Tag: mitchell dance

2021 NBL1 South men’s wrap: Round 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture credit: Rachel Louise / Ian Knight Photography

2021 NBL1 South Men’s wrap: Round 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture credit: Ian Wilson Photography

NBL1 South Men’s: Round 2 wrap – Miners split results on Apple Isle

ROUND 2 of the National Basketball League (NBL)1 South men’s competition took place over the weekend, with Frankston Blues grabbing back-to-back wins and Ballarat Miners having a mixed bag down in Tasmania.

Bendigo Braves (73) def. by Frankston Blues (94)

Frankston Blues have set up a memorable 21-point win thanks to a fast start on the road against Bendigo Braves. The Blues piled on 54 points to 31 in the opening two quarters to lead by 23 at half-time. The Braves were much better after half-time and even won the final term, but the damage was done, going down 94-73. Lachlan Barker racked up 26 points with seven long-range makes, while Alister MacDonald had the four triples on his way to 14 points, three rebounds and two assists. Dillon Stith (15 points, eight rebounds, two assists and three steals) was influential across the court, while David Andersen (14 points, seven rebounds) used his experience to advantage. Ray Turner was the pick of the Braves, recording 13 points, nine rebounds and two steals, while Brennan Rymer (11 points, six assists and four steals) and Javaan Mumtaz (10 points, three assists) were solid.

Hobart Chargers (81) def. Ballarat Miners (77)

Hobart Chargers have held on in a thrilling contest to defeat Ballarat Miners by four points last Friday night. The Chargers got away to a five-point lead at quarter time which was cut to three by the main break. The home team put it back out to five points at the last change, with the Miners only able to claw back one point in the final term. Koen Sapwell (26 points, three rebounds) and Jonathan Mines (25 points, three rebounds and two blocks), went haywire from long-range, making 11 of 18 from beyond the arc. Jack Stanwix (11 points, five assists and three steals) and Jacob Richards (10 points, seven rebounds and three assists) were the other key scorers for the Chargers. William Hickey knocked down 23 points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals in the loss, while Deng Acuoth picked up 15 points and 10 rebounds in a double-double effort. William Hynes (11 points, four rebounds) and Daniel Joyce (11 points, five rebounds and four assists) were the others to contribute strongly across multiple facets of the game.

North West Tasmania (71) def. by Ballarat Miners (74)

Immediately bouncing back from their Friday night loss, the Miners were forced into another close one with a Tasmanian opponent, this time coming away with an overtime. The teams were locked at 67 points apiece after four quarters following a late Thunder fightback, but the Miners stepped up in overtime, with a Matt Kenyon jumper with five seconds on the clock winning his side the match. Kenyon was the standout player on the court, racking up 27 points, nine rebounds and four assists, while Jock Perry (15 points, seven rebounds) and Acuoth (12 points, nine rebounds) were also lively at both ends. For the Thunder, Paul Campbell top-scored with 18 points, nine rebounds and two assists, while Sejr Deans (13 points, three rebounds and two assists) and Taran Armstrong (nine points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals) were steadfast in defeat.

Frankston Blues (110) def. Dandenong Rangers (76)

Making it back-to-back wins in Round 2, Frankston Blues easily took care of Dandenong Ranges. The Blues stormed to a 65-38 lead at half-time, and by the final break held a 38-point advantage. Dandenong won the last term to cut the final margin to 34 points, but the damage was well and truly done by that stage. Andersen picked up 24 points, four rebounds and three assists, while Stith managed the 20 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Barker also feasted on points with 23 in total, as well as five assists, two rebounds and two steals, with Thomas Garrett the other Blues player to reach double-figure points thanks to his 14 and four rebounds. For the Rangers, Declan Soukup had 19 points – five of six from long-range – and four assists, while Sean Macdonald (13 points, four rebounds and two assists) and Oliver Hayes-Brown (12 points, 13 rebounds) both impacted the match.

Knox Raiders (72) def. Kilsyth Cobras (63)

Knox Raiders were able to power away from Kilsyth Cobras in the final term to record a memorable nine-point victory in front of home fans. The Raiders trailed by a point at the last change, but then got to work with a strong defensive effort of 19-9 in the last quarter to run out 72-63 winners. Dylan Hare top-scored with 16 points, six rebounds and two assists, while Abraham Nyok (14 points, seven rebounds), Bul Kuol (13 points, three rebounds and two steals) and Ben Ayre (10 points, two rebounds and two assists) all picked up double-figure points in the win. A double-double from Timothy Lang (16 points, 12 rebounds) was the highlight for the Cobras, while Adrian Tomada (14 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals), Ben Ursich (13 points, six rebounds) and Deng Riak (10 points, eight rebounds) were the other quality players on the night.

Sandringham Sabres (90) def. by Mt Gambier Pioneers (122)

South Australia’s first win in the NBL1 South competition came when Mt Gambier Pioneers took out Sandringham Sabres by 32 points on Saturday night. The Pioneers piled on 64 points to 45 in the opening half to all but set up the win, though they went on with it too, winning the third term by 13 points, and securing the 122-90 victory. Duom Dawam (32 points, 16 rebounds and three assists) was unstoppable across the court, while Thomas Daly (25 points, five assists and four rebounds), Tom Kubank (19 points, five rebounds and three steals) and Nick Marshall (10 points, five rebounds and two assists) were others who stepped up in the victory. For the Sabres, Kuany Kuany was the standout shooter with a double-double of 28 points and 10 rebounds, as well as two assists and two steals. Tom O’Brien (15 points, three assists and two rebounds), Nicholas Gabsch (12 points, six rebounds) and Brody Nunn (14 points, two rebounds and two steals) were the other Sabres who impressed despite the heavy loss.

Eltham Wildcats (76) def. by Diamond Valley Eagles (79)

Diamond Valley Eagles picked up their second consecutive win with a tight three-point victory over Eltham Wildcats. The Eagles trailed by three points at quarter time and five points at the main break, before hitting the front with a 17-11 third term, and then holding on with a 19-17 final quarter for the 79-76 triumph. Darcy Harding was the top scorer with 23 points, nine rebounds and three assists, well supported by Blacio Owili (16 points, seven rebounds) and Ngor Manyang (15 points, four rebounds, three blocks and two assists). Matt Reynolds only had the five points, but picked up 11 assists in a creative effort. The Wildcats had a few contributors as well, with Justin Aver (20 points, two rebounds and two steals) leading the scoring, but Ovie Magbegor picking up the double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds. Adam Doyle (13 points, seven assists and two rebounds) was also an impressive performer despite the loss.

