Tag: nbl1 central

NBL1 fixtures released for huge April tip-off

MORE than 1,150 games will take place in a blockbuster opening round of National Basketball League (NBL)1 action set to tip off on Saturday, April 10. For the first time, four different leagues will tip off after NBL1 South was completed in 2019, before a COVID-19 shutdown stopped NBL1 North and NBL1 Central from running, whilst NBL1 West will also join the new second tier competition.

NBL1 Central will tip-off first this year, with an April 10 starting date as the 10 teams take to the court in the men’s and women’s matches. Forestville Eagles and Eastern Mavericks officially become the first NBL1 teams to begin the 2021 season, in what will be an 18-round season for that competition.

NBL1 West begins on Friday. April 16 with 16 matches played across Round 1, and the league going 17 rounds. A day later NBL1 South will tip-off as 18 games take place across a huge Saturday, April 17 fixture, and much like their west counterparts, will run for 17 rounds.

The last competition to tip-off will come a month later when NBL1 North begins on Friday May 14. There will be 14 rounds for the season leading up until the finals series.

Each conference will complete its regular season and finals by September 5, with the men’s and women’s champions to then compete in the inaugural NBL1 Finals Series in Melbourne from September 10-12.

Excitingly, all NBL1 games will be streamed live this season across the country, with more games than ever before. NBL1 Chief Commercial Officer Brad Joyner said it was an exciting time for basketball.

“We are delighted to announce NBL1 will return to basketball courts across Australia this April after its cancellation in 2020 because of COVID,” he said.

“NBL1 has grown immensely since it started in 2019 and continues to go from strength to strength with the introduction of three new conferences in NBL1 North, NBL1 Central and NBL1 West joining NBL1 South.

“We look forward to what will be an exciting 2021 season culminating with the NBL1 Finals Series in September and watching the continued growth of all of our clubs and players over the coming months.”

The four conferences consist of 57 clubs and 110 teams across both men’s and women’s competitions.

For the full schedules across all four competitions, head to the NBL1 site.

NBL1 Central men’s team summary: Woodville Warriors

THE National Basketball League (NBL)1 competition was cancelled for the 2020 season, so instead we take a look back at some of the teams that would have been tipping off in the NBL1 Central competition. Today’s side is Woodville Warriors men’s team, a side that finished eighth overall with seven wins from 20 games.

SEASON SUMMARY:

Finished: 8th
Won: 7
Lost: 13

TOP PLAYERS

Luke Stanbridge

Statistics: 19.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.9 steals
Shooting: 62.1% (2pt), 0.0% (3pt), 78.8% (FT)

The standout player for the team despite only playing just over half a season, Stanbridge was able to trouble opposition defences from in close. He averaged 19.3 points and 9.1 rebounds, including 2.6 off the offensive boards. He was on court a team-high 30.2 minutes per match, and he shot at an accurate 62.1 per cent from inside the arc, then drilled 78.8 per cent of his charity strike attempts.

James Boonstoppel

Statistics: 13.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.4 steals
Shooting: 44.2% (2pt), 38.5% (3pt), 66.7% (FT)

A player who played the majority of the season, Boonstoppel was just consistent across the board with an ability to aide his side when on court. He played an averaged of 23.6 minutes, which was only the sixth overall on his side, but he capitalised with ball-in-hand thanks to 13.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.4 steals. His pick-pocketing abilities ranked him first on the side helping his team defensively.

Joshua Clippinger

Statistics: 13.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.9 steals
Shooting: 49.1% (2pt), 25.0% (3pt), 75.0% (FT)

Clippinger came off the bench at times, averaging the 21 minutes per match, though he was effective, particularly with second chance opportunities. He averaged 2.3 offensive rebounds from a total average of six per game, as well as a respectable 13 points per match. He was a shooter exclusively inside the arc with a 49.1 per cent clip, while producing a 75 per cent accuracy from the free-throw line.

Highlight of the season: Winning three consecutive games

It is hard to look past the start of April as a memorable time for the Warriors as they finished the Anzac Day clash with a level 4-4 win-loss record to their name. They had started the season with three consecutive losses, but had won four of the past five, including three consecutive wins. Unfortunately for Woodville, they would win just another three in the last 12 as they faded away to eighth on the overall table.

