar to the Bullets, it was a season of “what if?”s for the Sydney Kings who left their run just a little too late, ultimately missing out on finals. After making the grand final last season the Kings were unable to replicate that same level of form with a number of key injuries plaguing their side and pushing them onto the back foot.

The finals race went right down to the wire as the Kings kept the door ever so slightly ajar with fans and players alike hoping that there was a chance they could make it. A slow start to the season put them on the back foot while a couple of big injuries also stopped them in their tracks. Throw in their inability to rely on their dominant scorers and it was an up and down season for the Kings.

How It Unfolded:

It was only percentage that separated the Kings from finals and fifth spot but unfortunately for them they were unable to get over the line and missed their chance to fight it out for the coveted title. The Kings finished with a 19-17 record, the same as South East Melbourne Phoenix, showcasing just how close they were to competing but simply could not finish it off.

Sydney were faced with the Taipans in their opening match and while they did not get off to the start they would have hoped for, they redeemed themselves the following round to even the ledger. Little did fans know that this start was going to indicate the pattern for the rest of the season as the Kings struggled to find consistency or notch up consecutive wins. Every time Sydney started to generate any form of winning momentum they would be brought to a halt whether it be with injury or a surprise loss which kept them teetering on the edge of the top four rather than deep inside.

What Worked Well:

Although they did not make finals there are still plenty of positives to take out of the season for the Kings as the Sydney side bled up a number of young players given the number of injuries the side sustained. One main player that took his game to a whole new level was Dejan Vasiljevic who was tipped to take out the Rookie of the Year prior to his season-ending injury. Vasiljevic averaged an impressive 16.1 points, 1.9 assists and 3.75 rebounds a game highlighting his ability to have an impact at both ends of the court.

The Kings as a whole averaged 87 points per game, the fourth most of any side in the competition, even beating the likes of Illawarra who finished in third spot proving scoring was no issue. With Casper Ware at their disposal and both Jarell Martin and Vasiljevic when fully fit, the Kings had no shortage of options. The combination of Ware (17.67 points, 4.44 assists and 3.25 rebounds) and Martin (17.93 points, seven rebounds and 1.11 assist) was almost impossible to stop when the two got up and running.

What Went Wrong:

There was a very dark injury cloud hanging over the Sydney Kings for the best part of the season. they simply could not retain a fit roster with a number of important players being struck down by lengthy injuries. Xavier Cooks only managed the eight games for the season as he recovered from a foot injury while the experienced head in Daniel Kickert also succumbed to injury. Angus Glover was another one that fell to injury, doing his fourth anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). But arguably the biggest blow to the Kings campaign was that of Didi Louzada and Vasiljevic who ruptured his Achilles, ending his season on the spot.

While personnel was an undeniable issue for the Kings who had been riddled with injuries another concern for the side was the number of points they conceded. Sydney allowed their opponents to average 86 points a game the fifth most of anyone in the competition.

MVP Conversation:

Ware was always going to be a front-runner for the Sydney Kings MVP and rightfully was awarded the side’s top honour after another consistent season. With players falling all around him, Ware was the one that stood up to the plate time and time again and even recorded a career-high 40 points against the Taipans.

Roster News:

A number of key cogs have already signed on for next season with Australian Boomers representative Cooks signing on to stay with the purple and gold for another year. Cooks had limited court time throughout the season due to injury, only playing eight games, but his experience, class and star power will be handy to have as the side looks to rekindle its dominant form.

New Zealander Tom Vodanovich has recommitted to the club. Joining the side as a replacement player in January, Vodanovich was a quiet achiever for the side, able to come on and have an impact and will be eager to continue his development further next season. He joins the likes of Martin who had a breakout season in 2021 along with Jordan Hunter, Shaun Bruce, Vasiljevic, Glover and Bilwali Bayles.

Looking Towards Next Season:

There are changes aplenty in terms of coaches for the Sydney Kings as they look to unlock a new realm of basketball. Chase Buford has been appointed as the new head coach for the club and has a deep family history of NBA success which he will be hoping to bring over to the Kings.

With a strong core of players already committed for next season the Kings will be hoping to up the ante and make finals. However they will be without the services of James Duncan with the former lead assistant coach trading sides to become the new head coach for the Bullets. With a host of players on the mend from injury it will be exciting to see if they are able to go to the next level with Cooks averaging 10.25 points, 5.13 rebounds and a block per game despite not being able to complete a full pre-season.

Photo credit: Mark Metcalfe

2021 NBL1 Central wrap: Round 11

ROUND 11 of the National Basketball League (NBL1) saw plenty of excitement and big wins as the top of the table Sturt Sabres dominated in their clash against Central District Lions in the women’s while in the men’s it was a much closer round.


