Tag: josh sykes

NBL1 South Men’s team summary: Eltham Wildcats

IN light of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the National Basketball League (NBL)1 South Conference has been cancelled this year. As such, while Draft Central intended to do a preview on all teams leading up to the delayed start, it will instead be a team summary from last season and what they might look to improve on for 2021. Today’s edition looks at Eltham Wildcats’ mens side that finished second bottom on the table and will be keen for vast improvement in 2021.

2019 in Review:

Finished: 17th
Wins: 6
Losses: 14
Home: 3-7
Away: 3-7

What went right:

  • Josh Sykes’ highlight reel dunks
  • Defensive rebounds (28.5 per game, ranked fourth overall)
  • Blocks (4.2 per game, ranked second overall)
  • Defeated finalists, Dandenong Rangers and Kilsyth Cobras

It was a difficult year for the Wildcats, but the 2019 NBL1 season was not without plenty of positives as well. Josh Sykes’ highlight-reel of dunks were sensational as his ability to drive to the basket and slam it home was a key reason the Wildcats were able to produce a number of impressive wins. Given their strength was in their size – six players above 200cm and only three below 190cm – Eltham was a massive side compared to many of its rivals. They dominated the blocks statistic with 4.2 per game, second overall in the competition. The Wildcats were also very impressive off the defensive boards, ranking fourth of their 28.5 rebounds per match, though as was shown, they were not as effective offensively. A couple of impressive wins included victories over Dandenong Rangers on the road and Kilsyth Cobras at home to show at their best, the Wildcats were thereabouts for finals standard basketball, but just needed greater consistency to tick the wins over.

What went wrong:

  • Offensive rebounds (9.7 per game, ranked 16th overall)
  • Turnovers (15.6 per game, ranked second most overall)
  • Finished the year with seven losses out of the last eight games after starting 2-7

While finishing 17th in an 18-team competition is always going to bring about plenty of negatives, the Wildcats were not as bad statistically as a 6-14 team could have been. Their offensive rebounding numbers were down, ranked 16th overall with 9.7 per game, while their turnovers – 15.6 per match and ranked second highest in the competition – was the bigger concern. Had the Wildcats been cleaner on the transition, it could well have helped limit the amount of counter attacks and shots put up by the opposition. Eltham finished the season in a disappointing fashion, losing seven of the last eight games, almost similar numbers to the two wins from their first nine games start, which ultimately cost them moving further up the ladder.

Top Players:

Josh Sykes

The star of the show with plenty of class, Sykes was hard to stop when he got up and about, averaging 60.5 per cent from two-point range. It is hard to miss when you are flying through the air and making everything count at the basket, but it was not just his offensive work that caught eyes, but his shot-blocking that was also out of this world. Sykes averaged 2.5 bocks per game to go with his 14.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals per match in a really impressive season. He could have been even more effective with just a 52.1 per cent efficiency at the free-throw line, but his close range shots made up for it.

Adam Doyle

The highest scoring player on the side, Doyle was one of the few who was more than comfortable from the mid-range or three-point range having a healthy balance between the two. He averaged only the 46.1 per cent accuracy from two-point range, with a strong 34.4 per cent from the more difficult three-point distance. When he got to the line, he rarely missed with 91.6 per cent of his free throws going in. Doyle averaged a team-high 19.6 points and 4.8 assists, an equal team-high 1.3 steals, as well as 3.4 rebounds as the “shorty” on the team at just 176cm – 7cm shorted than the next smallest player.

Geremy McKay

With Grandy Glaze released early after just four games, McKay had to shoulder more of the load alongside Sykes off the boards, actually topping his teammate with 7.9 rebounds per game. He had the most offensive rebounds as well with 2.3 per match while also proving to be handy on the scoreboard with a solid 14.3 points per game. He also finished the season with 2.6 assists per match from 29.3 minutes per game, but could have been more effective when getting to the line with just 50 per cent efficiency. He did shoot at 60 per cent efficiency from two-point range which helped his side on-court.