Albury-Wodonga Bandits (102) def. by Melbourne Tigers (107)

A telling final term set up Melbourne Tigers for a high-scoring five-point win over Albury-Wodonga Bandits on the road. Both teams offences were ticking on the night, and despite the Bandits leading by two points at the final break, the Tigers finished the match stronger, adding 28 points to 21 to win, 107-102. Felix von Hofe had a night out with 33 points, four rebounds and two assists, but he was far from alone, with Anthony Karabatsos (15 points, seven assists and four rebounds), Dogukan Elyazar (14 points, four rebounds) and Keenan Willie (nine points, nine assists, six rebounds and two steals) among the outstanding performers for the Tigers. Mitchell Dance picked up 28 points and nine rebounds in the loss, while Bijan Johnson (21 points, nine assists, five rebounds and three steals), Sharif Watson (16 points, nine rebounds and two steals) and Jack Saunders (15 points, six rebounds and two assists) were all strong.

Ringwood Hawks (81) def. by Geelong Supercats (85)

Geelong Supercats have posted a nail-biting four-point win over Ringwood Hawks thanks to a dominant third quarter. Despite not winning any of the other three terms, and trailing by nine points at the half, the Supercats piled on 29 points to 12 in the third quarter, setting them up for an 85-81 win. Isaac Turner was huge from beyond the arc with five of 11, on his way to 35 points, three rebounds and two assists. Mawut Macar Deng (15 points, six rebounds), Liam McInerney (11 points, 10 rebounds and four assists) and Jack Macdonald (14 points – four of eight from long-range – four assists and two steals) were also impressive. The Hawks were led by the damaging duo of Adrien Sturt (23 points, 12 rebounds and two steals) and CJ Asuncion-Byrd (27 points, four rebounds and three assists), while Jack Barry (11 points, seven rebounds) and Shaun Clarke (11 points, four rebounds) were also solid on the day.

Nunawading Spectres (96) def. Sandringham Sabres (61)

A strong start from the home team helped propel Nunawading Spectres to victory over Sandringham Sabres, handing the visitors their second loss of the weekend. The Spectres poured on 31 points to 14 in the opening quarter, then did it again in the third with 31 points to 10, which created the separation required for the 96-61 thumping. Tom Wright led the way with 29 points, five assists, two rebounds and two steals, while Simon Conn came close to a double-double with 13 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Costa Hronopoulos (13 points, seven rebounds and two assists) and Jack Gandolfo (12 points, five assists, two rebounds and two steals) were others who stepped up to help the cause. Kuany was again a lone-hand in terms of scoring, racking up a ridiculous 24 points and 17 rebounds, as well as four assists. Clancy Bird (10 points) was the only other scorer of note, as the Sabres were smashed across most facets of the game.

Waverley Falcons (79) def. Diamond Valley Eagles (72)

Waverley Falcons ended the run of the Diamond Valley Eagles at two, by saluting in a seven-point game. The Falcons led by 10 points at quarter time, but then found themselves trailing by a point at the main break. The second half swung back in the home team’s favour, winning both quarters by four points to get up, 79-72. Bennie Lewis put up 27 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Jake Heath (18 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals), Michael Harper (13 points, five rebounds and three assists) and Durrell McDonald (11 points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals) also had impressive efforts. For the Eagles, Owili managed the 23 points and 11 rebounds in a standalone effort, while Manyang picked up 11 points and five rebounds in the loss.

Picture credit: Rodney Turton

2021 NBL1 South Mens: Round 1 wrap – Sabres survive as Cobras produce late dagger

THERE were some sensational individual efforts amongst the number of tight National Basketball League (NBL)1 South men’s results in Round 1 as the competition tipped off over the weekend.

Melbourne Tigers (94) def. by Sandringham Sabres (97)

Sandringham Sabres have bravely held on against Melbourne Tigers to record a memorable three-point win to open the NBL1 South season. The Sabres raced out to a seven-point lead at quarter time, and went up by 12 at the main break. The Tigers hit back in the second half to cut the deficit to just six at the final break, and clawed to within one point in the final 12 seconds before a couple of Sabres free throws sealed the deal at a three-point margin, 97-94. Kuany Kuany had a night out with 20 points, nine rebounds and two assists, but he was far from alone for the Sabres. Nicholas Gabsch – who shot the last two free throws – had the 18 points, eight rebounds and two assists, while Tom O’Brien (17 points, two rebounds and two assists) and Kobe Davies (13 points, three rebounds) both had strong performances. Felix von Hofe threatened to spoil the Sabres’ party with 21 points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks, being the standout shooting threat on the evening. Anthony Karabatsos (17 points, six rebounds and three assists) and Walleldin Elbour (13 points, six rebounds) also contributed strongly as part of six Tigers who reached double-figure points.

Hobart Chargers (78) def. by North West Tasmania (85)

After falling behind at the first break, North West Tasmania Thunder steadied to run out seven-point winners over Hobart Chargers in a topsy-turvy game. The Chargers led by two points at quarter time, before the Thunder piled on 19 points to 11 in the second quarter to lead by six at the main break. The Chargers hit back to make it a one-point game at the final break, before North West Tasmania steadied with a 22-16 term to take out the win, 85-78. Bradley Simpson was the top scorer for the Thunder, as he knocked down 16 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals, while Joseph Chilcott had 14 points, four rebounds, two assists and three steals. Also reaching double-figure points were Kyle Clark (11 points, six rebounds) and Paul Campbell (11 points, five rebounds and two assists) in the win. Jonathan Mines was a clear best-on however despite being on the losing side, knocking down a remarkable 31 points at 66.7 per cent from the field – including four of eight from long-range – to go with three rebounds, two assists and one steal. Matthew Young (13 points, seven rebounds, two assists and one block) was also productive, as Koen Sapwell (11 points, four rebounds, two assist and one steal) was solid.

Frankston Blues (83) def. by Nunawading Spectres (94)

Nunawading Spectres have produced a impressive second half against Frankston Blues to win by 11 points at Frankston Basketball Stadium, trailing by three points at quarter time, the Spectres turned the tables on the home team to lead by two at half-time. Then in the second half, scored 50-41 to keep increasing the separation and secure the 94-83 victory. At the time of publishing, the full individual statistics were yet to be completed.

