Tag: Nic Pozoglou

NBL1 West wrap: Round 5

THE National Basketball League (NBL)1 West competition was back to its full strength in the third round of action. Whilst technically Round 5 due to the two-week hiatus following the West Australian lockdown, the most recent weekend of play featured more games than the return Round 4.

WOMEN’S:

Perth Redbacks (82) def. East Perth Eagles (71)

Perth Redbacks bounced back from a loss last game to hold on and defeat East Perth Eagles at home by 11 points. A strong first half was credited with the Redbacks’ win, putting up 48 points to 31, and whilst the Eagles won the second half by six, it was a case of too little, too late and the home team got up, 82-71. Maddison Allen racked up a huge double-double of 10 points and 18 rebounds – 13 defensive – for the Redbacks, while Makailah Dyer (19 points, five rebounds and three assists) and Jessica Jakens (14 points, seven rebounds and three assists) were also productive in the win. Mary Teresa Goulding top-scored in the game for the Eagles with 23 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and five steals, while Opal Mader (15 points, 13 rebounds, two assists and two steals) picked up a double-double, and Tahlia Fedjo recorded 15 points and two rebounds.

Warwick Senators (72) def. by Joondalup Wolves (78)

In the first of two victories for the Joondalup Wolves over the weekend, the visitors handed the Warwick Senators their second loss of the season. The Wolves won the first three quarters to hold a 12-point advantage after three quarters, and whilst the Senators won the final term 18-12, it was not enough to overturn the result and Joondalup won 78-72. Kayla Steindl was a clear best-on with 28 points, eight rebounds and three steals for the Wolves, aided well by Amber Land (12 points, nine rebounds and six assists) and Neseya Parker-Williams (11 points, 12 rebounds). Stacey Barr lead the way for the Senators with 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists, Tayla Hepburn (10 points, 10 rebounds and two assists) picked up a double-double, while Chloe Forster (15 points, eight rebounds) was also lively.

Joondalup Wolves (69) def. Mandurah Magic (44)

Joondalup Wolves went back-to-back with a win over Mandurah Magic to make it four consecutive victories to open the NBL1 West season. The Wolves took control from the get-go and won every quarter, with the first (21-11) and fourth (17-9) quarters being particularly dominant on their way to a 25-point victory, 69-44. Land topped the scoring charts with a double-double of 14 points, 11 rebounds and four steals, while Steindl (10 points, six rebounds, three assists, three blocks and two steals) and Georgia Denehey (10 points, two rebounds and two assists) were among the key contributors in the Wolves’ win. Casey Mihovilovich (16 points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists) was the dominant Magic shooter, while Serika Shillingsworth (eight points) was the next best.

Willetton Tigers (80) def. Perry Lakes Hawks (55)

Willetton Tigers easily accounted for Perry Lakes Hawks, winning all four quarters by at least four points in each term to record an 80-55 victory. The Tigers won by eight, four, eight and five points in each of the respective quarters, in order to post a 25-point win at Willetton Basketball Stadium. Samantha Lubcke was the clear dominant shooter putting up 26 points and seven rebounds, though best-on had to go to Alex Sharp who managed a double-double of 16 points and 20 rebounds – nine offensive – as well as seven assists. Desiree Kelly (16 points, seven rebounds and three assists) and Emma Gandini (14 points, six rebounds and three steals) were the other prominent scorers for the Tigers. Morgan Ballantyne had the 11 points, three assists and two rebounds, while Natalie Burton (10 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals) and Megan McKay (seven points, seven rebounds and four steals) were other prominent Hawks.