Forestville Eagles (89) defeated Norwood Flames (84)

The Eagles just snuck over the line against Norwood by a mere five points to notch up their eighth win of the season. Forestville opened up the lead at quarter time and they steadily grew that margin as the game went on. By half-time the home side was up by six points and kept the foot on the pedal in the third with a 21 to 18 point term. But Norwood rallied in the final term but left their run too late. Brandon Brine had a hot hand for the victors producing 33 points and 11 rebounds while Gregory Mays also chimed in with a handy 20 points and 11 rebounds of his own. Michael Harris also got busy with his 18 points while Jake Rios added 10 points to the winning total. Moses Nuangki was the topscorer for Norwood draining 23 points while CJ Turnage also found his groove with a triple-double thanks to his 19 points, 11 rebounds and 12 rebounds.


Forestville Eagles (56) defeated by Norwood Flames (64)

Norwood Flames overpowered Forestville Eagles in the second term setting them up for their fifth win of the season. it was a hard fought battle between the two sides as they went in hard for everything but in the end it was the Flames that found a winning formula. Brooke Basham was a lady on a mission thanks to her 27 points and six rebounds while Cara Annetts also impressed with her strength off the boards with 10 rebounds. Samantha Simons also got busy with her 12 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Alex Wilson inspired her side to victory thanks to her 26 points and 15 rebounds as Genna Anderson drained 18 points and 10 rebounds in the win.


South Adelaide Panthers (109) defeated Eastern Mavericks (84)

South Adelaide claimed the win over the last placed Eastern Mavericks to improve their standings on the ladder. The Panthers had a commanding lead by the halftime swung around largely in part because of their 24 point to 15 point second term. But it did not stop there as they lifted another level in the third to pile on a whopping 34 points and although the Mavericks mounted a comeback in the final quarter, the game was all but over. Todd Davies had the ball on a string sinking 27 points at 59 per cent from the field while also picking up seven rebounds and four assists. Alex Mudronja made a lasting imprint with his 23 points in 31 minutes as Jarryd Hoppo also came to life with 21 points. Adam Brown was the only other player to reach double digits producing 19 points and six rebounds. William Wise was key for the Mavericks with is 23 points while Tom Cromarty also got involved thanks to his 19 points and eight rebounds.


South Adelaide Panthers (79) defeated Eastern Mavericks (66)

The Panthers collected a 13-point win over the Mavericks leading from start to finish. South Adelaide controlled proceedings and did not let the Mavericks gain any momentum despite going into halftime tied at 40 points apiece. The points were shared around for the Panthers with five players reaching double digits but it was Ashley Spencer that led the charge with 19 in her 36 minutes out on court. Jordan Hunter and Teresa McGreehan managed 13 points apiece in the win while Olivia Thompson registered a double-double with her 11 points and 17 rebounds. Mollie McKendrick was the topscorer for the Mavericks with her 20 points and 11 rebounds while Rachel Hines and Taylor Moffat found their groove with 17 points each.


West Adelaide Bearcats (61) defeated by Southern Tigers (69)

It was a tight tussle between the Bearcats and Tigers with the latter just getting over the line in what was a seesawing affair. Both sides started the game off evenly before West Adelaide created some much needed scoreboard separation to forge ahead. But a huge final term of action from the Southern Tigers stunned the Bearcats as they were kept to a mere five points as the Tigers poured on 24 of their own to steal the win. Earnest Ross impressed with his 16 points and 12 rebounds as Bryan Michaels chimed in with a handy 15 points. Fabian Johnson and Lachie Hunter had no issues off the boards with 12 and 10 rebounds respectively in the loss. Cameron Coleman was amongst the thick of things with his 21 points, six rebounds and four steals while both Koop McCalop and Nick Wurm managed 15 points apiece in the win. Machar Machar hit the scoreboard with eight points but did some of his best work off the boards with 11 rebounds.


West Adelaide Bearcats (64) defeated Southern Tigers (79)

Despite an even first half of basketball the Southern Tigers put the footdown in the second half to seal the deal. West Adelaide held the lead at halftime albeit by two points but that was quickly turned around as the Tigers upped the ante to shift the momentum and steal the game. Jennie Rintala was a real livewire with her 19 points and seven rebounds for the Bearcats while teammate Jasmin Fejo wasted no time slotting 17 points in her 27 minutes to keep her side within striking distance. Teige Morrell continued to be a thorn in the side of the opposition sinking 28 points and eight rebounds as Morgan Yaeger chimed in on the action with 18 points at 43 per cent from the field. Jemma Thacker was the only other player to leave single digits thanks to her 13 points.


Sturt Sabres (96) defeated Central District Lions (89)

Top of the table Sturt Sabres powered past Central District Lions surviving a final quarter fightback. The Lions got the jump start in the first term before the Sabres controlled the second and third quarters with a 27 point to 11 stanza all but setting up the win. Sam Daly and Joel Spear got the ball rolling for Sturt with 25 and 23 points apiece with the latter also dominating off the boards with a huge 16 rebounds. Keanu Rasmussen also imposed himself with his 14 points and five rebounds to get his side over the line. Lual Diing was one of the best on the court for Central Districts with his 18 points at 40 per cent from the field while Shaquille Maharaj was hot on his heels with 17 points and three assists. Brodie Nathan worked in overdrive to keep his side in it with 13 points but it was not enough.