Best Win: Defeated Norwood Flames by 9 points

The first win of that three-game streak began at home with a 106-97 victory over the top of the table Norwood Flames. At that stage, the Flames were unbeaten and the Warriors had just the one win in five outings which made the victory all the more sweet. While he did not play a full season, Jonathan Perry put up a team-high 24 points, two rebounds and three assists, while Alex Maiorana lit it up with a double-double of 23 points, 15 rebounds and two assists. Riley Meldrum (20 points, six rebounds and six assists) was also busy, while Stanbridge (14 points, seven rebounds) and Boonstoppel (12 points, seven rebounds) were strong off the boards.

SUMMARY

The Warriors will be disappointed with how the season ended up panning out, winning just three in the last 12 after a promising 4-4 start to the season. They needed a couple more of their top-end talents to get on the court in more games to be a serious threat, though their depth was quite impressive with seven players averaging eight points or more, and they were a very capable rebounding team. With an addition or two to the side for 2021, the Warriors could be an improver for the NBL1 Central competition.

NBL1 Central summary: Southern Tigers

THE National Basketball League (NBL)1 competition was cancelled for the 2020 season, so instead we take a look back at some of the teams that would have been tipping off in the NBL1 Central competition. Today’s side is Southern Tigers who showed plenty of class throughout season 2019 but lacked the finishing against the higher teams at times.

SEASON SUMMARY:

Finished: 6
Won: 12
Lost: 8

TOP PLAYERS:

JEMMA THACKER:

Statistics: 11.3 points, 2.3 assists, 5.1 rebounds, 1.3 steals
Shooting: 29.9% (2pt), 33.3% (3pt), 78.4% (FT)

Thacker was one of the more reliable and consistent performers for the Tigers throughout their 2019 campaign taking the court 18 times and averaging 26.8 minutes per game. Although she did not rack up a huge amount of rebounds with 5.1 each game she clearly showcased her intent when it came to scoring with 11.3 points a game credit to her ability to drive hard to the basket. Thacker will be wanting to improve on her accuracy from the field but proved her dominance at the free-throw line sinking them at an average of 78.4 per cent.

TA’REA CUNNIGAN

Statistics: 18.9 points, 2.2 assists, 6.6 rebounds, 2.1 steals
Shooting: 41.3% (2pt), 34% (3pt), 59.8% (FT)

It is fair to say that Cunnigan was a real play maker when she took the court with her scoring prowess constantly on display. Although she only featured in 14 games, Cunnigan impressed with an average of 18.9 points and could have racked up an even higher average if she was more accurate from beyond the arc throughout the season. She was a real livewire both in offence and defence able to get back and put a hand in to steal the ball and run off with it averaging 2.1 steals per game for her efforts. The American was a key cog for the Tigers and helped to keep the scoreboard ticking credit to her competitive spirit.

DENELLE FAWCETT

Statistics: 14.4 points, 3.3 assists, 7.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals
Shooting: 42.3% (2pt), 16.1% (3pt), 77.6% (FT)

Fawcett played a pivotal role for the Southern Tigers throughout 2019 taking the court 16 times and contributing both to the scoreboard and defensively. While she was not overly accurate from three-point range only sinking five from 31 attempts her strength lay in her skill from the charity line sitting at 77.6 per cent. But accuracy did not stop her from posting high numbers nailing an average of 14.4 points a game, while her ability to collect the rebound also did not go unnoticed with 7.3 a game. her cleanliness was also on show each game pick pocketing opponents with an average of 1.8 steals.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE SEASON: NARROW VICTORY OVER THE BEARCATS

Round 7 was a good round for the Southern Tigers who flexed their muscles against their higher ranked opponents and got another win on the board. A mere four points separated the two teams at the end of the game with the Bearcats going down 63-67 in what was a game filled with plenty of excitement. Fawcett impressed with her 12 points, while Bianca McCalop (10 points), Tara Dodman (10 points) and Thacker (eight points) all contributed to the win. It was a complete team performance from the Tigers who relied on all their players to step up to the plate and deliver, which they did.