Young Gun:

Ovie Magbegor

While sister, Ezi lit up the NBL1 women’s and went on to have another starring season in the WNBL, Ovie Magbegor had an impressive season for the Wildcats in 2019. He played in 18 games, averaging 17.8 minutes per match as he averaged 56.5 per cent from two-point range during the season. He averaged just the 4.2 points per game, but helped himself to 5.6 rebounds, and almost a steal per game. The 198cm forward/center now 21 is a towering figure and one with plenty of potential for the future.

Christmas list for 2021:

Offensive consistency. The Wildcats were so strong on defence last season that they are pretty set in that department, and when they are controlling the offensive game they can be quite potent, but needed to improve their accuracy.

Summary:

The Eltham Wildcats have so many talented bigs that they are hard to stop close to the basket, but it also meant opposition sides could predict their transition and protect the rim. There is plenty to work with in terms of the Wildcats for 2021, and they seemed like a side that was better than their 17th placed finish.

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 mid-season review: Eltham Wildcats

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 Eltham Wildcats, whose women’s side sits in eighth with plenty of teams chasing them, while the men’s side will need to continue the good momentum leading into the break in order to snatch a finals spot.

Men:

Position: 14th
Wins: 5
Losses: 7

Home: 2-3
Away: 3-4
Last 10: 4-6

Points For: 1042
Points Against: 1090
Percentage: 95.6
Points: 15

Summary:

The Eltham Wildcats have got their season back on track with three consecutive wins in the past three matches, including an upset victory over fifth placed Kilsyth Cobras. It snapped a losing streak of just one win in nine games – including another big scalp in Dandenong Rangers. The overall season has been disappointing, but it can change with a good run home, and with eight games still to play, the momentum is with the Wildcats and they know anything can happen. Adam Doyle has been the highest points scorer this season, averaging 17.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.1 steals per game, while Josh Sykes would possibly be leading the club’s best and fairest with 13.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.3 blocks per game. Simon Bradbury has been important with 8.8 points and 5.9 rebounds, while Grandy Glaze‘s impact later in the season saw him average 16.8 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists from just four games.

The run home:

R10: Diamond Valley Eagles (H) | Knox Raiders (A)
R11: Ringwood Hawks (H)
R12: Bendigo Braves (H)
R13: Albury Wodonga Bandits (A)
R14: Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (H)
R15: Nunawading Spectres (H) | Melbourne Tigers (A)

In the final run home, Eltham will likely need six wins to finish inside the top eight, and a tough final round pits them against second placed Nunawading Spectres and fourth placed Melbourne Tigers. It means the Wildcats could well need to win the rest of the games leading into the round, which is possible seeing as the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence will be needing to prepare well for the Round 14 game given they have three matches that weekend. The next few rounds are crucial for the Wildcats’ finals aspirations.

Women:

Position: 8th
Wins: 7
Losses: 5

Home: 3-2
Away: 4-3
Last 10: 5-5

Points For: 929
Points Against: 957
Percentage: 97.1
Points: 21

Summary:

The Wildcats have had a typical even season, with seven wins from 12 games, and maintaining a narrow positive win-loss record both home and away. They have been sitting around the mid-table, holding onto a top eight spot in the NBL1 women’s logjam. The Wildcats have an even team across the board in terms of individual performances with three players starting in every game, and a further two playing in every match, coming off the bench. Chelsea Schweers has been the leading scorer with 23.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game, while Margaret Mulligan has been phenomenal off the boards with 15.6 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. Vanessa Panousis (13.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 0.9 steals per game) and Chelsea Brook (13.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.3 steals per game) have been equally important throughout the season, playing in every match.

The run home:

R10: Diamond Valley Eagles (H) | Knox Raiders (A)
R11: Ringwood Hawks (H)
R12: Bendigo Braves (H)
R13: Albury Wodonga Bandits (A)
R14: Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (H)
R15: Nunawading Spectres (H) | Melbourne Tigers (A)

Requiring about four wins to play finals, the Wildcats are in a good spot but given the tightness of the competition, could even need a fifth. They have a mixed bag of sides with the last placed Diamond Valley Eagles up first, but have to face the red-hot Knox Raiders and Bendigo Braves over the next three weeks. With the Eagles and Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence the only sides in the bottom eight they face, they must win some of their mid-table games to ensure the Wildcats knock their closest rivals back a peg.