Sturt Sabres (105) defeated Central District Lions (35)

It was a complete demolition job by the Sabres as they walked over the top of Central District Lions by 70 points. The Lions only managed to reach double digits in a quarter once credit to the immense defensive pressure from the Sabres. Central Districts only recorded 16 points in the second half compared to Sturt who poured on 53. Every single player on the Sturt roster hit the scoreboard with Jade Johnson the most prolific of the lot with 30 points, four rebounds, four assists and five steals. Jasmine Rigoni and Kayla Matthews were the next best with 16 points each while Soriah Moon imposed herself off the boards with a whopping 17 rebounds, 12 of which were offensive. April Rummery-Lamb was the main target for the Lions with her 13 points at 83 per cent from the field while Jessica Puvogel slotted 10 points.


Woodville Warriors (96) defeated North Adelaide Rockets (103)

The final game of the round saw North Adelaide Rockets prevail over Woodville Warriors in a close encounter. It was a high scoring affair as a dominant second quarter of action gifted North Adelaide the win. Unable to be separated for majority of the match, the Rockets rallied to grind out the game and keep the Warriors at bay. Julian Jacobs played a full 40 minutes and made his presence felt with his 26 points and 11 rebounds. Joe Jackson nailed 20 points and 11 rebounds as James Boonstoppel also kept the scoreboard ticking over with his 18 points. Jack McVeigh ran riot with his 33 points as Sunday Dech showed his class producing 26 points and 12 rebounds in the win.


Woodville Warriors (70) defeated North Adelaide Rockets (96)

There was plenty to like about the contest between Woodville Warriors and North Adelaide Rockets with the latter pulling away in the second and third term to secure the ascendancy. Although the Warriors showed glimpses of fight they simply could not maintain that level of intensity throughout the match. Emily Winter was dynamic and influential with her 25 points, 10 rebounds and four assists while Serena Waters also chipped in with 13 points. Sam Defrancesco was imperative for the Rockets draining 25 points as Jess Good plied her trade with 17 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists to fall just short of a triple-double.

Photo credit: Kelly Barnes/Allstar photos

NBL1 Central wrap: Round 10

ROUND 10 of NBL1 Central saw a mixed bag of results with a couple of close encounters in both the men’s and women’s league along with some blowout performances.


Norwood Flames (87) defeated Woodville Warriors (84)

It was a close encounter between Norwood Flames and Woodville Warriors with the former securing a narrow three point win. Woodville came out with a real pep in their step in the first quarter before the Flames pegged them back in the second term. Things evened up in the third quarter with Norwood romping it home in the final stanza thanks to a 24 points to 18 term. CJ Turnage was the most prolific scorer for Norwood draining 20 points while also picking up five rebounds, three assists and four steals. Teammate Moses Nuangki was also amongst the action thanks to his 1 points as Anthony Green and Cameron Huefner collected 16 and 12 points respectively. Green and Huefner also had an impact off the boards combining for 19 rebounds. Luke Stanbridge was an imposing force for the Warriors topscoring with 18 points. The efforts of Joe Jackson did not go unnoticed as he recorded a double-double walking away with 16 points and 11 rebounds in the loss as James Booonstoppel also worked in overdrive for his 16 points shooting at 40 per cent from the field. Julian Jacobs just fell short of a double-double draining 17 points but registering nine rebounds and seven assists.


Norwood Flames (89) defeated Woodville Warriors (67)

The Flames made light work of Woodville Warriors claiming a strong 22 point win. They outscored their opponents in every quarter as they steadily edged ahead in the contest with their most dominant term the third thanks to a 26 to 16 point quarter. Alex Wilson was the go to girl for Norwood draining 36 points at 67 per cent from the field while also collecting six rebounds all of which were defensive plus, six assists and five steals. Sophie Kerridge showcased her range with 15 points while Genna Anderson also added 15 to the winning score. Serena Waters had a hot hand shooting 23 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals as teammate Molly Whitmore also played a helping hand with 20 points at 71 per cent from the field.


Sturt Sabres (64) defeated by Southern Tigers (93)

The Southern Tigers put out a comprehensive performance against Sturt Sabres to claim a convincing 29-point win. It was all the Tigers from the opening buzzer as they burst out of the gates piling on 29 points to 16. Although scoring dried up in the second term they re-found their mojo in the third to really put the foot down and claim the ascendancy with the final quarter the icing on the cake. It was a tough day at the office for Sturt despite Tom Goodall and Joel Spear working gallantly. Goodall collected 13 points at 60 per cent from the field as Spear managed 12 at 40 per cent. Keanu Rasmussen was the next closest adding 10 points to the total along with four rebounds as Daniel Nash sunk nine points in his 20 minutes on court. Five players reached double figures for the Tigers as Christian Artacho led the charge with 19 points to his name with teammate, Cameron Coleman hot on his heels with 18 points. Together they also managed 11 rebounds with Coleman also amassing six assists in the win. Nick Wurm and Koop McCalop finished with 15 points apiece as Machar Machar found his rhythm walking away with 13 points, converting at 63 per cent from the field.