BEST WIN: LAST ROUND VICTORY AGAINST SECOND PLACED EAGLES

With finals out of reach, the Tigers rallied in the last round of the season to really stamp their authority and prove they have what it takes to be a threat to be reckoned with downing the second placed Forestville Eagles, 74-66. It was a strong performance by the Southern Tigers who clearly had a point to prove and did just that. It seemed that they caught Forestville off guard and made the most of their opportunities on the court to run home. After dropping their previous encounter back in Round 16 it was a sweet victory for the Tigers who would take plenty of confidence out of the win.

SUMMARY:

Looking ahead to 2021, the Tigers have the basis of a quality team but just need to find that consistency and extra points scorer to lighten the load on the likes of Thacker who was out on her feet for the majority of the season. Finding a player that can also help defensively will also go a long way in pushing the Tigers that extra step and give them a shot at finals next season

NBL1 Central men’s team summary: Forestville Eagles

THE National Basketball League (NBL)1 competition was cancelled for the 2020 season, so instead we take a look back at some of the teams that would have been tipping off in the NBL1 Central competition. Today’s side is Forestville Eagles side that went all the way from second on the table to win the 2019 South Australian Premier League title.

SEASON SUMMARY:

Finished: 2nd (Premiers)
Won: 16
Lost: 4

TOP PLAYERS

Majok Deng

Statistics: 27.7 points, 11.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.3 blocks
Shooting: 58.0% (2pt), 39.5% (3pt), 78.3% (FT)

It was an absolutely remarkable season by Deng who lived up to all expectations with his performance. Averaging a double-double, Deng averaged 33.2 minutes from 19 games on court, and was accurate from in close with a 58 per cent accuracy. Also able to convert from the free-throw line, Deng was a menace anywhere near the basket. Remarkably though, he could drop three-pointers on the opposition as well, with almost 40 per cent of his attempts going in.

Greg Mays

Statistics: 21.7 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.5 blocks
Shooting: 62.4% (2pt), 27.3% (3pt), 57.8% (FT)

The second Eagles player to average a double-double in the 2019 season, Mays finished with a very impressive 21.7 points and 10.6 rebounds. He also denied the opposition with blocks 1.5 times a game and pickpocketed them almost once a match. While not a three-point shooter, Mays more than made up for it from in close, with a 62.4 per cent efficiency inside the arc.

Brendan Teys

Statistics: 19.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.6 steals
Shooting: 59.5% (2pt), 28.8% (3pt), 74.1% (FT)

The other NBL talent was the key playmaker in the team with a nice balance of point-scoring, rebounding and assisting teammates. He was able to hurt the opposition offensively with his 19.7 points and 4.7 assists, whilst being able to work hard defensively thanks to 4.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. His long-range game could improve, but his two-point accuracy was impressive at almost 60 per cent, whilst he was solid from the charity stripe with 74.1 per cent efficiency.

Highlight of the season: Winning the title

There is not too much to say other than tasting premiership glory is the ultimate dream for any sportsperson and the Forestville Eagles did just that. They were not the favourites heading into the finals, and had lost to the Pioneers three times prior, but what happens on the day is all that counts, and winning the title was as memorable as it gets. Now with a long wait until the next competitive match, the Eagles have had plenty of time to bask in that glory.

Best Win: Defeated Mt Gambier Pioneers by 17 points

When you win a title, there is nothing sweeter than the game that solidified your victory. The Eagles, coming up against the favourites in Mt Gambier Pioneers, were able to turn the tables on the minor premiers and won by 17 points, 107-90 in thrilling style. They finished with a plus nine in rebounds, plus four in assists and had 14 less personal fouls in a clean performance across the board. Michael Harris finished with 30 points and eight rebounds, as Mays (27 points, 13 rebounds) and Deng (20 points, 18 rebounds) dominated off the boards. Teys’ 17 points, six rebounds and three steals added extra strength to the starting line-up in what was a memorable match.