Knox Raiders (68) def. by Geelong Supercats (78)

Geelong Supercats came away with the win on the road, winning the first three quarters to put the result against Knox Raiders beyond doubt. The Supercats led by as much as 18 points at the final break before the Raiders hit back with a 30-22 high-scoring final term to cut the difference to 10 at the buzzer. Wang Nyieth led the way with 22 points and five rebounds for the Supercats, while Isaac Turner (17 points, four assists and four steals) was also impressive. Ma’alo Hicks had his way off the boards with 14 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks to go with his four points, while Liam McInerney (10 points, six rebounds) was one of another three Supercats to hit double-figure points. Jack Roberts equal top-scored for the Raiders with 15 points, six rebounds and two assists while Dylan Hare was the more accurate one from long range, sinking five of 10 on his way to 15 points, five rebounds and four assists. Simon Grant (10 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals) and Abraham Nyok (13 points, eight rebounds) were the other two Raiders to shine in the loss.

Diamond Valley Eagles (90) def. Dandenong Rangers (67)

Diamond Valley Eagles posted a comfortable win over Dandenong Rangers, getting up by as much as 25 points at the final break. The Eagles lead by 10, 12 and 25 at the end of the first, second and third quarters, before the Rangers marginally won the last term, 18-16. It mattered little though as the Eagles saluted 90-67 in front of their home fans. Ngor Manyang was the standout shooter for the Eagles, dropping 22 points, six rebounds and three assists on the night, teaming up well with Ben Allen (13 points, nine rebounds and three assists). They had plenty of contributors get close to double-double efforts, with Matt Reynolds (11 points, nine assists, four steals and three rebounds), Darcy Harding (11 points, eight rebounds and five assists) and BJ Symons (10 points, nine rebounds) sharing the load. For the Rangers, Oliver Hayes-Brown did collect a double-double with a huge 18 points and 12 rebounds in the loss. Sean Macdonald top-scored with 19 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Max Richards (nine points, three rebounds) made the most of his 12 minutes on court.

Eltham Wildcats (88) def. by Ringwood Hawks (98)

Ringwood Hawks came back from a two-point half-time deficit to have a stronger second half and run away with a 10-point win over Eltham Wildcats. The Hawks trailed 49-47 at the main break, but scored 46-39 in a good defensive effort in the second half to win, 98-88. Adrien Sturt was fantastic for the Hawks, finishing with 25 points, nine rebounds – five offensive – and five assists, while CJ Asuncion-Byrd (19 points, five rebounds), Jack Barry (13 points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals) and Trevor Latham (13 points, eight rebounds), and Matthew Snow (11 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals) all contributed to the cause. Adam Doyle (24 points, four rebounds and three steals) was the top scorer for the Wildcats, as Simon Bradbury (14 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals) and Ovie Magbegor (10 points, 15 rebounds and three assists) both picked up double-doubles. Justin Aver was also productive despite only shooting three of 10 from the field, finishing with 15 points, eight assists and five rebounds.

Kilsyth Cobras (69) def. Waverley Falcons (68)

Kilsyth Cobras have dealt a late blow to the Waverley Falcons, with Corey Jeffs three-pointer in the dying seconds of the match securing a one-point victory in front of home fans. The Cobras led by six points at quarter time, but their lead was whittled down to three at the main break, and two by the final change, with the Falcons winning the final three quarters – including the last term. Falcons’ Bennie Lewis made a jump shot to put the visitors two points up with 35 seconds remaining, but Jeffs’ long-range bomb – and a subsequent miss from the Falcons secured the Cobras’ 69-68 victory. Adrian Tomada hit 16 points, and picked up nine rebounds and four assists for the Cobras, while Deng Riak had a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Joel Naburgs finished with 12 points and four rebounds. Jeffs’ match-winner brought him up to nine points and was ironically the first triple he made all night, having missed five previous attempts. For the Falcons, Durrell McDonald top-scored with 16 points, as well as three assists and two rebounds, while Lewis had the 16 points, eight rebounds and two assists. Michael Harper (14 points, two rebounds) and Jake Heath (seven points, seven rebounds) were other productive players in the losing team.

Albury-Wodonga Bandits (73) def. by Ballarat Miners (81)

Ballarat Miners have produced an impressive third term to secure an eight-point win over Albury-Wodonga Bandits on the road. The Miners led at each break but only by two and three points at the first and second breaks respectively, before piling on 27 points to 20 and opening up a double-digit lead, The final term was a low-scoring slog, with the Bandits cutting into the deficit by two, but still going down, 73-81. William Hickey put up 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for the Miners, with Deng Acuoth (22 points, 18 rebounds, two assists and two blocks) phenomenal off the boards, and Matt Kenyon (17 points, 12 rebounds and two steals) the third player to achieve a double-double from the visitors. Mitchell Dance led the scoring for the Bandits with 26 points and two steals, while Bijan Johnson (13 points, four steals, two assists and two rebounds) and Jacob Cincurak (12 points, six rebounds and five assists) were others from the home team that reached double-figure points.

Mt Gambier Pioneers (82) def. by Bendigo Braves (95)

Bendigo Braves have won on the road against Mt Gambier Pioneers, securing a 13-point victory in style despite a double-double effort from Pioneers’ Duom Dawam. The Braves were quick to build the momentum early with a seven-point lead at the first break, and they doubled that by half-time. The Pioneers managed to get it back a point at the final change, but could not dig into it any further during the 82-95 loss. Dawam finished with 31 points – at 50 per cent from the field – and 13 rebounds – six offensive – to be the standout player. Thomas Daly (21 points, two rebounds and two assists) was the other key scorer, as the pair did the bulk of the work. Kane de Wit finished with eight points, 13 rebounds, five assists, six steals and two blocks in an all-round effort despite a 25 per cent field goal shooting percentage. The winners shared the ball around with Ray Turner picking up where he left off in 2019 with a double-double of 20 points and 14 rebounds. Nelson Larkins (17 points, five rebounds and four assists), Brennan Rymer (15 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals) and Chris Hogan (10 points, nine rebounds and two assists) were others who had an impact in the match.

Airs keep top two hopes alive with win over Giants

TARANAKI Mountainairs have kept their dreams of finishing in the top two of the 2020 Sal’s National Basketball League (NBL) Showdown alive after downing Nelson Giants by seven points last night. In what was a team effort – five players scored double-figure points – the Airs reached the hundred mark yet again in the 102-95 win.