Sturt Sabres (68) defeated by Southern Tigers (92)

After an even first term, the Southern Tigers put the foot down in the second and third term piling on 50 points to a mere 18. Although the Sabres won the final quarter it was too little, too late as the damage had been done in the midpart of the game as the Tigers ran rampant. Tayla Brazel and Kylee Smith were the leading points scorers for the Sabres sinking 18 points apiece with Brazel having the upper hand on the rebound front thanks to her seven. There was no shortage of stars for the Tigers as Teige Morrell impressed credit to her 26 points in 31 minutes out on court. She also racked up 14 rebounds, four assists and two blocks in all-round comprehensive performance. Morgan Yaeger was handy chiming in with 20 points as Jemma Thacker and Denelle Fawcett made their presence felt out on court with 13 and 12 points respectively.


Eastern Mavericks (71) defeated by Forestville Eagles (106)

The Eagles came out with a real sense of intensity and purpose and it showed out on court as they stunned the Mavericks trouncing the home side by 35 points. A blistering first term of basketball set the tone nice and early as the Eagles raced out to an 18 point lead and did not relent scoring 60 points in the opening half compared to the Mavericks’ 31. The third quarter was an even better showing as Forestville reeled off 32 points to 18 and while the Mavericks outscored their opponents in the last it was already game over. William Wise tried hard sinking 24 points for the losers while also collecting an impressive 16 rebounds. Callan Prider got involved thanks to his 11 points in his 30 minutes on court as Owen Raneberg drained nine points and picked up seven rebounds. It was a different story for the Eagles as Brandon Brine and Gregory Mays slotted 17 points each. Brine also walked away with a double-double credit to his 14 rebound effort with 11 of them defensive. Jake Rios impressed with his 15 points, two rebounds and three assists as Michael Harris and Isaac Atuer produced 11 and 10 points respectively.


Eastern Mavericks (68) defeated by Forestville Eagles (69)

The battle between the Mavericks and Eagles went right down to the wire as only one point separated the two sides. In the end it was the Eagles that prevailed in a topsy turvy contest. Forestville escaped to a three-point lead early and extended that to five at half time before the Mavericks threw caution to the wind to give themselves a fighting chance in the second half. Rachel Hines was dominant thanks to her 27 points and nine rebounds for the Mavericks as was Mollie McKendrick and Kedeisha Kartinyeri who both recorded 13 points. For the Eagles it was the work of Samantha Simons that charged them home as she walked away with a game-high 35 points, 11 points and four rebounds. Brooke Basham was the only other Eagles player to make it to double-digits recording 16 for the match.


Central District Lions (88) defeated West Adelaide Bearcats (76)

Central District Lions got on top of the West Adelaide Bearcats with a thrilling 12point victory. They blew the Bearcats away in the first term sinking a staggering 27 points while keeping West Adelaide to a mere five. The visitors steadily fought their way back into the game and really upped the ante in the third draining 32 points to 17. But in the end the dominant first quarter was too much for West Adelaide to comeback from as the Lions reigned supreme. David Humphries showcased his class with a game-high 31 points plus nine rebounds, two assists and four steals for the Lions. Magok Manyang and Shaquille Maharaj made their presence felt thanks to their 16 points each and 14 rebounds. Earnest Ross had an impact for the Bearcats sinking 19 points at 50 per cent from the field while Fabian Johnson lent a helping hand with 16 points and six rebounds. Luke Cadzow plied his trade producing 13 points in the loss.


Central District Lions (50) defeated by West Adelaide Bearcats (102)

It was a blowout match between the Central District Lions and West Adelaide Bearcats as the latter run rampant by 52 points. It was all one way traffic from the opening quarter as the Bearcats had no trouble finding the basket and the Lions struggled to combat the offensive heat. Meaza Otto was the biggest contributor for the Lions sinking 17 points and eight rebounds as April Rummery-Lamb slotted 14 points of her own. Jennie Rintala was unstoppable with her 23 points at a staggering 90 per cent from the field while Sky Langenbrinck showed her skillset to register 18 points in the win. Both Jasmin Fejo and Michaela Lappin got busy with their 12 points.


North Adelaide Rockets (85) defeated South Adelaide Panthers (62)

North Adelaide Rockets toppled the South Adelaide Panthers registering a 23 point win. The Rockets sent an early warning sign doubling their opponents score before doubling down in the second term with a dominant 31 to 13 point term. South Adelaide hit back in the third quarter to eat into the margin but a last quarter hoorah from the Rockets sealed the deal. Jack McVeigh made his presence felt with 21 points at 44 per cent from the field while also securing 11 rebounds. Verle Williams also effectively plied his trade registering 19 points as teammate Jimma Dau slotted 15 in his 22 minutes of action. Sunday Dech also chimed in with a handy 14 points and seven rebounds. For the Panthers the efforts of Alex Mudronja stood out as he topscored with 19 points as Todd Davies drilled home 13 points, six rebounds and eight assists. Alex Starling was the sole other Panther to reach double figures with 10 points to his name.