NBL1 Men’s Round 9 review: Supercats win down south as Spectres and Tigers continue good form

GEELONG Supercats, Nunawading Spectres and Melbourne Tigers all maintained their winning streaks with important wins as Ballarat Miners slipped up against the in-form Frankston Blues, and now sit just one win clear of the Spectres in the National Basketball League (NBL)1 men’s competition. The Spectres travelled up to the border to face Albury Wodonga Bandits and came home with the win after a dominant first half put them 19 points clear at the main break. The home side fought back to cut it to a 13-point deficit at the final break, but the Spectres steadied to win by 18 points, 97-79. Dain Swetalla was the standout player with 34 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, while Tom Wright (12 points, five rebounds and four assists) and Andrew Steel (10 points, eight rebounds) were others who stood tall for the visitors. Emmanuel Malou picked up a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds, as did Torren Jones (14 points, 11 rebounds), but the creativity up the forward half was left to Deba George (16 points, seven assists) and Ken-Jah Bosley (15 points, five assists and six rebounds) who combined for 12 of the team’s 14 assists.

The Bandits also suffered a loss at the hands of the red-hot Melbourne Tigers on Sunday, going down by 13 points at MSAC. The Bandits led by two points at quarter time, but it was all the Tigers after that, running out 104-91 winners. Nic Pozoglou continued his great form this season with a massive 34 points, 12 rebounds – eight offensive – and four assists, while Mike Wells (17 points, three rebounds, four assists and two steals) and William Hickey (15 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks) were also impressive. For the Bandits it was a two-man show with Jones and Bosley doing all the damage. Jones had a massive 37 points and 21 rebounds – 12 defensive and nine offensive – while Bosley finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in the loss.

Geelong Supercats had a fruitful trip down to Tasmania, recording back-to-back wins over Hobart Huskies and North West Thunder on Friday and Saturday. The Supercats recorded a nice 11-point win over the Huskies on Friday night, controlling the second term on their way to a 81-70 victory. The points were shared around but it was Ma’alo Hicks who caught the eye on the night thanks to 12 points, 18 rebounds and four assists, while Demarcus Gatlin (15 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two steals) and Lewis Thomas (12 points, nine rebounds, two assists and one steal) were prominent for the winners. Jacob Richards (14 points, three rebounds) top-scored for the Huskies, while Jalen Adams had nine points and seven rebounds, one less rebound than Zachary White who also picked up nine points, as well as three assists. In Geelong’s nine-point victory over the Thunder, Gatlin went on a spree, scoring 39 points and taking home four rebounds and six assists, while Thomas picked up a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds – 14 defensive. Hicks (11 points, nine rebounds) and Liam McInerney (10 points, seven rebounds) were also impressive off the boards. For the Thunder, Tre Armstrong (18 points, seven rebounds and three assists), Nick Banyard (18 points, six rebounds) and Paul Campbell (10 points, 11 rebounds) all showed strong signs in the tight loss.

Ballarat Miners had a mixed weekend with the top side downing Ringwood Hawks, before a surprise loss to Frankston Blues. In the big 22-point win over the Hawks, Ballarat won every quarter in a convincing performance as Kuany Kuany picked up a game-high 23 points as well as six rebounds. Deng Acuoth was superb off the boards with 16 rebounds and four assists, while Marqueze Coleman had 21 points, three assists and two steals. For the Hawks, Matthew Fennell continued his good defensive work with 20 points, seven rebounds and two blocks, while Jacob Gibson had 20 points, four rebounds and two assists, while Joey Miller (14 points, five rebounds and nine assists) was creative. In the defeat to Frankston, it was a 52-41 first half that caught the Miners off guard and while they managed to cut the deficit to seven points by the final break, could not quite get the win. Josh Fox was strong for the losing side with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Coleman had another 16 points as well as seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. For the Blues, Damon Bozeman was the star shooter with 27 points and four rebounds, while Majok Majok and Najeal Young shared 18 points and 19 rebounds in a superb team effort.