TARANAKI MOUNTAINAIRS 28 | 20 | 26 | 28 (102)
NELSON GIANTS 24 | 27 | 16 | 28 (95)

[ … FULL MATCH STATS … ]

Both teams were able to gets shots off early, but back-to-back threes by Thomas Ingham and Dane Brooks gave the Giants an early advantage. Denhym Brooke countered with a triple of his own for the Airs, and the big guns in Derone Raukawa, Mika Vukona and Mike Karena all got on the board with some points. Trailing by as much as six, the Airs drained three consecutive treys – one to Marcel Jones and two to Shane Temara – to hit the front themselves. They did not lose it again for the rest of the quarter as both teams share the points around.

The Airs long-range shooting was a huge feature of the opening term as the Giants looked to get as close to the basket as possible. The teams traded baskets in the last couple of minutes as Nic Trathen had a late triple to follow on from Mitchell Dance, but it would be Zach Easthope who had the last say with a layup as the clock ticked down to four seconds for Taranaki to lead by four at the first break.

The second term opened with Ken Tuffin scoring his first points of the game with a jump shot after missing his earlier three-point attempt, as the Giants kept in touch with the third placed Airs through another Trathen triple just two minutes into the game. Raukawa and Jones scored the next seven Airs points, but then their side went three minutes without scoring. Despite the long period, Nelson did not fare much better with a Karena driving layup a minute earlier the first time the Giants had been in front since midway through the first quarter.

The teams traded buckets in the second half of the term, as the Giants through Ingham and Karena built a handy lead. Temara scored five late points for his side to cut the deficit to three points by the main break. Having had a break later in the term, Raukawa returned to the court for the second half to try and spur his team on after conceding the lead in the second quarter.

Just nine seconds into the quarter and Tuffin got to the rim with a nice layup and Vukona fouled Jones on a three-point attempt to send the big man to the line which he duly delivered to give his side a two-point advantage. Vukona soon made up for his error with a two-pointer of his own, and the teams again traded passes. Josh Bloxham cleverly picked up a steal off a Raukawa pass and Karena fed the ball to Ingham for a triple to hit the front. No sooner had the Giants went ahead, and Raukawa quickly drained a triple of his own to give his team the advantage.

The Airs maintained that advantage throughout the term, as the Giants got as close as three points with 2:22 left in the quarter. However the last two baskets – to Raukawa and Tai Wynyard – extended the lead out to seven at the final change, with no score added in the last 74 seconds of the game as the Giants kept having chances but not nailing them. Four consecutive shots resulted in three offensive rebounds for Nelson, before Wynyard finally grabbed a defensive board, only for Jones to turn the ball over again. Not long after the siren sounded with the Airs up by seven.

Still within striking range, the Giants continued to push as Karena, Trathen and Ingham all scored early baskets. Temara produced an entertaining dunk, while Raukawa was still making life difficult for the opposition with his shooting. Midway through the term, the game was well and truly alive with the Giants drawing within a point on a number of occasions. Vukona capitalised off an and-one chance with two minutes and 43 seconds remaining and the scores 89-88 in favour of the Airs.

That seemed to wake the third placed team up a little as Jones and Brooks both contributed with jumpshots to push it out to six points and the Giants never got closer. Karena’s basket with 56 seconds on the clock put the Giants to within six, but then the deliberate fouling was on and the Airs made sure to get the ball in the hands of Raukawa who delivered from the charity stripe. An Ingham turnover in the last 38 seconds resulted in a Tuffin basket, and while Theo Johnson nailed a late triple, it was too little, too late for the Giants who went down 102-95.

Raukawa finished with a double-double of 15 points, 11 assists and two rebounds, while Jones picked up 23 points, eight rebounds and five assists in another big performance. Temara had 20 points and eight rebounds coming off the bench, while Dance (13 points) and Brooke (10 points, three rebounds) also reached double-figure points. For the Giants, Ingham top scored with 24 points, six rebounds and three assists, while Trathen came off the bench for 20 points of his own to accompany five rebounds, three assists and three steals. Karena (18 points, six rebounds and two assists) and Brooks (12 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals) both picked up double-figure numbers while Vukona aided his teammates well with five rebounds, three steals and two assists to go with eight points.

Taranaki takes on Franklin Bulls tomorrow in a must-win clash if the Airs are to secure a top two spot, while Nelson plays its final game on Saturday against Otago Nuggets knowing it is set for the first elimination final on Tuesday.

Jets navigate Airs in explosively high-scoring contest

MANAWATU Jets powered on in the final term of their 2020 Sal’s National Basketball League (NBL) Showdown contest with Taranaki Mountainairs to record a memorable 15-point win over the top of the table side. It was no surprise that the two highest scoring sides went toe-for-toe and surpassed the ton, with 11 individual scorers reaching double-figure totals. Leading the way was Hyrum Harris who returned to the court following injury, and the star made an impact with his first game back, producing a jaw-dropping triple-double in the victory.

MANAWATU JETS 22 | 32 | 21 | 33 (118)
TARANAKI MOUNTANAIRS 25 | 23 | 32 | 23 (103)

[ … FULL MATCH STATS … ]

It did not take long for the first and fourth placed sides to get going as Mr Double Double (Marcel Jones) dropped a jump shot and then was immediately countered by an Ashton McQueen bucket off a Harris assist. Whilst Harris looked a little rusty in his return game early – with a turnover and missed layup in the opening couple of minutes – it was good to have the Jets talent back on court. In the meantime though, Tai Wynyard and then Derone Raukawa skipped the ladder-leading Airs out to a lead with Raukawa’s triple and then one of two free throws handing the hairs an early 8-2 lead.

Harris scored his first basket of the contest with a nice layup four minutes in, and despite the Jets clawing to within three points, Taranaki got some air on its opposition with a couple of Jones free throws and a Mitchell Dance jump shot. Harris returned from a brief stint on the bench to immediately be a worry for the opposition, fouled off attempting a triple. He did not hurt the Airs as much as he could have, sinking just the one of three from the charity stripe. Nelson Kirksey soon drew his side within four, but that was matched by Jones dropping another triple 10 seconds later.

When Jones landed a handy hookshot with 93 seconds left on the clock in the first term, the Airs led by seven points. Then a quick flurry of points, including a Haize Walker layup in the final 10 seconds resulted in the Jets cutting the deficit to three points at the first break.

That three-point deficit was eroded in the first minute as a Harris jump shot from long-range levelled the scores. Wynyard found Shane Temara for a memorable Airs dunk in response, as Taranaki was forcing fouls off the opposition. Ken Tuffin scored his first points of the match a few minutes into the second term, as the Airs built a handy seven-point buffer with six minutes to play. Then the Jets came hard. Kirksey in particular decided enough was enough, dropping five points as his side scored 10 of the next 12 points.