North Adelaide Rockets (79) defeated South Adelaide Panthers (57)

The final game of the round saw North Adelaide Rockets claim victory over South Adelaide Panthers by 22 points. The Rockets imposed themselves early on the contest piling on 22 points to 13 and kept that momentum throughout the second quarter. The momentum shifted in the third and fourth term but the game was already won given the dominant first half of basketball from North Adelaide. Taylor Ortlepp sunk 21 points, six rebounds and five assists as Abigayle Mader, Jess Good and Courtney Hansen all hit the scoreboard with great ease. Olivia Thompson was the strike shooter for the Panthers recording 25 points as Jordan Hunter was the only other to make it out of single digits with 10 points to her name.

NBL1 Women’s stats update: June 10

WITH all four National Basketball League (NBL)1 competitions well underway this season, we look at who is leading the stats in points, rebounds and assists across the board in the women’s divisions.



#1 Olivia Thompson (South Adelaide) 27.33
#2 Teige Morrell (Southern Tigers) 21.55
#3 Samantha Simons (Forestville Eagles) 21.22
#4 Ashley Spencer (South Adelaide) 20.22


#1 Amanda Johnson (SWM Pirates) 29.0
#2 Stephanie Reid (Townsville Flames) 28.0
#3 Kathleen MacLeod (SC Phoenix) 22.6
#4 Mikaela Ruef (Logan Thunder) 22.4


#1 Keely Froling (Launceston Tornadoes) 33.85
#2 Emma Mahady (Albury-Wodonga Bandits) 23.87
#3 Jenna O’Hea (Sandringham Sabres) 23.71
#4 Mariah Payne (Launceston Tornadoes) 22.8


#1 Samantha Lubcke (Willetton Tigers) 24.25
#2 Makailah Dyer (Perth Redbacks) 22.0
#3 Alex Sharp (Willetton Tigers) 21.50
#4 Tayah Burrows (Rockingham Flames) 20.42



#1 Jordan Hunter (South Adelaide) 9.77
#2 Alex Wilson (Norwood Flames) 5.62
#3 Mollie McKendrick (Eastern Mavericks) 5.44
#4 Taylor Ortlepp (North Adelaide) 4.77


#1 Rachael McCully (SC Phoenix) 8.8
#2 Myra Donkin (Cairns Dolphins) 7.8
#3 Kathleen MacLeod (SC Phoenix) 7.8
#4 Mikaela Cann (Logan Thunder) 7.4


#1 Tessa Lavey (Frankston Blues) 7.66
#2 Tess Madgen (Bendigo Braves) 6.57
#3 Amy O’Neill (Sandringham Sabres) 5.71
#4 Monique Conti (Melbourne Tigers) 5.66


#1 Maddison Allen (Perth Redbacks) 5.85
#2 Tayah Burrows (Rockingham Flames) 5.42
#3 Nicole Jorre de St Jorre (Warwick Senators) 5.0
#4 Alex Sharp (Willetton Tigers) 5.0



#1 Olivia Thompson (South Adelaide) 13.11
#2 Jess Good (North Adelaide) 12.55
#3 Mollie McKendrick (Eastern Mavericks) 10.88
#4 Emily Winter (Woodville Warriors) 10.77


#1 Mikaela Ruef (Logan Thunder) 17.8
#2 Cayla George (Mackay Meteorettes) 17.25
#3 Amanda Johnson (SWM Pirates) 16.0
#4 Lara McSpadden (Rockhampton Cyclones) 12.83


#1 Anneli Maley (Eltham Wildcats) 24.62
#2 Keely Froling (Launceston Tornadoes) 17.71
#3 Alicia Froling (Ballarat Rush) 15.14
#4 Kelsey Griffin (Launceston Tornadoes) 13.4


#1 Alex Sharp (Willetton Tigers) 13.5
#2 Maddison Allen (Perth Redbacks) 11.57
#3 Carly Boag (Mandurah Magic) 11.14
#4 Mary Goulding (East Perth Eagles) 11.0

Picture credit: NBL1

NBL: Kings perform late to keep finals chances alive

WITH slim finals hopes on the line, the Sydney Kings were able to sneak past the undermanned Illawarra Hawks, emerging from WIN Entertainment Centre with a six-point triumph on Thursday night. With their finals position locked in, the Hawks opted to rest star Tyler Harvey, giving the Kings an almighty confidence boost heading into the game, but were still dished a real scare, as the home side fought tooth and nail right until the end, but fell two baskets short. Leading by five points early in the final term, the Hawks looked as if they were more than capable of claiming an unlikely win, but late threes to Shaun Bruce and Xavier Cooks locked the game shut, as the Kings claimed an all-important victory.

The game opened in pretty dominant fashion for the Kings, starting the match on an 8-0 scoring run, thanks to Jarrell Martin finding an open lane to the hoop and finishing inside. The Hawks would soon after open their scoring, but the margin remained considerable, with a pair of Jarrad Weeks three-pointers opening the lead to double digits. The Hawks were able to chip away at this deficit, but still entered the first break trailing by six points with plenty of emphasis on the absence of leading-scorer Harvey. They were able to not only tie up proceedings early in the second quarter, but they even took the lead courtesy of a pair of long bombs from Hawk Lachlan Dent, who made the most of his extended minutes during the match. The Kings responded almost immediately, as Martin and guard Casper Ware came alive to close out the quarter in strong fashion, taking a seven-point advantage into half time. While the Hawks trailed, their belief in their ability to claim an unlikely win remained rock-solid.