SUMMARY

There is not much more that needs to be said on how successful the Forestville Eagles season was. Along with the women’s side, the Eagles team did the double and took out both South Australian Premier League titles. Led by the damaging trio along with Harris as well putting plenty of points on the board, the Eagles starting five was stronger than any other team, and still had contributions off the bench. One team that must be close consideration for back-to-back titles when competition resumes in 2021 under the NBL1 Central banner.

NBL1 Central men’s team summary: Central District Lions

THE National Basketball League (NBL)1 competition was cancelled for the 2020 season, so instead we take a look back at some of the teams that would have been tipping off in the NBL1 Central competition. Today’s side is Central District Lions, the side that finished one place outside the finals, but still six wins adrift of that fifth spot.

SEASON SUMMARY

Finished: 6th
Won: 8
Lost: 12

TOP PLAYERS

Lual Diing

Statistics: [20] 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.3 steals
Shooting: 51.9% (2pt) | 40.0% (3pt) | 63.6% (FT)

One of only two players to play every game, Diing was a danger from both inside and outside the arc, averaging 15.8 points per game in 29.7 minutes. He shot at 40 per cent from long range, and was also able to win the ball back with more than one steal per game. His free-throw shooting could improve at 63.6 per cent, but he was certainly one of the standouts in the 2019 season for the Lions.

Jordan Riewer

Statistics: [20] 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 3.0 steals
Shooting: 51.4% (2pt) | 49.6% (3pt) | 87.2% (FT)

The best all-round player on the side, Riewer averaged 15 points, five rebounds and five assists per game, while also pick-pocketing the opposition three times per match. He averaged a team-high 33.5 minutes on court last season and with deadly accuracy from long-range – a whopping 49.6 per cent – he was one you could not afford to lead open on the trey attempt. When he was fouled, Riewer got the job done at the line with an elite 87.2 per cent – nailing 34 of his 39 attempts.

De’Vaughn Jones

Statistics: [10] 17.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.3 steals
Shooting: 61.2% (2pt) | 50% (3pt) | 50.0% (FT)

Jones only played the 10 games, but he made them count. Averaging 31.8 minutes on court, Jones sank a team-high 17.4 points and 8.7 rebounds, as well as a handy 1.3 steals. He rarely ventured outside the arc with his shooting, but nailed two of four attempts when he did, and achieved most of his points from the jump shot – also travelling to the line for just 28 attempts. It could have been a different season for the Lions if he had managed a full year, but he provided great support for the side when on court.

Highlight of the season: Being in finals contention at the start of June

Prior to a five-game losing streak and a disappointing end to the season, the Lions had produced a promising start in the South Australian Premier League. To the start of June. They held a positive win-loss record with seven victories to-date and were right up there in contention for reaching the post-season series. It was not to be as back-to-back beltings at the hands of Mt Gambier too that away, but they still had plenty of highlights to look back on.

Best win: defeated Norwood by 8 points

At the time of the match, Norwood was a couple of games clear with 10 wins from 11 matches, while Central District sat at an even 5-5 mid-table in sixth. The Flames were in red-hot form and looking the goods as a title contender, but that soon changed as the Lions caused a huge upset in Round 11. With an extra nine rebounds and two assists, the Lions proved to be the more consistent outfit on the night despite slightly more turnovers and personal fouls. The dynamic duo of Riewer (29 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals) and Jones (20 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two steals) did the bulk of the damage, while Diing sank 16 points and had nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Summary

The season was a definition of so close, yet so far for the Lions who technically finished one spot out of the finals, but still six wins behind. They knew in the last few rounds they were out of the finals race, but still had a number of contributors along the way. With renewed optimism heading into the 2021 NBL1 Central season, Central District could have the pieces to make that next step.

NBL1 South men’s team summary: Mt Gambier Pioneers

THE National Basketball League (NBL)1 competition was cancelled for the 2020 season, so instead we take a look back at some of the teams that would have been tipping off in the NBL1 Central competition. Today’s side is Mt Gambier Pioneers men’s team that earned the title of minor premiers before ultimately falling short in the grand final.