Surprisingly, high volume scorer Tom Vodanovich only put up his first points of the contest with three and a half minutes left in the first half, while Raukawa was already cooking in what was building to be another sensational performance. The momentum had turned in the meantime with the Jets up by one following a pair of Jones free throws to cut the deficit back, only for the Jets to sink 14 of the next 20 points – including four triples – to blow out the margin to nine with a minute to play. Raukawa got a crucial long-range shot to drop to cut the half-time deficit to six, but the jets were here to play.

Both teams were going to hang around in the second half as they traded blows early with Harris and Taane Samuel putting up five consecutive points for the Jets to lead by nine just 90 seconds into the contest. It would be the Airs turn to go on a scoring rampage though, shooting the next 14 points, including five to Jones, four to Raukawa and a triple to Tuffin, for Taranaki to again regain control. A Jayden Bezzant steal off Tuffin proved crucial though, as he and Samuel scored six of the next eight points to pull within a point midway through the term.

After Jones completed a couple of free throws, Vodanovich tied the game with a triple off a Harris assist, and then despite Wynyard momentarily regaining the lead for the Airs, the Jets sank back-to-back baskets through Samuel and Harris. The long-range shooting of the Jets was proving the difference with Manawatu maintaining a small lead over Taranaki heading into the final break. Jones was still being a nuisance for the Jets, regularly set to the charity stripe and with 48 seconds to go, he drew his team within one. But the Jets scored the final four points of the game to head into the last term with a 85-80 lead and the stage was set for a thrilling finish.

Denhym Brooks was quick to drop a triple for the Airs and draw within two points in the opening minute of the game, but the Airs had the answers with McQueen and Vodanovich again extending the lead out to eight points a minute later. Each time Taranaki would draw closer, a Jets player – such as Kirksey – would drain a triple and undo the hard work the Airs had put together. Manawatu leader Tia Temata-Frost scored his basket at a crucial junction to go seven points clear, and soon Kirksey had another triple and the lead was into double-digits.

Back-to-back triples from the Jets thanks to Vodanovich and McQueen meant the Airs’ back-to-back two-pointers were not only countered but built upon, and when Vodanovich drained another long-range bomb with just over four minutes remaining in the contest, the lead was out to 13 points. Harris and Samuel all but sealed the game in the next minute with a combined five points buffering the advantage to 18, before a couple of free throws to Francis Mulvihill brought the Airs to the century with just under three minutes to play.

Mitchell Dance scored three of the last five points of the game, but it would not be enough as the Jets secured the 118-103 victory courtesy of a strong final term. In terms of team stats, the Jets shot at a much higher 67 to 52 per cent from the field, and drained 15 triples to seven – a third of their long-range shots going in. The Airs work from the charity stripe kept them in the contest (86 per cent accuracy), but the Jets scored 17 points to 11 from turnovers, and made good with 18-11 second chance opportunities. In particularly, scoring 31 points from 18 off the bench was impressive, though both teams only had the 11 turnovers each in what was a high quality game by two genuine Sal’s NBL Showdown contenders.

Harris was voted best-on in the Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award thanks to his remarkable triple-double of 24 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and two blocks, leading the way for the Jets. He was one of six players to notch up double-figure points with Samuel (22 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals) and Kirksey (19 points, four rebounds, four assists and one steal) both having plenty of it. Vodanovich was by his standards quiet but still amassed the 17 points and six rebounds, while McQueen and Bezzant both had 12 points and three rebounds in the win.

For the Airs, Raukawa and Jones were the standout players. Raukawa helped himself to a double-double of 29 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and two steals, while Jones picked up 24 points and 10 rebounds. Temara also achieved a double-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds and two assists, while Tuffin was the other starter to record double-figure points with 11. Dance’s last three points of the game saw him too notch into double-figure points with an identical 11.

Heading into the final week, the now second-placed Jets take on Franklin Bulls on Tuesday, before matches against Otago Nuggets and Auckland Huskies to play the four other top five teams in consecutive matches to end the regular season. The Airs meet Nelson Giants on Wednesday before a clash with the Bulls on Thursday the last encounter ahead of finals, having the most break of any side ahead of the post-season series tipping off on Tuesday week.

Huskies continue to be Airs kryptonite, win in OT thriller

FOR the second consecutive time, the Auckland Huskies have upset the league-leading Taranaki Mountainairs in the 2020 Sal’s National Basketball League (NZNBL) season’s second overtime contest of the year, 102-99. Tohi Smith-Milner‘s 22 points and 21 rebounds was a huge factor in the result as the Huskies continued their good form over the last couple of weeks as the season builds towards finals.

AUCKLAND HUSKIES 24 | 20 | 22 | 17 | 19 (102)
TARANAKI MOUNTAINAIRS 23 | 24 | 15 | 21 | 16 (99)

[ … FULL MATCH STATS … ]

Looking at reaching a .500 record for the first time since the start of the season, the Huskies needed to find a way to slow down the one-two punch of Derone Raukawa and Marcel Jones.

Auckland also had the challenge of stopping the Airs bench players from contributing further, as they looked to their own secondary players to chip in wherever they could. Meanwhile, a win for Taranaki would make it five in a row, in what has been a perfect start to the second half of the Sal’s NBL season.

Leon Henry and Smith-Milner’s opening field goals started the Huskies off on the right foot. But as expected, Jones and Raukawa got going early for the Airs answering back with field goals of their own.

Only three minutes into the contest both teams traded baskets profusely with 18 points being scored, as defence seemed to come few and far between passages of play. However, the battle between Raukawa and Auckland’s Izayah Mauriohooho Le’afa was a fierce one early. Nevertheless, it did not stop Taranaki’s point-guard from collecting 11 of his sides first 18 points.

As a strong post-move from Mitchell Dance and aggressive block from Denhym Brooke made it seem like the Airs might edge out a first quarter lead, a three-pointer by Le’afa gave Auckland the 24-23 lead at the first break, capping off a 10-point quarter for the guard.

In a more casual start to the second quarter, it was not until the fourth minute of play that a Jones three and six straight points by Shane Temara allowed Taranaki to take a hold of the game, leading by eight at the mid-way stages of the second.

After Auckland’s timeout, a Smith-Milner three kick started a 9-0 run for the Huskies, handing them back the lead with a couple minutes still to play in the first half.