Lakeside Lightning (98) def. South West Slammers (48)

There was no reprieve for the South West Slammers in yet another big loss, this time to Lakeside Lightning who broke through for their first win of the year following back-to-back losses. The Lightning put the foot down from the first tip-off piling on 46 points to 20 in the opening half, then 52 points to 28 in the second half to run out 50-point winners, 98-48. Lakeside’s Emma Clarke (22 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three blocks and two steals) was the clear standout, while Mikayla Pirini (17 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals), Savannah Coleman (16 points, nine rebounds and three steals) and Jae Flynn (15 points, seven assists and three rebounds) were all impressive in the huge victory. Cian Parsons (23 points, 15 rebounds and two assists) racked up a massive double-double in the loss to be a lone hand up front, as Skye Palmer was next best with eight points, three assists and two rebounds.

Eastern Suns (45) def. by Cockburn Cougars (63)

Cockburn Cougars continued their winning run with a third consecutive victory to open the season, defeating Eastern Suns by 18 points. The Cougars won each quarter, but it was the third (17-6) that was the big difference in the end, with the 13-point differential there ultimately leading to the low-scoring 63-45 triumph on the road. Jessie Edwards (25 points, 12 rebounds, two assists and two blocks) was impressive with a double-double for the Cougars, while Taylah Simmons (15 points, five assists and four rebounds) and Molly Mathews (six points, 11 rebounds, two assists and two steals) were also lively. For the Suns, Jewel Williams top-scored with 14 points, as well as five rebounds and two steals, while Courtney Mansfield (nine points, four rebounds) and Mia Jacobs (nine points, five rebounds and two assists) tried hard.

Eastern Suns (71) def. by Willetton Tigers (98)

Willetton Tigers handed Eastern Suns back-to-back losses in Round 5 thanks to a strong first and third terms on their way to a big 27-point victory. The Tigers piled on 34 points to 22 in the first term, and then 30-10 in the third, to build an unassailable lead. The Suns cut the deficit back by six in the last term, but the damage was done and the Tigers got up, 98-71. Lubcke had a day out wiht 37 points, 10 rebounds and two assists, while Sharp also picked up a double-double of 20 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Kelley (12 points, seven rebounds and three assists) and Gandini (11 points, nine rebounds and two assists were other important players once again. For the Suns, Williams had a team-high 18 points with three rebounds, while Rebecca Motroni (15 points, two assists) and Mansfield (11 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals) worked hard across the four quarters.

MEN’S:

Perth Redbacks (79) def. East Perth Eagles (65)

Perth Redbacks have accounted for East Perth Eagles in both the first and third quarters by a combined 19 points which proved the difference between the sides during the Redbacks’ 14-point victory at home. The Eagles rallied in the second term to come close at half-time, but a strong second half resulted in the Redbacks securing the 79-65 win. Louis Timms top-scored with 22 points, seven rebounds and two assists, whilst Isaac Gattorna-Hargrave (20 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks) and Tevin Jackson (17 points, nine rebounds and two assists) were other top performers on the day. Mitch Benger (15 points, six rebounds and four assists) and Logan Thwaites (15 points, five rebounds) were the key scorers for the Eagles, while Andrej Donlagic (nine points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals) was also well-balanced across the court.

Warwick Senators (100) def. Joondalup Wolves (78)

The clash of the two unbeaten sides went the way of the home team, as Warwick Senators claimed an impressive 22-point win over Joondalup Wolves. The Senators trailed by three points at half-time, but then dominated the second half by knocking down 60 points to 35 and running away with the 100-78 victory. Justin King (28 points, nine rebounds and three assists) was best-on for the Senators, while Cody Ellis (20 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five steals) and Caleb Davis (15 points, six assists and five rebounds) worked hard. For the Wolves, Lochlan Cummings managed the 17 points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists, while Jacob Formosa (15 points, six rebounds and four assists) and Trian Iliadis (12 points, three rebounds and two assists) also reached double-figure points in the match.