The Kings opened the third term on another scoring tear, thanks to the range of Ware, who was really beginning to find his rhythm in the contest at this stage. An and-one to Jordan Hunter saw the lead again creep out to 11 points, and it looked as if Sydney were on the cusp of blowing the game wide open. The Hawks had other ideas though, taking over the game with a scoring blitz and bursting out to a three-point lead, before it was trimmed to just one point heading into the final term. The fourth quarter began with the Hawks jumping out of the gates to an early five-point advantage, thanks to a couple of tough finishes in the paint from Sam Froling. The Hawks had many hopes of a victory at this stage, but the Kings were able to grit their teeth and make the match-winning plays.

For the Kings, Martin was huge for his side, pouring in 23 points and 10 rebounds to deliver a significant impact on the result of the game. He was well aided by teammates Cooks (19 points) and Hunter (15 points). For the Hawks, Froling, Isaac White and Emmett Naar all contributed 12 points, and stood up in the absence of Harvey.

Closing in on the South East Melbourne Phoenix, the Kings have one more match to play as they look to sneak into the finals. They will face off against a fellow finals hopeful in the Brisbane Bullets, who are also looking to claw their way into the finals with a win. Be sure to tune in to Qudos Bank Arena on Saturday night in what should be an explosive contest, as both sides play for their seasons.

Picture credit: Matt King

2021 NBL Round 21 preview: Top four battles headline the final round of home and away season

THE final round of the National Basketball League gets underway tonight in a top of the table clash between Illawarra Hawks and Perth Wildcats. That will not be the only top four clash as United and Perth go head to head in what is set to be a ladder-defining clash.

Illawarra Hawks vs. Perth Wildcats
Tuesday, June 1 @ 7:30pm

It is set to be a cracking game as the third placed Hawks take on the second placed Wildcats who are on the same wins as United and are looking for their way to come out on top. They will be eager to topple Illawarra and if they can manage to string together a dominant four quarter performance will take top spot -albeit momentarily until United take the court.

The combination of Tyler Harvey and Justinian Jessup will have to be at its damaging best when Illawarra take on Perth. Both Jessup and Harvey are renowned for their ability to keep the scoreboard taking over but will need additional support from the likes of Sam Froling, Cameron Bairstow and Justin Simon. Harvey averages 20.24 points a game while Jessup is also a handy feature with 13.39 points a game. Looking at the Wildcats and it is hard to go past Bryce Cotton who has been in scintillating form. The guard can simply do no wrong with his ability to sink the match winner time and time again. He averages 23.47 points while teammate John Mooney is a real livewire putting up impressive numbers both on the scoreboard and on the rebounding front thanks to his 17.74 points and 11.47 rebounds. It would be remiss not to mention the likes of Todd Blanchfield and Mitch Norton with the duo able to have an influence in defence and offence

New Zealand Breakers vs. Cairns Taipans
Wednesday, June 2 @5:30pm

The bottom of the table battle will be a hot one as the Breakers have found some form at home with the home crowd really spurring them on to grind out games. New Zealand are on the hunt for their 12th win of the season, while the Taipans have shown strong glimpses but faded in times of need. It is not possible for Cairns to work their way off the bottom of the ladder but will be eager to take some positives out of the end of their season.

Scott Machado is the main facilitator for the Taipans and will need to be at his damaging best if his side are any chance of causing an upset. Machado boasts an average of 15.61 points and 6.97 assists a game bringing the likes of Mirko Djeric and Jordan Ngatai into the game. Djeric might only average 8.47 points and 2.25 rebounds but his presence out on court is key.  The Breakers have no shortage of excitement machines with Levi Randolph a key addition to the side since joining. He averages 15.85 points and 3.77 rebounds a game playing a strong role alongside the likes of Tai Webster and Finn Delany. Webster tops the table with 16.63 points a game while Delany is not far behind credit to his average of 16.35 points and 6.62 rebounds. Another key addition to the side has been William McDowell-White who has not skipped a beat and will be eager to keep putting his best foot forward in this performance against the last placed Taipans.

South East Melbourne Phoenix vs. Brisbane Bullets
Wednesday, June 2 @7:30pm

To put it plain and simple, South East Melbourne Phoenix need to win if they want to hold onto fourth spot. Currently just holding on by a thread, the Phoenix will be hoping that their big three in Mitch Creek, Keifer Sykes and Ryan Broekhoff are able to stand up to the challenge and make their dreams a reality. On the other hand the Bullets are not far off the pace sitting outside the top four by two games and will have three opportunities including this match to edge inside and make a play for finals. however they will need a host of results to go their way including a win here.