Two straight buckets for Jones, following an early exit appearing to be a groin injury to Smith-Milner (would return in the second half), sparked another late run for the Airs, giving the Gold and Black a three-point lead at the main break, 47-44.

Kevin Braswell’s squad despite trailing by just three points, failed to really slow down Raukawa and Jones, with each of them scoring 15 and 16 points respectively, while Jones grabbed seven boards too. For the Huskies, their skipper in Henry led from the front with 12 first half points, aiding his side to a 44 per cent shooting and 11-assist first half.

Three minutes into a rather uneventful third quarter, Jones pulled down his tenth rebound, adding another double-double to his impressive track record. However, Smith-Milner’s hustle on the glass helped his side regain the lead the next play and log a double-double of his own just a couple minutes later.

Two three-pointers from Auckland wing Taine Murray with a few seconds remaining in the third, gave Auckland a four-point advantage with ten minutes to go, 66-62, as the Huskies looked to repeat history by knocking off a strong Taranaki side.

Murray would continue the fourth from deep with his fifth three of the game. But the Airs continued to fight back inside the key, as the front court duo of Jones and Temara hounded the rim earning their points up close and at the free-throw line.

For 20-year-old Reuben Fitzgerald, throughout the game he had found himself in the right place at the right time on various occasions, accumulating five rebounds leading up to the first half of the final quarter, four of which were offensive. This was capped off with a key layup and the foul, putting his side four points ahead late in the game, as well as putting enormous pressure on Taranaki to answer.

Moving on to the end of the game, with both sides tied at 83-83, back-to-back offensive rebounds for the Airs and a missed three on the buzzer by Raukawa, would set up the second overtime contest of the season, the second for Taranaki as well.

A nice swing play to Jones would kick off OT with a hook shot in front of the basket, which was followed by threes from Jones again and Raukawa, putting the Airs up by as much as six. Back-to-back buckets from Smith-Milner and Le’afa brought the game to within a single possession and after Murray’s hanging reverse layup, the game was tied with 100 seconds remaining.

As more buckets were traded in the final minute of play, Le’afa’s bonus free-throws created a three-point deficit with 16 seconds on the clock. As Kenneth Tuffin’s layup would bring the contest back to one, bonus free-throws from Le’afa and Smith-Milner would be enough for the Huskies to once again topple the Airs, squeezing out the 102-99 victory.

Even though the Airs shot a pretty consistent 36 per cent from the field, it was not enough to get their side over the edge. Nevertheless, another great night from the duo of Jones and Raukawa was on display.

For Jones, he finished his night with 36 points and 17 rebounds, while Raukawa walked off the court with 28 points and eight assists under his name. Additionally, Temara completed the game with 15 points and eight rebounds.

In a game of bulk statistics, Smith-Milner made his statement game in Thursday’s opener with 22 points and 21 rebounds. His performance was the first 20-20 game in the NZNBL season to this point. Meanwhile, Murray’s team-high 28 points on six three-pointers led the side in scoring. Finally, Le’afa and Henry’s 21 points apiece, rounded out a strong performance from the Huskies’ starting five.

Auckland’s win earned them a record of five wins and five losses, putting them just outside the top four as they eye up the bottom of the table Nelson Giants on Sunday night.

Following last night’s contest, the Airs will look to bounce back against a top four foe in the fourth seeded Manawatu Jets, who could challenge for the top spot in the following week if they can get the job done this weekend against Taranaki.

Final quarter thriller leaves Airs two games clear at top of the table

HIGH-octane offence combatted stringent defence, as Taranaki Mountainairs came out on top of the Otago Nuggets, 106-105 in one of the games of the 2020 Sal’s National Basketball League (NBL) Showdown. For much of the game, both teams took care of the ball, but it was Taranaki that took home the win despite a fierce second half comeback from the Nuggets.

TARANAKI MOUNTAINAIRS 32 | 29 | 22 | 23 (106)
OTAGO NUGGETS 21 | 28 | 27 | 29 (105)

[… FULL MATCH STATS … ]

The opening night of week four action rounded out with what was promised to be the game of the season so far between the first-placed Taranaki Mountainairs and the third-placed Otago Nuggets. It is fair to say that fans were made good on that promise, and then some.

The promise of plenty of offence was certainly delivered with 53 points being scored in the first quarter. The Nuggets won possession off the tip which resulted in a missed dunk opportunity for Jordan Hunt, one of many shots missed at the rim for Otago. Marcel Jones opened the scoring for the game with a silky post-hook, as the reply came straightaway from Josh Aitcheson with the corner three.

Jones would continue to show why he is one of the best players in the league as he was stealing defensively, facilitating the offence with multiple assists, and banking in threes, it all seemed to be going his way early. His activity was contagious for his team as Taranaki was doing it on both ends.

With the starters beginning to have a break, it was the unlikely performances of bench players Denhym Brooke of the Airs and Matthew Bardsley of the Nuggets who would turn super subs for the quarter. Brooke would go five for five from the floor and end the quarter with 12 points, while Bardsley would drop eight, keeping the Nuggets in the game.

A Francis Mulvihill splash would intervene his efforts as the lead extended to double digits for the Airs. Jordan Ngatai’s only three points for the half would close out the quarter to end 32-21. An evenly poised contest with offence the clear difference. Taranaki was shooting 60 per cent and had twice as many assists than Otago for the quarter as its static offence needed to get moving as the game progressed.

A Jarrod Kenny splash started the second quarter and set the tone for he and the Nuggets as they outworked the Airs early. Kenny looked to score aggressively inside and out and another triple from him prompted a reply from MVP race leader Derone Raukawa, who earned three points the old fashioned way.

To typify a slow scoring night, a Ngatai air ball preceded a big Brooke put back and-one from the weak side, while the offensive explosion began to settle as both teams started to sort themselves out defensively.

Though the Nuggets made in-roads to the early deficit they gave up, another Mulvihill splash pushed the lead out to 12. Backup forwards in Brooke and Zachary Easthope supported Jones and Tai Wynyard, however, it would be Mitchell Dance that would take over, scoring six down the stretch.

Despite new inclusion Aaron Roydhouse knocking down his first shot in the competition from downtown, the Airs would maintain their first quarter lead heading into half-time up 61-49. Though they only shot 10 per cent less from the field, some inconsistent defence from the Nuggets allowed 29 bench points and 38 points in the paint for Airs. Brooke (15 points) and Jones (11 points, six rebounds, five assists) were important for the Airs while Hunt (11 points) led the way for the Nuggets.