The Hawks did pick up a surprise win over the Braves however running out 74-68 winners on the back of a massive 23-13 last term having trailed at every break. Fennell had a big game with 14 points, six rebounds, four assists and two blocks, while Adrien Sturt had 15 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Ray Turner was the standout player on the court in Bendigo’s defeat to the bottom two side, posting up 25 points, 16 rebounds, three assists and three blocks, while Matthiang Muo was also solid with 22 points and eight rebounds. The Braves’ loss came after a comfortable 27-point win over last placed Southern Sabres. Muo was busy once again with 25 points, five rebounds and two assists, while Turner had another all-round game, posting 15 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. Nicholas Gabsch was the star for the Sabres, finishing the match with 22 points and five rebounds. Meanwhile Frankston’s upset win over Ballarat followed a shock loss to Diamond Valley Eagles, going down by 13 points to break their winning streak. The Eagles were in control for most of the contest after half-time, posting 48 points to 36 in the 99-86 vicotry. Logan Hovey led the points total with 25, as well as five rebounds for the Eagles, while Ben Allen had a double-double with 20 points, 13 rebounds and four assists. Anthony Odunsi (22 points, five rebounds, six assists and four steals) was the other prominent player for the winning side. Majok (18 points, 12 rebounds) and Young (eight points, 10 rebounds) were again the main Frankston rebounders, while Igor Hadziomerovic top-scored for the Blues with 17 points.

Another side that had mixed results over the weekend was Kilsyth Cobras, going down in a tight five-point loss to Eltham Wildcats, before posting an easy 33-point win over Waverley Falcons. The Cobras were on the back foot early with an 11-point quarter time deficit and while they managed to peg their way back, could not get in front. Geremy McKay was best-on for the Wildcats, posting 20 points, nine rebounds and four assists, while Josh Sykes (16 points, nine rebounds and three blocks) was prominent again, as was scorer Adam Doyle (17 points, four assists). For the Cobras, Chris Patton was the standout player with 25 points and 12 rebounds, while Tohi-Smith Miller was the other player who impressed with 12 points and eight rebounds, one less rebound than Owen Odigie who picked up seven points and nine rebounds. There was no slow start against the Falcons, with the Cobras putting the result to bed by half-time and leading by as much as 37 points at the final break. They shared the points around with Sean MacDonald leading the way with 19 and three assists, while Patton had 13 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Odigie also had 12 rebounds to go with his nine points and three steals. In the other game of the round, Dandenong Rangers got the points against Knox Raiders, coming from behind to post a 81-76 win. The Rangers led by 17 points at quarter time but that had evaporated over the next two quarters as the Raiders led by seven at the final break. Just in time the visitors picked up and scored 22 points to 10 in the last term to secure a relieving five-point win. Dexter Kernich-Drew top-scored with 17 points, but it was the rebounding work of Sam Froling (15 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals) and Tim Lang (eight points, 11 rebounds and three assists)that was most impressive. For the Raiders, it was Mike Rose (21 points, six rebounds and two assists) and Adam Thoseby (20 points, five assists) who did the bulk of the scoring, well aided by Cadarian Raines (14 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks).