Geraldton Buccaneers (85) def. Rockingham Flames (82)

After losing last week, Geraldton Buccaneers bounced back with a narrow win over Rockingham Flames. The home team held a narrow three-point lead at half-time and six-point lead at three quarter time, and whilst the Flames stuck with them until the end, the home team held on to win by three points, 85-82. Mathiang Muo did not miss a minute of action with 34 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals, while Aaron Ralph (16 points, 12 rebounds, two assists and two steals) picked up a double-double. Mathew Wundenberg (11 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals) and Taine Wattie (11 points, four assists, two rebounds and two steals) were others who stepped up to the plate. The Flames had their fare share of points scorers in the win, with Travis Durnin (18 points, nine rebounds), Callum Beard (17 points, seven rebounds and three assists) and Greg Hire (14 points, 12 rebounds and three assists) all prominent.

Joondalup Wolves (110) def. Mandurah Magic (104)

They needed overtime to get it done, but the Joondalup Wolves bounced back from a loss the night before to post a six-point thrilling win over Mandurah Magic. The Wolves trailed by five points at quarter time and seven at the half, before closing down that lead to be level at the final buzzer. A strong 16-10 overtime period resulted in the Wolves getting up 110-104 in a classic contest. Cummings did not miss a minute with 45 minutes on court for 29 points, five rebounds and three assists, including five of 10 from three-point range. Iliadis (20 points, six steals, four assists and three rebounds), Robert Huntington (20 points, four rebounds and two assists) and Jonathan Wade (16 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals) were all impressive. Jerami Grace was the top points scorer for the Magic with 25, as well as five assists and four rebounds, while Fred Williams (12 points, five assists and four rebounds) and Xavier Garnett-Shaw (16 points, nine rebounds and two assists) were also solid despite the narrow defeat.

East Perth Eagles (73) def. by Goldfields Giants (86)

A fast start by Goldfields Giants has helped the visitors post a 13-point win over East Perth Eagles, the Eagles’ second loss of the weekend. The Giants poured on 26 points to 12 in the opening term and lead by 15 points at half-time. While the Eagles did hit back in the third quarter, the Giants steadied in the last to secure the 86-73 victory. Tom Atkinson (19 points, seven rebounds) top-scored for the Giants, while Julian Pesava (10 points, 10 rebounds and three assists) secured a double-double, and Cooper Creek (seven points, 13 rebounds and five blocks) put on a defensive show. Jarrad Anastasio (16 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks and two steals) was the dominant player for the Eagles, with Thwaites (17 points, eight rebounds) and Junior Tshikele (14 points, four assists and three rebounds) also among the top scorers.

Willetton Tigers (68) def. by Perry Lakes Hawks (86)

Perry Lakes Hawks stepped up to produce a four-quarter effort and knock off Willetton Tigers by 18 points on the road. The Hawks won every quarter, with a 14-point differential in the second half the main catalyst to the 86-68 triumph. Lewis Thomas (23 points, eight rebounds and four assists) was the dominant scorer, while Ben Purser (11 points, eight assists, five rebounds and two steals) and Andrew Ferguson (11 points, seven rebounds and two assists) were also impressive. Damien Scott put up 24 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals, as Michael Vigor (10 points, 11 rebounds) had a double-double, and Hunter Clarke (10 points, three rebounds) also managed double-figure points for the Tigers.

Lakeside Lightning (121) def. South West Slammers (52)

There was no mercy for cellar dwellers South West Slammers during Lakeside Lightning’s smashing 69-point win. Scoring at least 28 points in every quarter, and keeping the Slammers to 14 points or less in three of the the quarters with the end result being a 121-52 win in favour of the Lightning. Corey Shervill top-scored with 25 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals, whilst Jarrad Prue racked up a huge double-double of 14 points, 17 rebounds – seven offensive – three steals and two blocks, and both Kyle Armour (18 points, six assists, three steals and two rebounds) and Jack Isenbarger (18 points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals) were also standouts in the win. Caleb Van De Griend (21 points, seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks) was the key playmaker in the heavy defeat, while Ngor Nai had the 12 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals in the Slammers’ loss.