SEASON SUMMARY

Finished: 1st (lost in grand final)
Won: 17
Lost: 3

TOP PLAYERS

KentrEll Barkley

Statistics: [22] 24.8 points, 15.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.6 steals, 1.1 blocks
Shooting: 57.9% (2pt) | 36.8% (3pt) | 67.3% (FT)

Without a doubt, Barkley was one of the top performers in the South Australian Premier League, putting up a ridiculous double-double across the season. He averaged almost 25 points per game to go with his 15 rebounds, as well as 3.8 assists, 2.6 steals and 1.1 blocks. Simply, Barkley did it all and off 31.8 minutes too, which is less than a lot of players with those kind of numbers. His two-point shooting was strong, his three-point solid, though not overly used, while his free-throw shooting could still improve. As a whole he was a dominant player and hard to move close to the basket.

Tom Daly

Statistics: [21] 22.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 2.1 steals
Shooting: 52.8% (2pt) | 36.8% (3pt) | 83.2% (FT)

Playing the most minutes of anyone on the Pioneers’ team, Daly provided some great playmaking ability to set up his teammates, while taking his chances when they came around. He was not afraid to drop daggers from long-range, nor was he afraid to hand out dimes to others. In 32.1 minutes on court, Daly averaged 22.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.1 steals in a really clean season.

Dayjar Dickson

Statistics: [22] 12.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.2 blocks
Shooting: 61.9% (2pt) | 0.0% (3pt) | 50.8% (FT)

Acting as a great back-up to Barkley off the boards, Dickson almost averaged a double-double himself. While he did not attempt a three-pointer at any stage during the season, Dickson was able to get plenty of looks in close to the basket, averaging almost 62 per cent for 12.9 points inside the paint. His free-throw shooting was an area that could be improved, but with 8.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks, he made life difficult for opposition shooters.

Highlight of the season: Earn the minor premiership

It was a whirlwind of a season for the Pioneers, winning 17 of a possible 20 home and away games and sitting atop the table coming into the finals series. With a win in the final round against Forestville Eagles, and then again in the semi-finals, the stage looked set for the border side to take home a title. It was not to be, with the Eagles winning on their fourth attempt against the Pioneers, and by a comfortable 17 points at that in the decider – the Pioneers’ biggest loss of the year.

Best win: defeated Sturt by 35 points

Hitting the road for an early Round 2 game after a Round 1 loss, Mt Gambier left the Sabres’ home court with a massive 101-66 victory. The Pioneers never looked like losing with 46 of their 101 points coming off the bench and dominating rebounds (plus 17) and steals (plus nine), and had eight less turnovers. Barkley came off the bench and in 19 minutes sank 21 points, had 13 rebounds and three steals. He was ably assisted by Brad Rathjen (15 points, four rebounds and two steals) and Erik Burdon (14 points, six rebounds and three assists).

Summary

It was a heart-breaking way to finish the season and the Pioneers will have to stew on it for 18 months before being able to get back on the court. However with a new league and new aspirations, the Pioneers will of course be joining the NBL1 South competition next year. With an ever-strong line-up, expect the Pioneers to be very competitive in the new league and a team to watch as they enter the larger team competition.

NBL1 Central men’s team summary: Norwood Flames

THE National Basketball League (NBL)1 competition was cancelled for the 2020 season, so instead we take a look back at some of the teams that would have been tipping off in the NBL1 Central competition. Today’s side is Norwood Flames mens team that finished fifth on the ladder, but made it all the way to a preliminary final before falling short to eventual premiers, Forestville Eagles.

SEASON SUMMARY

Finished: 5th (lost in preliminary final)
Won: 14
Lost: 6

TOP PLAYERS

James Legan

Statistics: [23] 20.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.5 steals
Shooting: 53.2% (2pt) | 32.9% (3pt) | 80.2% (FT)

Leading the way for the Flames in terms of scoring was Legan, who put up more than 20 points a game at a high accuracy. He shot at 53.2 per cent from two-point range, and when he got to the free-throw line, drilled 80.2 per cent of his chances. He could seemingly make them from anywhere, and his long-range bombs were particularly effective, with a dominant 69 dropping from 210 attempts. He made more three-pointers than two-pointers and with his efficiency from the charity strike, he was hard to stop. Defensively, Legan averaged the most steals on his side showing he could dig deep when required too.