Results:

Hobart Huskies 70 defeated by Geelong Supercats 81
North West Thunder 85 defeated by Geelong Supercats 94
Diamond Valley Eagles 99 defeated Frankston Blues 86
Bendigo Braves 100 defeated Southern Sabres 73
Eltham Wildcats 79 defeated Kilsyth Cobras 74
Albury Wodonga Bandits 79 defeated by Nunawading Spectres 97
Ballarat Miners 101 defeated Ringwood Hawks 79
Knox Raiders 76 defeated by Dandenong Rangers 81
Ringwood Hawks 74 defeated Bendigo Braves 68
Frankston Blues 87 defeated Ballarat Miners 80
Waverley Falcons 68 defeated by Kilsyth Cobras 101
Melbourne Tigers 104 defeated Albury Wodonga Bandits 91

NBL1 Men’s preview: Round 9

NATIONAL Basketball League (NBL)1 players will eye off a break after Round 9 with the Queen’s Birthday long weekend a welcome rest from the competition past the midway point of the season. The final game before the break for Hobart Huskies is under lights tomorrow night at home, when the thirteenth placed Huskies take on the third placed Geelong Supercats. The Supercats also face North West Thunder the next day as part of their Tasmanian trip.

Albury Wodonga Bandits play top four sides Nunawading Spectres and Melbourne Tigers in what will be a huge test for the Bandits over the weekend. They host the Spectres before travelling to face the Tigers the next day. Frankston Blues’ clash with Ballarat Miners on Sunday is set to be a beauty with the Blues having won five consecutive games against a Miners side that has only dropped one game for the season and top the table. Both sides also play on Saturday, with the Miners hosting the lowly Ringwood Hawks, while the Blues travel to take on the bottom four Diamond Valley Eagles.

Kilsyth Cobras will hit the road twice over Saturday and Sunday, facing sixteenth placed Eltham Wildcats who have found a little bit of form with back-to-back wins, as well as ninth placed Waverley Falcons who are coming off a loss last round. Bendigo Braves do the double over the weekend with must-win games against the bottom two sides in Ringwood Hawks and Southern Sabres, as the Braves are desperate to snap their three-game losing streak. Meanwhile in the other game, fourteenth placed Knox Raiders will look to cause an upset against sixth placed Dandenong Rangers at home.

Looking at the top points scorers this year, Albury-Wodonga’s Ken-Jah Bosely averages the most, with 24.7 points, ahead of Hobart’s Jalen Adams (23.4) and Southern Sabres’ David Barlow (23.0). In terms of rebounds, Melbourne’s Dane Pineau (15.4 per game) is ahead of Albury-Wodonga’s Torren Jones (13.5), and Bendigo’s Ray Turner (12.5). The biggest playmakers are Nunawading’s Shane McDonald and Ringwood’s Joey Miller, who are averaging 7.3 and 6.8 assists per game respectively. Adams is the biggest thief in the NBL1, stealing the ball 3.2 times per game, while Frankston’s Najeel Young and Geelong’s Demarcus Gatlin do it 2.5 times per game. In terms of blocks, Deng Acuoth is in a world of his own, with the Ballarat Miners’ big man averaging 4.1 per game, almost two more than the next highest rebounder, Eltham’s Josh Sykes.

Fixtures:

Friday, May 31:

Hobart Huskies (13th, 4-6) vs. Geelong Supercats (3rd, 7-5)

Saturday, June 1:

Albury Wodonga Bandits (12th, 5-5) vs. Nunawading Spectres (2nd, 8-3)
Ballarat Miners (1st, 9-1) vs. Ringwood Hawks (17th, 3-7)
Bendigo Braves (10th, 5-6) vs. Southern Sabres (18th, 2-9)
Diamond Valley Eagles (15th, 4-8) vs. Frankston Blues (8th, 6-4)
Eltham Wildcats (16th, 4-7) vs. Kilsyth Cobras (7th, 6-4)
Knox Raiders (14th, 4-6) vs. Dandenong Rangers (6th, 6-6)
North West Thunder (11th, 5-6) vs. Geelong Supercats (3rd, 7-5)

Sunday, June 2:

Frankston Blues (8th, 6-4) vs. Ballarat Miners (1st, 9-1)
Melbourne Tigers (4th, 7-4) vs. Albury Wodonga Bandits (12th, 5-5)
Ringwood Hawks (17th, 3-7) vs. Bendigo Braves (10th, 5-6)
Waverley Falcons (9th, 6-4) vs. Kilsyth Cobras (7th, 6-4)