Eastern Suns (94) def. by Cockburn Cougars (115)

Cockburn Cougars picked up their first win of the season in the first of two games over the weekend, knocking off Eastern Suns by 21 points at Ray Owen Sports Centre. The Cougars trailed by five points at half-time but then destroyed the Suns in the second half, adding as much as 69 points to 43 – including a 38-17 final stanza – to win 115-94. Gavin Field (22 points, nine rebounds and five assists) was prolific, as Nic Pozoglou (16 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and three blocks) picked up a double-double, and the likes of Josh Hunt (19 points, six rebounds), Jaarod Holmes (16 points, six rebounds, and two assists) and Seva Chan (16 points, six assists and two rebounds) were all strong. Chris Johnson (30 points, four rebounds and four steals), Chuatwech Reath (22 points, four steals) and Ryan Blanchett (21 points, seven rebounds) were the triple threat on the scoring front for the Suns in defeat.

Cockburn Cougars (88) def. Goldfields Giants (74)

Going back-to-back in Round 5, the Cougars have built momentum with a second win, and a first one at home this season, defeating Goldfields Giants by 14 points. The Cougars trailed by two points at quarter time, but won the last three quarters – the second by 10 points – to secure the 88-74 victory. Pozoglou was the dominant scorer with a double-double of 24 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks, while Chan (11 points, seven assists three rebounds and two steals) and Kye Chamberlain (nine points, eight rebounds) were also impressive throughout the game. Pesava (26 points, eight rebounds and three assists) and Atkinson (16 points, two rebounds and two steals) were again the prime movers for the Giants in Round 5, while Fletcher Klasztorny (seven points, eight rebounds and three assists) also impressed.

Eastern Suns (77) def. by Willetton Tigers (103)

Willetton Tigers have handed Eastern Suns back-to-back losses with a dominant 26-point triumph on Sunday. The Tigers eclipsed the Suns early with a 57-34 opening half, and whilst the Suns were more competitive in the second half – only conceding three more points than their own – they still suffered a 103-77 defeat. Clarke (21 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals) and Connor Mincherton (20 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals) combined for some big numbers, whilst Vigor (14 points, 15 rebounds and four assists) picked up a double-double, and Scott (16 points, four assists and three rebounds) also impressed. Corey Easley had the 17 points, four rebounds and three assists for the Suns, while Johnson (12 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks) and Blanchett (12 points, three rebounds and two assists) were the next highest points scorers.

Picture credit: Michael Farnell / Sports Imagery

2021 NBL1 West wrap: Round 4

AFTER a fortnight off due to various State Government restrictions, the National Basketball League (NBL)1 West competition tipped off for Round 4 and some teams made their entrance into the new competition, whilst others established themselves with big wins or heavy losses.

WOMEN’S:

Mandurah Magic (50) def. by Cockburn Cougars (71)

Cockburn Cougars made it back-to-back wins to tip-off the season, taking care of Mandurah Magic by 21 points. The Cougars dominated the first half to race out to a 24-point lead, and that went out to 28 by the break, before a low-scoring 13-point final term resulted in Cockburn getting the job done 71-50. Jessie Edwards led the way for the winners with 14 points, four assists, two rebounds and two steals, as Taylah Simmons (13 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals) and Olivia Bassett-Scarfe (12 points, five rebounds) were also busy. Serika Shillingsworth was the only double-digit Magic scorer with 13 points, two rebounds and two steals, while Casey Mihovilovich finished with seven points, five assists, five steals and three rebounds.

Warwick Senators (111) def. South West Slammers (32)

Warwick Senators showed no mercy to a struggling South West Slammers, dominating every quarter on their way to a 79-point shellacking. The Senators piled on at least 25 points in every quarter, and kept the Slammers to single-digits in three of the four terms during the 111-32 victory. Stacey Barr (24 points, 10 rebounds and three assists) and Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard (24 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and six steals) top-scored with double-doubles, as Tayla Hepburn (17 points, 12 rebounds, five blocks, two assists and two steals) also racked up a double-double. Zaya Lilly Black (nine points, four rebounds and two steals) was the prominent scorer for the Slammers, while Imogen Van Iaere finished with five points and seven rebounds in the match.