Brandon Brine

Statistics: [23] 18.4 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.8 blocks
Shooting: 50.6% (2pt) | 36.4% (3pt) | 71.6% (FT)

A real all-rounder across the board, Brine also played in every game for the season and came close to averaging a double-double for his troubles. He averaged an impressive 50.6 per cent from two-point range and 36.4 per cent from three-point range, and while he did not have as many attempts as Legan, was still a threat from outside the arc. The bulk of his points came from inside the paint and he averaged 9.5 rebounds, while having an assist a game. Defensively he denied the opposition with big blocks almost twice per game, while pick-pocketing them at least once per game.

Matthew Lycett

Statistics: [22] 15.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 0.8 steals
Shooting: 58.5% (2pt) | 25.5% (3pt) | 45.4% (FT)

An important contributor to the starting side, Lycett was able to cover a lot of bases across the court with a high amount of points, rebounds and assists. Overall he finished second in rebounds, third in points and had a team-high 4.1 assists as well as almost a steal per game. Playing 31.9 minutes per match in his 23 matches, Lycett went about his businesses primarily being a threat from inside the arc with a deadly 58.5 per cent accuracy. His three-point and free-throw shooting could improve, but his playmaking ability brought others into the game.

Highlight of the season: 10 from 11 to start the season

In a highly competitive top-end, Norwood was able to gain some separation on its opponents early in the season by winning 10 from 11 games to start the season. They dropped a surprising game to non-finalists Woodville, but would otherwise have a perfect record. They stumbled a bid in June, but would make up for that by July and August.

Best win: defeated North Adelaide by 3 points

It booked them a spot in the preliminary final, so a three-point win over North Adelaide in the semis was exactly what the Flames needed. There was no turning back for the loser and Norwood managed to extend their season by a week thanks to the win, with some terrific play in an even contest. They had 11 less rebounds and trailed in assists, but had three more steals and eight less personal fouls. Lycett finished with a team-high 23 point, nine rebounds, six assists and four steals, while Brine helped out wiht 20 points, nine rebounds and two steals as both players came close to double doubles. A total of five players reached double-figure points in the game for a real team effort to progress through to the preliminary final.

Summary

Norwood Flames are a side that could well compete for the 2021 NBL1 title after a promising 2019 season that showed they were not too far off the pace. They led all-comers at the start and almost knocked off the would-be premiers a week out from the grand final. Having recruited Woollacott Medallist – league best and fairest – CJ Turnage for the 2020 season, they could well have started favourites this year.

NBL1 Central women’s team summary: South Adelaide Panthers

THE National Basketball League (NBL)1 competition was cancelled for the 2020 season, so instead we take a look back at some of the teams that would have been tipping off in the NBL1 Central competition. Today’s side is South Adelaide women’s side that finished second from the bottom, but four wins clear of the wooden spoon.

SEASON SUMMARY

Finished: 10th
Won: 5
Lost: 15

TOP PLAYERS

Brianti Saunders

Statistics: [20] 18.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.7 steals
Shooting: 55.2% (2pt) | 26.2% (3pt) | 86.2% (FT)

The team’s top scorer and one of the damaging duo for the Panthers, Saunders put up team-highs in points and steals for 18.7 and 1.7 per game respectively. Along with that, she picked up the six rebounds and more than two assists per game to fill her stat sheet each and every week from 31.9 minutes. Saunders was hard to combat with an accurate 55.2 per cent shot from inside the arc, and drilling 86.2 per cent of the free-throws when getting to the line.

Mollie McKendrick

Statistics: [18] 16.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.2 steals
Shooting: 37.8% (2pt) | 0.0% (3pt) | 74.1% (FT)

Teaming up well with Saunders and causing issues for opposition defences, McKendrick led the team in rebounds (8.7), and was second overall in points (16.7) and assists (3.4). Playing the most minutes of any player on average at 34.4 per game, McKendrick was able to put up plenty of shots, even if it was at a lower accuracy of 37.8 per cent. Her free-throw work was solid at 74.1 per cent and she was always one of the most damaging players in the blue and white.