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

NBL1 Men’s Round 7 review: Nunawading eyes top spot as Ballarat stumbles

NUNAWADING Spectres have drawn level with Ballarat Miners after back-to-back wins in Round 7, while the Miners suffered their first loss of the season to an impressive Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (CoE). The Miners looked in control for the first half, leading by 12 points at half-time, before the CoE turned it on to draw within six at the final break and then level by the final buzzer, forcing the game into overtime. All the momentum was with the young stars, scoring seven points to four in overtime to win 80-77. Josh Bannan starred with 32 points, nine rebounds, two steals and two blocks, while Tamuri Wigness scored 11 points and had nine rebounds on debut for the CoE. For the Miners, Jerry Evans Jr continued his hot streak with 30 points, nine rebounds, four assists and a massive seven steals. Kuany Kuany also had 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists.

In the second game for the CoE, Nunawading Spectres claimed the win, getting up in a 10-point victory. The Spectres powered away to an 11-point lead at quarter time, and while the CoE constantly kept in touch with the home side, eventually the Spectres got home 88-78. Simon Conn scored 35 points, 14 rebounds and two assists in yet another double-double this season, while Dain Swetalla had 13 rebounds and 11 points. The CoE did not have a dominant scorer, with Josh Kunen (12 points, five rebounds) leading the way, while four others had 11 points including Josh Giddey who also had seven rebounds. A strong start against Dandenong Rangers on Saturday pulled in another win for the Spectres, racing to a 15-point lead before the Rangers drew within six at the final break, before the Spectres powered away thanks to a 29-18 final term. Tom Wright had 27 points, five rebounds and four assists, while Swetalla (24 points, seven rebounds and five assists) and Conn (19 points, eight rebounds and three assists) were also impressive in the win. For the Rangers, Lucas Barker top-scored with 18 points, two rebounds, three assists and four steals, while Sam Froling was terrific with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Unfortunately for Albury Wodonga Bandits it was not a fulfilling trip south as they suffered losses to North West Thunder (22 points) and Hobart Huskies (10 points) over the weekend. A disappointing 29-58 first half all but ended the Bandits’ hopes of victory in the 97-75 loss, with Ken-Jah Bosley top-scoring with 19 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Cirkook Riak and Torren Jones combined for 32 points and 20 rebounds sharing in double-doubles, while Emmanuel Malou had 13 points and five rebounds in the loss. The Thunder’s Joseph Chilcott scored 19 points, five rebounds and four assists, while Reyne Smith scored 23 points, three rebounds and two steals. In the 102-92 loss to Hobart, Jones produced 28 points, 17 rebounds and two assists in a massive double-double game, while Thomas Crowe (23 points, eight rebounds and two assists), and Cirkook Riak (16 points, nine rebounds and four assists) were also strong. For the Huskies, Tad Dufelmeier starred with 26 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists, while Jalen Adams also had a big game, producing 20 points, three rebounds and two steals.

Diamond Valley Eagles had a mixed bag of results this round, knocking off title contender, Kilsyth Cobras in a thrilling eight-point game. The Eagles produced a 26-14 final term to overrun the Cobras and run out 98-90 winners. Logan Hovey was sensational with 27 points and eight rebounds, while Joel Spear was busy with 15 points, four rebounds and five assists. For the Cobras, Peter Hooley continued his good form this season with 20 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals, while Isaac Turner had 20 points, four rebounds and three assists. Although they went down in their second game, the Eagles took it right up to title contender, Geelong Supercats, losing 87-81. Hovey again starred with 22 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, while Darcy Harding managed 17 points, two rebounds and two assist in the loss. For Geelong, Demarcus Gatlin was unsurprisingly impressive in the win, amassing 21 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals, while Anthony Williams also had 21 points, three rebounds and five assists in the victory. Lewis Thomas chipped in with 18 points, three rebounds and two assists. The win made up for the Supercats’ loss to Melbourne Tigers the day before, going down by six points after a 23-12 final term saw the home side secure the memorable win. Gatlin had 14 points, 10 rebounds and two assists, while Ma’alo Hicks had a game-high 15 rebounds to go with his 10 points. For the Tigers, Mike Wells registered a game-high 20 points, three rebounds, two assists and four steals. while Dave Pineau had 17 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and three blocks in a double-double game.