Lakeside Lightning (75) def. by East Perth Eagles (80)

East Perth Eagles won a tight one on the road over Lakeside Lightning, getting up by just the five points. The Eagles led by 14 points at half-time before the home team hit back to cut the deficit over the second half. Unfortunately for Lakeside, the Lightning just fell short, going down 75-80. Mary Teresa Goulding had 26 points, seven rebounds, four steals and two assists, while Opal Mader (17 points, six rebounds) and Tahlia Fejo (14 points, seven rebounds and six steals) were also prominent. For the Lightning, Ashleigh Isenbarger was a clear standout with 21 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and four steals, while Emma Clarke (16 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals), and Mikayla Pirini (11 points, four assists and two rebounds) were also busy.

Rockingham Flames (85) def. Willetton Tigers (72)

Rockingham Flames’ dominant third quarter of 27-11 has helped kick the home team into gear for a big 13-point win over Willeton Tigers. The Flames trailed by a point at half-time, but took control in the third term, and while the Tigers managed to win the last quarter, the damage was done and Rockingham took home the win, 85-72. Jorjah Smith (20 points, five rebounds) and Tayah Burrows (19 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals) both had some prominent scores, while Christina Boag (12 points, eight rebounds and three assists) also impressed. For the Tigers, Alex Sharp shot 24 points and picked up 14 rebounds and four assists, as Samantha Lubcke (16 points, eight rebounds and two assists) and Hayley Winter (15 points, four rebounds and three assists) also shared the load.

Perth Redbacks (70) def. by Perry Lakes Hawks (74)

Making their long-awaited return into the season after byes and lockdowns, Perry Lakes Hawks got off to the perfect start with a four-point victory over Perth Redbacks. The Hawks did most of their work in the first half, racing out to a seven-point lead at half-time, with the teams fairly evenly matched in the second half, and the Redbacks cutting the final deficit back by three for a 74-70 result. Madeleine Dennis scored 22 points, 12 rebounds and three assists in a starring role, teaming up well with Megan McKay (21 points, nine rebounds, three steals and two assists), while Natalie Burton had the eight points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. Makailah Dyer finished with 23 points, six assists and three steals for the losers, while Jessica Jakens had 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Raya Thompson the 12 points, three steals and two rebounds.

Joondalup Wolves (78) def. Eastern Suns (65)

Joondalup Wolves made it two wins on the trot in the NBL1 West, handing the Eastern Suns a defeat in the Suns’ first game for the season. The Wolves started strongly to lead by four points at quarter time, only for the visitors to turn it on in the second and race out to a commanding seven-point advantage. The Suns came out after half-time with renewed vigour to dominate the second half 48-28 and run out 13-point winners, 78-65. Kayla Steindl had a team-high 24 points and 14 rebounds, as well as two assists and two steals, whilst Neseya Parker-Williams (12 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals) and Amber Land (11 points, nine rebounds and two assists) were also among the best for the Wolves. Jewell Williams was a shooting machine for the Suns, dropping seven of 11 triples on the opposition, for 32 points, four rebounds and two assists while Courtney Mansfield was impactful across the court with 13 points, nine rebounds, six assists and two steals in the loss.

South West Slammers (39) def. by Rockingham Flames (80)

Rockingham Flames made it a good weekend of NBL1 action and compacted more pain onto the struggling South West Slammers with a dominant 41-point victory. The Flames kept the Slammers to single-digit points in the last three quarters, and whilst they only scored 10 themselves in the final term, had secured the win and enable heavy rotations in the process during the 80-39 win. Burrows dropped 28 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steaks in the win, with Boag (15 points, nine rebounds, three steals and two assists) and Alexandra Ciabattoni (14 points four rebounds, five assists and two steals) also outstanding. Black had another impressive outing in tough circumstances for the Slammers, putting up 11 points and six rebounds, while Karinda Farrant had 10 points, three rebounds and three steals.