Anne Hatchard

Statistics: [5] 16.6 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.8 steals
Shooting: 44.4% (2pt) | 24.1% (3pt) | 64.7% (FT)

The dual-sport athlete was able to pad her stats from limited games much like her ability to find the oblong ball in the AFL Women’s. The talented rebounder averaged a double-double for the season and had she played more than the five games – restricted to due to commitments, Hatchard may well have helped lead the Panthers to a few more wins. While it was mentioned the above players had team-highs in certain statistics, it did not include Hatchard who due to her low game count would not be included, but she did post an impressive 10.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals to go with 16.6 points.

Highlight of the season: Three wins in six games

While the ultimate season record would prove disappointing with five wins from 15 games, the Panthers started strongly enough, winning three of the first six games to head into late April with a balanced win-loss record. Unfortunately for the Panthers, they would win just two more in the next 14 games, but they had a number of competitive losses where they came close.

Best win: defeated Norwood Flames by 11 points

The Panthers enjoyed an impressive win over the Flames despite trailing in most of the key statistics. The Flames had a whopping 11 more blocked shots, 10 more assists and two more defensive rebounds, as well as a higher contribution off the bench. But it was the Panthers who committed less turnovers (minus eight), had more steals (plus three) and more offensive rebounds (plus five) on the night. McKendrick (31 points, seven rebounds and three assists) and Saunders (26 points, nine rebounds and three assists) caused all sorts of headaches for the opposition, while Hannah Stewart had seven points and seven rebounds for her troubles in the important win.

Summary

South Adelaide Panthers would be an exciting team in 2021 if they can hold onto their list, with former premiership Eagle, Olivia Thompson joining the side along with a number of young guns coming through the program that could make their mark on the 20201 NBL1 Central season.

NBL1 Central men’s team summary: Sturt Sabres

THE National Basketball League (NBL)1 competition was cancelled for the 2020 season, so instead we take a look back at some of the teams that would have been tipping off in the NBL1 Central competition. Today’s side is Sturt Sabres who that finished ninth overall with four wins from 20 appearances.

SEASON SUMMARY

Finished: 9th
Won: 4
Lost: 16

TOP PLAYERS

Nikolas Desantis

Statistics: [20] 12.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.0 steals
Shooting: 55.1% (2pt) | 51.4% (3pt) | 73.1% (FT)

The talented shooter finished the season playing in every game and being a dead-eye from the limited opportunities he had. Instead of being a high-volume shooter like some, Desantis took his chances to make the most of his open looks and finish with a greater-than-50 per cent chance from the field. With 36 of his 70 three-point attempts dropping, and him more than capable from both inside the line and the charity stripe, Desantis was the sides’ most consistent player across every game.

CJ Rivers

Statistics: [17] 10.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.8 steals
Shooting: 58.7% (2pt) | 32.6% (3pt) | 45.7% (FT)

Leading the team in assists and rebounds, Rivers was a player who was able to seal the deal himself, or find teammates in a better position. He averaged almost 60 per cent off his own hand from inside the arc, and close to a third from outside the arc, though his free-throw shooting is an area of improvement. As a whole, he was able to pick-pocket opposition players a whopping 1.8 times per game on average, a third team-high for season 2019.

Dylan Rawson

Statistics: [10] 14.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.5 steals
Shooting: 41.1% (2pt) | 37.5% (3pt) | 58.1% (FT)

He only played in 10 games, but Rawson certainly made an impact in that time, contributing a team-high 14.6 points and a second team-high in rebounds with 5.3 per game. His two-point shooting was a little low at 41.1 per cent, but his three-point attempts were made at a strong 37.5 per cent. He was able to evenly pick up rebounds up either end, with the second highest offensive rebound count of 1.3 and provided great quality in half a season.

Highlight of the season: Season finish

Winning three of the last five games to avoid the wooden spoon was something of a positive for the Sabres who to the point of June had only won the one game – which came two and a half months into the season. Beating four different teams – South Adelaide, Eastern Mavericks, Woodville and Central District – also meant something special because it showed when they were on, the Sabres were capable of taking down some quality opposition.