Frankston Blues winning streak continued on the weekend with a 13-point win over Knox Raiders at home. The 99-86 victory was the Blues’ fourth on the trot as Damon Bozeman posted 22 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals in the victory, while Najeal Young had 18 points, six rebounds and three steals. Igor Hadziomerovic (13 points, five rebounds and two assists) and Majok Majok (eight points, nine rebounds, two assists and three blocks) were others who stood tall in the win. For Knox, Mike Rose was the standout player, recording 32 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Also on a winning streak, Waverley Falcons made it three consecutive victories with a three-point win over the highly fancied Bendigo Braves. Dylan Travis sank 29 points – including the winning three-point shot – as well as eight rebounds, six assists and two steals in the win, while Deondre McWhorter (17 points, eight rebounds and four assists) and Bennie Lewis (16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists) were also impressive.

In the other two games, Ringwood Hawks and Eltham Wildcats both recorded wins over Southern Sabres. The Hawks won 96-73 on Saturday, winning every quarter on their way to the 23-point victory. Jacob Gibson top-scored with 30 points, six rebounds and two assists, while Matthew Fennell was unbelievable off the boards with 15 rebounds – 13 defensive – as well as 15 points, four assists and two steals. Joey Miller and Adrien Sturt both recorded 21 points, while combining for 13 rebounds and eight assists. For the Sabres, David Barlow had 15 points, four rebounds and one block, while Ryan Beisty had 14 points and four rebounds. In the loss to the Wildcats by 17 points, Barlow did not play and it was Kingsley Box who stood up with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Beisty had 14 points and 11 rebounds. For the Wildcats, Josh Sykes was super in close with 27 points at 71.4 per cent accuracy, while recording 12 rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Adam Doyle was also a playmaker with 25 points, eight assists, four rebounds and two steals in the win.

Round 7 results:

North West Thunder 97 defeated Albury Wodonga Bandits 75
Melbourne Tigers 72 defeated Geelong Supercats 66
Dandenong Rangers 82 defeated by Nunawading Spectres 99
Frankston Blues 99 defeated Knox Raiders 86
Kilsyth Cobras 90 defeated by Diamond Valley Eagles 98
Bendigo Braves 86 defeated by Waverley Falcons 89*
Ballarat Miners 77 defeated by Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence 80
Hobart Huskies 102 defeated Albury Wondonga Bandits 92
Ringwood Hawks 96 defeated Southern Sabres 73*
Geelong Supercats 87 defeated Diamond Valley Eagles 81
Southern Sabres 80 defeated by Eltham Wildcats 97*
Nunawading Spectres 88 defeated Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence 78

NBL1 Men’s Preview: Round 7

AFTER a massive 14 games of action over Mother’s Day Round, the National Basketball League (NBL)1 sides return to the 12 games, with six teams doubling up for two games across the weekend. After three consecutive losses, Albury Wodonga Bandits bounced back with a win and will be hoping for more of the same in their trip down south. They face the eleventh placed North West Thunder, before tackling the thirteenth placed Hobart Huskies, two teams either side of the Bandits on the ladder. Ken-Jah Bosley has been the key player so far this season for the Bandits, averaging a massive 28 points per game – the most of any player – as well as 5.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists. Remarkably, the Huskies have two players in the top five for points, with Tad Dufelmeier being a revelation in his two games since coming into the side, averaging 27 points, five assists and 3.5 rebounds, combining well with Jalen Adams (23.9 points, 7.5 assists and 2.9 steals), it is just the depth that needs to stand up.