Creek is a real playmaker for the Phoenix with his ability to hit the scoreboard and lend a hand in defence as shown through his 18.06 points and 6.45 rebounds. Sykes is another piece of the puzzle that will have to be on his a-game given he averages 13.67 points and 5.33 assists each time he steps out on court. Kyle Adnam has quickly become a fan favourite, making the step up this season and asserting himself credit to his 12.61 points and will want to ply his trade in this match-up against the Bullets. Throw in support from the likes of Yannick Wetzell and Ben Moore and the Phoenix are in good shape. But Brisbane are not backwards in coming forwards with Nathan Sobey an integral member in the side. The captain is never out of the contest averaging 21.34 points a game plus 4.47 rebounds and 4.56 assists often leading his troops to success. Lamar Patterson has landed on his feet since re-joining the Bullets with the bigman posting numbers of 13.62 points and 4.54 rebounds while Matthew Hodgson and Anthony Drmic are other players the Phoenix will need to keep an eye on throughout the clash.

Illawarra Hawks vs. Sydney Kings
Thursday, June 3 @7:30pm

This game will bring plenty of excitement and nerves for players and fans alike as the Hawks take on the Kings at home. The Sydney Kings are renowned for their class and ability to do the unthinkable and will need to recapture that form this match. outside of the top four by one game, expect the Kings to leave no stone unturned and apply some real heat on the teams around them.

The Hawks will be backing up from their earlier performance with Jessup and Harvey hoping to keep the good times rolling. But the Hawks will have their work cut out for them given the Kings boast the services of dynamo Casper Ware. Throw in the likes of Jarell Martin and the Kings have a dominant two-pronged attack with Ware averaging 18 points and Martin with 17.35. Xavier Cooks has been lively since returning to the fold and will be hoping to continue on that trajectory while Jordan Hunter and Craig Moller are other viable options to attack the rim or reel in the boards.

Melbourne United vs. Adelaide 36ers
Sunday, June 6 @3:00pm

Melbourne will take to the court for the second time this round and with pole position still up for grabs will need to put out a consistent four quarter performance to topple the 36ers. But Adelaide will be hoping to end their season on a high and still have an influence on how the finals go down by causing a major upset.

Adelaide have had an inconsistent season to say the least and have been plagued by injury but have a number of players able to step up and take charge. Daniel Johnson has been a mainstay for the 36ers producing impressive numbers credit to his 19.51 points and 6.97 rebounds while Brandon Paul has been a commanding force thanks to his 13.68 points. Isaac Humphries is steadily returning to form after his time on the sidelines with injury while Tony Crocker will have to be on top of his game to worry United.

Other games:

Perth Wildcats vs. Melbourne United
Friday, June 4 @9:30pm

One of just many mouth-watering clashes this round, the match-up between Melbourne United and Perth Wildcats is sure to go down to the wire. Melbourne will be praying that fatigue becomes a factor as Perth enter their second top four clash in as many days, while the home side will be fresh and raring to go. Expect both sides to throw everything they have at their opponents and contest every second of the game in what is set to be an absolute show stopper and potential grand final preview.

New Zealand Breakers vs. South East Melbourne Phoenix
Saturday, June 5 @5:30pm

Both sides will be competing in their second game for the round and all eyes will turn to the Phoenix and what they can do? Whether they can front up after a game earlier in the week against the Bullets. Although the Breakers are significantly lower on the ladder they have shown they have the class and skill to compete with the best in the business meaning the Phoenix will need to be on their a-game.

Sydney Kings vs. Brisbane Bullets
Saturday, June 5 @8:00pm

It is a must win game for the Kings. In fact it all hinges on whether or not they secure the “w” because if they do not then their finals aspirations are well and truly done. The Bullets also need a win and while their chances may be a long shot it will not deter them from hustling hard. It will be a heart in your mouth style of game with both teams eager to make a last minute dash and prove themselves on the competition. The Bullets will have to front up to another game only days later and will be hoping that a win will spur them on to clinch that fourth spot.

Brisbane Bullets vs. South East Melbourne Phoenix
Tuesday, June 8 @7:30pm

The final game of the home and away season pits Brisbane Bullets against South East Phoenix. It will be the Phoenix’s third game of the round and while fatigue may be somewhat of an issue you can guarantee that their main focus will be winning and holding onto their top four position.

Photo credit: Daniel Pockett

Kings rule over United in double-overtime thriller

SYDNEY Kings have toppled Melbourne United in one of the games of the year to keep their playoff hopes alive, downing the ladder leaders by two points in an epic double-overtime National Basketball League (NBL) bout. In a must-win contest for the Kings to remain in contention, the home team secured the victory to move to a 17-17 record and just one win outside the top four, albeit having played an extra game than the South East Melbourne Phoenix (third) and Illawarra Hawks (fourth).

It was a 14-0 third term streak by the Kings that really made the difference in the end, after Melbourne had grabbed a four-point quarter time lead, and were up by five at the main break. The dominant run in the third quarter saw Sydney race out to as much as a 13-point advantage before United reeled them in, but the visitors still trailed by four points at the final break. The Kings lead in the final 30 seconds of regular time, before a Mitch McCarron layup levelled the scores, and a Craig Moller long-range miss with two seconds on the clock meant the teams were headed for overtime.