Kane Keil opened the second half with a big triple in a quarter that would see him score eight. Hunt’s physicality inside would lead to a couple of baskets as the lead was suddenly back down to five. Much like the start of the second quarter, a renewed energy surge struck the Nuggets, but they were still unable to string that big run together that would see them within a possession of the Airs.

Ngatai forced his way back into the game late in the quarter with a smooth spinning layup and a three-point play, however, Raukawa going coast to coast and a Shane Temara dunk kept the scores at 83-76 heading into the last break. You still could not help but feel the momentum was with the Nuggets as it seemed the Airs starters were starting to fatigue.

The final 10 minutes were some of the most exciting basketball the competition has seen so far. Some big blows either way held the margin until the Nuggets stars in Ngatai and Kenny took control, while Bardsley was so vital down the stretch with his athleticism and hustle all over the court.

Kenny found his way to the line multiple times, but it was free-throws from Hunt that tied the game at 98-apiece with just over two minutes left to play. It was the first time the scores were level since the score line read 0-0.

A go-ahead basket from Kenny was answered with the double-double machine Jones hitting a jumper to tie, as he went back to back with a pretty floater to give the Airs the lead with one minute to play. As he had done all game, Keil came up clutch with a much-needed triple before some Kenneth Tuffin free throws changed the lead again.

With thirty seconds left, who else was going to step up? That’s right, the super subs of the first half decided to end the flurry they began with Bardsley laying it in, and Brooke doing the same to make the game 106-105.

The Nuggets had no timeouts left and went to their star player Ngatai who had some scoring left in him. His baseline teardrop narrowly missed as time ran out on the loose ball, handing the Airs the narrow but well-deserved victory in a thriller.

Jones (26 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, three steals) and Raukawa (22 points, seven assists, 9/9 free-throws) put up another good performance as Brooke (17 points, seven rebounds) played big minutes off the bench. Temara’s (14 points, 12 rebounds) effort flew under the radar as Taranaki sit two games clear on top of the ladder. They face Auckland on Thursday and will be looking to continue their high-scoring winning ways.

Hunt (24 points, eight rebounds) and Kenny (20 points, eight assists) starred for the Nuggets as well-rounded games from Keil (20 points, eight rebounds, six assists) and Bardsley (18 points, eight rebounds) almost pushed them over the line. Ngatai (11 points, 28 per cent shooting) was quieter than usual and will no doubt come out firing in their match against the Rams on Thursday.

Giant second half and OT not enough for Nelson, fall to Airs

FANS who tuned in to see the Taranaki Mountain Airs take on the Nelson Giants witnessed a treat, as for the first time this season an NZNBL game would need overtime to separate two teams at the end of regulation, with the Airs squeezing out a hard fought victory against a wiley Giants outfit, 95-88, and moving back to the top of the league standings in the process of doing so.

TARANAKI MOUNTAINAIRS 27 | 30 | 6 | 12 | 20 (95)
NELSON GIANTS 19 | 17 | 20 | 19 | 13 (88)

[ … FULL MATCH STATS … ]

Heading into Thursday’s opening contest, the Airs were in marvellous form as Derone Raukawa was leading the League in assists and forward Marcel Jones was at the top of list in rebounds prior to their clash with Nelson. Furthermore, there was much anticipation between the matchup of Taranaki’s Tai Wynyard and Nelson’s Michael Karena, as both of these Centers looked to dominated around their respective baskets and gain an upper hand on one another.

With both sides trading baskets early, the two sides would be attached at the hip early on with eight points apiece, as neither side could gain a dominant grasp on the game within the opening minutes.

Following a successful three-point play and an easy layup via Zachary Easthope, the Airs could start to gain some traction in Thursday’s matinee, but Dane Brooks would answer back strong with five consecutive points of his own. This, on the way to 11 of his side’s 16 initial points of the game.

With numerous scoring runs headlining the opening quarter of play, Taranaki would have the last laugh, closing out the first ten minutes of play with an 8-0 scoring run, to lead 27-19 at the end of one, as Raukawa and Easthope’s seven points each led an 11 of 22 (50 per cent) shooting effort to kick off the contest.

A Jones spinning jumpshot and a Mitchell Dance hook shot extended the lead for the Airs to 12 continuing their scoring run to 12-0, which essentially set the tone for the rest of the first half.

As Taranaki hoisted a 14-5 run to commence second quarter proceedings, Nelson had their work cut out for them heading into the main break, as their struggle to find answers continued.

Despite the Giants leading in the three-point shooting category making five first-half triples from deep, the Airs were slaying the matchup from two-point range, converting 20 of their 31 field goal attempts (64 per cent).

Individually, Raukawa had another superior first half leading his side in points and assists (12 and four respective), whereas Jones was providing valuable contributions in most facets of the game and especially on the board, adding nine points, nine rebounds and three dimes to his side’s box score.

On the flip side, Brooks maintained his good play into the second quarter, concluding his opening two quarters with 11 points, four rebounds and three steals, as he had to figure out how to motivate his team to overcome a 21-point deficit in the latter half of the game, as the Giants trailed 57-36.

More of the same opened up the second half, as a mid-range jumper from Jones signalled a similar half to their first for Taranaki. However, a 14-0 run for the Giants pulled the deficit back to 11 points eight minutes into the third period following Zeb Lovell’s free-throws.

Jones’s hook shot halted the Airs’ run the next play, but Nelson just kept punching at the deficit, closing out a massive third quarter and outscoring Taranaki 20-6 in the ten-minute stretch of time, with the score at just 63-56 and the Giants forcing 16 turnovers to this point from the other team.

A flashy euro-step layup from Brooks was just what the doctor ordered to start off the last ten minutes for the Giants, trimming the Airs lead to a mere five points with Taranaki’s frustrations appearing to boil over.

Tysxun Aiolupotea’s back-to-back baskets brought the contest to just a single possession ballgame, helping Nelson to get in a position to knocking on Taranaki’s door halfway through the fourth. Succeeding this, both sides continued to trade successful plays, as Nelson struggled to complete their comeback, getting as close as a single point.

In the twilight moments of the game, Nelson made their final charge off the back of a Brooks three-point play with less than two minutes remaining, trailing by two points. With 30 seconds left, an Aiolupotea floater would send the game into overtime at 75-75, the first for the competition this season and completing the Giants’ run, which started late in the first half when they trailed by as much as 25.

To kick off the five minutes of post-regulation, Jones’s post-hook put the Airs on the right track which was further compounded by the fouling out of Thomas Ingham. Scoring the opening six points of overtime, Taranaki snuffed out the remainder of Nelson’s spirit following another Jones layup to cap off an 8-0 run.