If you want to talk depth, there is no looking past top-of-the-table Ballarat Miners, who will be favourites to show the up-and-coming Australian talent just how good they are. The Miners are undefeated from seven starts, and face Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (CoE) with six players averaging at least 10 points per game. Jerry Evans Jr is the number one in the side, with 20 points and seven rebounds in his seven games. The talented teenagers have shown promising signs on their way to a 4-5 start to the season, but Alex Ducas is the sole player with more than 15 points per game, averaging 21.8 points and 3.6 rebounds. Hunter Goodrick and Kyle Bowen both average greater than seven rebounds per game, however. They will back up their game against the Miners, with a match against sixth placed Nunawading Spectres on Sunday. Dain Swetalla is averaging a double-double so far this season, posting 18.4 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, while teammate Simon Conn is not far behind with 18.1 and 9.6 respectively. The Spectres will also have to find a way to overcome third placed Dandenong Ranges, but the Spectres have a remarkable record on the road, not dropping a game from four starts.

Lowly placed Diamond Valley Eagles got off the bottom of the ladder courtesy of Southern Sabres having a big loss, but will be keen to formulate a win or two of their own this round. Taking on top four sides, Kilsyth Cobras and Geelong Supercats does not make it an easy task for the Eagles. Diamond Valley has struggled with assists this season, as just two players have greater than three assists, while one – Anthony Odunsi – has averaged more than 15 points (16.5) and his resume includes two games off the bench. The Eagles have had the same five starters in each of their eighth games so far this season, and only one has a field goal percentage of greater than 50 per cent. For Kilsyth, Tohi Smith-Milner is almost averaging a double-double with 16.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, while for Geelong Supercats, Demarcus Gatlin (22.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.8 steals) seems to be able to do it all. The Supercats also face fifth placed Melbourne Tigers and the unrelenting duo of Nic Pozoglou and Dane Pineau. Between them, the duo averages 38.8 points and 24.4 rebounds per game, and the key to victory is certainly stopping them.

Also playing two games and hopeful of getting off the bottom of the ladder is the Southern Sabres, who face fellow bottom four sides, Eltham Wildcats and Ringwood Hawks over the weekend. After a ground-breaking win over Kilsyth Cobras, the Sabres sank back with key stars David Barlow and Sam McDaniel available, and will hope to bounce back against fellow battling teams. Outside of the remarkable seasons by the duo, only three other players average more than 10 points per game. The Sabres must also try and stop Josh Sykes getting to the basket, averaging 11.8 points and 6.9 rebounds including plenty of highlight-reel dunks. The Hawks have three key players, Jacob Gibson (the points scorer), Joey Miller (the playmaker) and Matthew Fennell (the rebounder) who all have stood out in their various roles.

In other games, tenth placed Frankston Blues come into the game off a three-game hotstreak and meet fourteenth placed Knox Raiders hoping to continue that form, while a battle of seventh and eighth sees Bendigo Braves go head-to-head with Waverley Falcons on Saturday.

Round 7 fixtures:

Friday, May 17:

North West Thunder (11th, 4-4) vs. Albury Wodonga Bandits (12th, 4-3)

Saturday, May 18:

Hobart Huskies (13th, 3-5) vs. Albury Wodonga Bandits (12th, 4-3)
Ballarat Miners (1st, 7-0) vs. Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (9th, 4-5)
Bendigo Braves (7th, 5-3) vs. Waverley Falcons (8th, 5-3)
Dandenong Rangers (3rd, 5-4) vs. Nunawading Spectres (6th, 5-3)
Frankston Blues (10th, 4-4) vs. Knox Raiders (14th, 3-4)
Kilsyth Cobras (2nd, 6-2) vs. Diamond Valley Eagles (17th, 2-6)
Melbourne Tigers (5th, 5-4) vs. Geelong Supercats (4th, 5-4)
Ringwood Hawks (16th, 2-6) vs. Southern Sabres (18th, 2-6)

Sunday, May 19:

Geelong Supercats (4th, 5-4) vs. Diamond Valley Eagles (17th, 2-6)
Nunawading Spectres (6th, 5-3) vs. Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (9th, 4-5)
Southern Sabres (18th, 2-6) vs. Eltham Wildcats (15th, 2-7)