McCarron again saved the day in the first overtime period, making a levelling basket with 57 seconds on the clock for the sides to again head into the break with a 90-90 scoreline, and a second overtime period needed to determine a winner. With 1:12 on the clock, Shea Ili hit the turnaround jump shot to level the scores at 97-apiece, before Moller responded with a layup of his own. Jock Landale got to the line after being fouled off a three-point attempt but could only nail one of them, which proved costly in the end. Jordan Hunter finished off with a successful free throw for a two-point win, 100-98 as Chris Goulding‘s last second long-range jumper went begging.

The Kings were beaten across a number of key areas, but toppled United in the assists (21-20) and steals (11-2), as well as recording marginally more points in the paint (54-48) and second chance points (24-18), whilst their points from turnovers (23-9) was the key difference. Melbourne was the more accurate shooting side with 45 per cent from the field to the Kings’ 37 per cent, as well as 31 to 23 per cent from long-range. They won the rebounds (56-51) and the blocks (8-5), as well as had a couple more points off the bench (34-32).

Shaun Bruce lead the way with 21 points, seven assists and four rebounds for the Kings, knocking down five of 14 from long-range. Casper Ware (16 points, five assists) was not as accurate from beyond the arc, dropping just one of eight in his 47:27 on court. That herculean endurance effort was the most of anyone out there, as teammates Tom Vodanovich (13 points, two rebounds), Jarrell Martin (12 points, six rebounds and two steals) and Xavier Cooks (10 points, two assists) hit double-figure points. Hunter (nine points, six rebounds, four blocks and two steals), Moller (eight points, 12 rebounds, four assists and two steals) and Brad Newley (eight points, eight rebounds and two assists) were also instrumental in a real team effort.

Landale stood tall for the losing side with 23 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks to put up year another double-double. McCarron was the key playmaker with nine points, assists and rebounds in what was a close shave to a triple-double. Goulding (16 points, two rebounds and two assists), Mason Peatling (11 points, six rebounds and two blocks), Ili (11 points, seven rebounds), Scotty Hopson (11 points, four assists and two rebounds) and Jo Lual-Acuil (10 points, six rebounds and four blocks) all hit double-figure points.

Melbourne United will be favoured to bounce back against Cairns Taipans on Monday at Qudos Bank Arena, whilst the Kings will travel to WIN Entertainment Centre to take on the Illawarra Hawks.


Image Credit: Jaimi Joy/Getty Images

Wildcats do it again without Bryce with triumph over Kings

THE Perth Wildcats have recorded their second consecutive win without NBL superstar Bryce Cotton, taking down the Sydney Kings by 14 points at RAC Arena on Thursday night. The former NBL MVP is set for a stint on the sidelines with a quad injury, but that has not slowed down the form of his side. The Wildcats have backed up their win over the Adelaide 36ers earlier this week by taking down a Kings side that was hopeful of taking advantage of an undermanned opponent. Instead, the 10,650 strong Perth crowd was treated to a crucial win from the home side, a result that truly keeps them in contention for dethroning Melbourne United on top of the ladder.

The opening term saw Wildcat John Mooney open his account with eight first-quarter points, while teammate Todd Blanchfield was also impressive to begin the game. Despite strong performances from the pair, the Wildcats trailed by one point at the first break, with a determined Kings side up for the fight, thanks to a number of contributors. Despite entering the match without their star, the Wildcats still entered the match favourites, so when the Kings’ lead extended into the second quarter, fans in RAC Arena felt they were on the brink of witnessing a disappointing upset. The Wildcats were determined not to let this happen, and were able to completely break the game open to finish the quarter. A Mooney 3-pointer put his side up by two points, and this kickstarted a remarkable 14-0 run from the Wildcats to close out the second term. Blanchfield score eight straight points as the Kings struggled to contain the Perth forward from finding any shot he desired. The Wildcats entered the locker rooms at halftime with a 15-point lead, and prepared for any charge the Kings would make in the second half.

The third quarter saw the Kings make a slight charge as expected, but missing crucial shots saw the visitors not able to take advantage of this and reduce the lead. Instead, it was eight consecutive points from Wildcats development player Luke Travers that had the strongest impact for the quarter. Despite keeping their opponents quiet for periods of the third term, the Kings still trailed by 14 points heading into the final term. The fourth quarter certainly the prettiest display of basketball we’ve seen this season, with the Wildcats opening the scoring through Blanchfield, but unable to score a basket for the next seven minutes. The Kings were only able to score seven points themselves during this time, and their inability to capitalise ultimately ruled out any chance of a comeback as they would fall 81-67.

For the Wildcats, Blanchfield (23 points) and Mooney (19) ran the show all night long, constantly finding ways to score when their team needed it. Blanchfield’s eight-point run in the second term truly broke the game open when the contest was up for grabs. Travers also impressed for the Wildcats with 16 points of his own. For the Kings, Jarell Martin was an offensive threat all night, despite the scoreboard deficit. The forward finished with 20 points, while fellow King Jordan Hunter recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

The Wildcats will head to Illawarra on Tuesday night to take on the Hawks, while the Kings face the toughest task in the NBL as they face off against the ladder-leading Melbourne United in Sydney on Saturday.

Picture credit: Paul Kane