Best win: defeated Central District by 11 points

While the season might not have gone to plan for the Sabres, finishing it off with back-to-back wins in front of home fans was pleasing. Sturt defeated Woodville Warriors by six points a week earlier and then backed it up with a victory over the Lions. Central District was the highest ranked scalp the Sabres had for the season, and turned around a disastrous 19-point loss to Central District back in April. In the game, Desantis shot a team-high 30 points, with 10-14 from the field and all five three-throws, while Rivers had 12 points, nine rebounds and three steals in a strong effort.

Summary

Sturt Sabres might have had a disappointing season with just four wins from 20 games, but their finish would have given them optimism if they can keep the team together. With more games into some of their talented players who could not play to full seasons such as Alex Mudronja, this side could be one to watch in the 2021 NBL1 Central season.

NBL1 Central women’s team summary: Forestville Eagles

THE National Basketball League (NBL)1 competition was cancelled for the 2020 season, so instead we take a look back at some of the teams that would have been tipping off in the NBL1 Central competition. Today’s side is the Forestville Eagles women’s side that came from second on the table to time its run perfectly and bounce back from an early finals loss to win the title.

SEASON SUMMARY

Finished: 2nd (Premiers)
Won: 14
Lost: 6

TOP PLAYERS

Chelsea Roberts

Statistics: [21] 13.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.4 steals
Shooting: 44.5% (2pt) | 30.3% (3pt) | 79.4% (FT)

In a team where the load was evenly shared – 11 players took the court for more than 10 minutes per game and seven of those greater than 20 minutes per game – it was Roberts who spent the most time on the court, averaging 32.2 minutes per match. In that time she averaged a team-high 13 points per game, as well as six rebounds, three assists and more than one steal in what was a productive year. What made her even more damaging compared to her teammates was her accuracy, where she drilled 44.5 per cent of her two-point shots, 30.3 per cent of her three-point attempts and 79.4 per cent of her free-throws.

Ella Sawyer

Statistics: [16] 10.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.5 steals
Shooting: 38.7% (2pt) | 23.1% (3pt) | 76.6% (FT)

Playing just the 16 games, Sawyer makes the list being a good all-round player. She averaged the 10.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.5 steals and a team-high 4.1 assists. In other words, she used her clean ball skills to pick pocket and produce dimes to set up teammates. Her accuracy could certainly improve with low percentages from the field, but when she got to the charity stripe she was generally reliable. One of many contributors on the side and only one of the three that averaged double-figure points.

Gabriella Vidmar

Statistics: [23] 10.3 point, 4.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.7 steals
Shooting: 45.8% (2pt) | 39.2% (3pt) | 71.4% (FT)

Playing all bar one game, Vidmar was the third player to average double-figure points and manage the third highest minutes on the team with 27.7 per game. In that time she picked up an impressive 45.8 per cent accuracy from two-point range, but was best known for her long-range bombs that dropped a team-high 39.2 per cent of the time. She also put up more than 70 per cent from the free-throw line, and finished with a handy team-high 1.7 steals per game.

Highlight of the season: Winning the title

There are very few highlights that would come close to the taste of winning a title and it is an easy pick to determine that the ultimate glory from 2019 was taking out the South Australian Premier League title. It was made all the more sweet having to bounce back from a 15-point defeat at the hands of their opponents, Sturt Sabres two weeks earlier. They only just survived against Mt Gambier Pioneers by two points the week before but ultimately found their groove to win 61-58 in the decider.

Best win: defeated Sturt Sabres by 3 points in Grand Final

It will be a game unlikely to be forgotten any time soon by the Eagles, who played out of their skin to get the three-point victory. Like they had all season, it was a team effort, with Oceana Hamilton leading the way thanks to 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Vidmar (13 points, six rebounds and two assists) and Rebekah Frisby-Smith (12 points, four rebounds) also reached double-figure points. Roberts played a team-high 37 minutes to finish with nine points, seven rebounds and four assists, while Aimee Brett had nine points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Summary

Forestville Eagles would have headed into 2020 without Roberts or Hamilton, but had largely kept their premiership-winning team together. Combined with an influx of talented youth stepping up to senior ranks, it would have been an exciting year for the Eagles, one that they hope to build on in 2021.