The Giants rolled the dice one last time with a 6-0 run, before Raukawa’s eight made overtime free-throws would cement Taranaki’s second win in a row, taking out the result 95-88 and joining the Franklin Bulls at the top of the table with records of five wins and three losses.

In what was an honourable contest on the side of the Giants, their poor first half proved the obvious factor in their loss, trailing by 25 points at one stage. But highlighting a positive, a 39-18 second half from Nelson was a task many punters would have deemed impossible, as they almost conquered an almost insurmountable mission. Nevertheless, important late-game free-throw shooting by Taranaki was the major factor in holding off a rampaging Giants outfit, as they collected their fifth win of the season.

Nelson’s most notable contributor was obviously Brooks, following his 23 point, eight rebounds and six assists game, shooting at an elite 75 per cent efficiency (9-12) from the floor including three steals. Other contributors included Ingham (18 points and four rebounds) and Lovell (11 points and 12 rebounds), who racked up a hard-earned double double.

If history is any indicator, the performances of both Raukawa and Jones was to be expected all along. Firstly, for Raukawa, it was a night of consistency and focus, following his perfect night from the free-throw line (13-13) which added to his 24 overall points, suitably accompanied by his seven assists. Secondly, for Jones, converting nine of his 22 attempts would account for his 21 points, alongside his whopping 16 rebounds and further adding to his historic season to this point.

Next up for the Airs is the struggling Canterbury Rams on Saturday night, who are now more than ever hungry for a win. Meanwhile, the Giants can recover for Sunday and look to cut the distance between themselves and the Otago Nuggets for fourth position.

Jones and the Airs emphatically end Bulls’ winning streak

TARANKI Mountainairs have leapt to the top of the 2020 Sal’s NBL (National Basketball League) ladder after winning their fourth match, and halting Franklin Bulls’ four-game winning streak in the provess. The Airs welcomed the return of big man Tai Wynyard who was going to have his hands full with in-form Sam Timmins, as Taranaki ran out 102-88 winners to move into first place on the ladder.

FRANKLIN BULLS 17 | 12 | 31 | 28 (88)
TARANAKI MOUNTAINAIRS 31 | 25 | 24 | 22 (102)

[ … FULL MATCH STATS … ]

Taranaki started tall on the court as Wynyard immediately posed a problem for Timmins and the Bulls, making the first three shots inside for the Airs to start the game. Having beaten smaller opponents in previous games, Timmins had to find other ways to impact the game.

Young gun and red-hot Isaac Davidson put the Airs on notice early with a clean triple to display his confidence, but it would be his only score for the first half. After a quiet outing last game, Kenneth Tuffin opened his scoring account with a layup off the glass, with big contributor in Franklin’s winning streak Dom Kelman-Poto doing the same soon after. From there, it was all Taranaki.

Mr. Double-Double Marcel Jones would knock down three triples in the first quarter as the lead stretched out to 16. A Kelman-Poto layup would bring the margin back to 14 as the Airs took a 17-31 lead at the first break.

Taranaki were doing it on both ends of the court with seven individual scorers shooting an incredible 81 per cent from the floor, as they forced the Bulls into low quality shots on their way to 33 per cent shooting. Static offence and defence for the Bulls contrasted the Airs’ swift ball movement, as they recorded 10 assists to the Bulls’ 3 in the first term alone.

As the Bulls were looking to move on and get into their stride, Jones hit his fourth three of the game to start the second, on his way to a big night. With Wynyard continuing to lock down Timmins, the Bulls were outclassed in every capacity to give up a 13 points to nothing run, which included a silky dime from Jones for a Shane Temara no-dribble reverse layup.

The Bulls’ first points of the quarter would come four minutes in from Nicholas Barrow, as Jones dribbled it off his foot and out of bounds soon after. This sparked a mini run from the Bulls, until a Dirk Nowitzki-like one leg fadeaway from Mitchell Dance kicked off a huge finish to the half for the Airs. Derone Raukawa and Francis Mulvihill got involved as the lead blew out to a game-high 30, an offensive clinic from the Airs. A Jackson Stubbins triple would end the half, as the Airs would go into the main break leading 29-56.

Quality of shots were still an issue for Franklin as they shot 32 per cent for the half, compared to Taranaki’s 71 per cent, which included 58 per cent from deep. The Airs also recorded 14 more points in the paint, 16 more bench points and nine more assists, as Davidson was held to just three points for the half.

It seemed the Bulls would only be playing for pride in the second half, however, a scrappy loose ball recovery from Timmins would ignite a 23-10 run, bringing the lead back to 14. With a quarter and change to play and plenty of hard work done, the lead no longer seemed insurmountable.

Unfortunately for the Bulls, the third quarter was a tale of two halves: their half, and Taranaki’s half. A technical foul called on coach Liam Simmons would bring the Airs back into the game with a four-point play on the back of a Raukawa free-throw and Jones three-ball.

Undoing all their hard work, the Bulls still trailed 60-80 heading into the last break as the potent one-two punch of Jones (25 points, eight rebounds) and Raukawa (15 points, nine assists) were on fire for Taranaki.

With Kelman-Poto (14 points, six rebounds) leading the charge for Franklin, and Davidson fresh from a big third quarter, a mammoth comeback was set for the Bulls. A strong start saw the lead cut back down to 14 with six and a half minutes left and as Kelman-Poto and the bulls started getting to the line, a comeback win wasn’t out of the question.

Coach Simmons went small with Kelman-Poto at the five position and instructed his team to take it on down the stretch. Unfortunately for Franklin, Taranaki would hold firm as they would trade baskets in what ended up being an anti-climatic finish to the game.

Despite being outscored 13 points in the second half, the Airs would win 102-88 on the back of their two stars Jones (29 points, nine rebounds, six assists) and Raukawa (21 points, 10 assists). Tuffin (10 points, eight rebounds) enjoyed a better outing than his last as Temara (12 points, four rebounds) and Wynyard (10 points, four rebounds, three assists) rounded out a great team display. They will face the Nelson Giants on Thursday sitting in first place, hoping they can replicate this shooting performance.

Kelman-Poto (18 points, 10 rebounds) was Franklin’s best as Davidson’s second half saw him finish the game with 17 points, five rebounds and three assists. Timmins (12 points, three rebounds) and Stubbins (11 points, six assists) were serviceable as they will be looking for more performers in Wednesday’s matchup with the Canterbury Rams.