MEN’S:

Joondalup Wolves (84) def. Eastern Suns (61)

Coming from three points down at half-time, the Joondalup Wolves finished on a wave of momentum to easily account for Eastern Suns in the Suns’ first match of the season. The Wolves won by 23 points, courtesy of a 50-24 second half which saw them take complete control and win 84-61. Lochlan Cummings scored 20 points – including four of nine from long-range – three assists and two rebounds in the win, while Jonathan Wade (18 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and two steals) and Sioeli Vaiangina (13 points, 10 rebounds) both picked up double-doubles. Chauatwech Reath had a team-high 14 points, while Chris Johnson (11 points, 12 rebounds, two assists and two steals) and Bang Majok (11 points, three rebounds) also hit double-figure points.

Perth Redbacks (51) def. by Perry Lakes Hawks (96)

Perry Lakes Hawks doubled their win tally with a comprehensive 45-point smashing of Perth Redbacks, handing the Redbacks their second consecutive loss to open the season. The Hawks won every quarter, including three of them by at least 12 points or move, to run out 96-51 victors in the end. Mitchell Clarke knocked down 22 points with three rebounds, while Ben Purser (14 points, 10 rebounds and three assists) and Robert Cassir (nine points, nine rebounds, two assists and two steals) were also lively. Lewis Thomas had 15 points, four rebounds and three assists, and Andrew Ferguson made it a really consistent five with nine points, seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks. For the Redbacks, Louis Timms (15 points, six rebounds and two steals) and Joel Wagner (12 points, four rebounds and two assists) were both hard workers in defeat, while Lachlan Bertram (seven points, eight rebounds) got involved off the boards.

Mandurah Magic (88) def. Cockburn Cougars (81)

Mandurah Magic bounced back from a loss in their previous game to move to a 2-1 record and hand Cockburn Cougars their second consecutive loss in a tight seven-point encounter. Mandurah trailed by five points at quarter time and four points at half-time, but then piled on 28-19 in the third term to set up a memorable 88-81 win. Jerami Grace had a night out for the Magic with 33 points – six of nine from three-point range – six rebounds and four steals, while Xavier Garnett-Shaw had 15 point, six rebounds and two assist, and both Ben Smith (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Brian Carlwell (15 points, five rebounds) were prominent in the win. Jaarod Holmes (23 points, five rebounds and three steals) was the best for the Cougars, while Gavin Field (15 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals) and Nic Pozoglou (15 points, six rebounds, four steals and two assists) were also impressive in defeat.

Goldfields Giants (103) def. Geraldton Buccaneers (69)

In a battle of two Round 1 losers, Goldfield Giants got on the board with a comfortable 34-point win over Geraldton Buccaneers at home. The Giants won every quarter, and did their best work in the opening half, smashing their opponents in the second term in particular with a 35-13 quarter, eventually leading to an easy 103-69 victory. Deng Kuany (28 points, six rebounds and two steals) and Julian Pesava (25 points, seven rebounds and four assists) did the bulk of the damage for the Giants, while Jerome Reid chipped in with 19 points – five of eight from long-range – and three rebounds. Taine Wattie stood up for the Buccaneers with 19 points – five of eight from three-point range – and two assists, while Mathiang Muo (12 points, 13 rebounds and three assists) collected a double-double and Tomas Dobson (13 points, three rebounds and two assists) also hit double-figure points.

Warwick Senators (96) def. South West Slammers (60)

Warwick Senators turned up the heat on the South West Slammers, running away with a 36-point win. The home team won every quarter in the match, and two of the terms by 11 points, on their way to a 96-60 triumph. Caleb Davis helped himself to 20 points, four rebounds and three assists in the win, whilst Justin King (18 points, four rebounds and two assists) and Cody Ellis (15 points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks) were also impressive for the Senators. Ngor Nai (15 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks) and Cody Hill (14 points, five rebounds and four assists) both did the majority of the scoring for the Slammers, in what was another big loss.

Lakeside Lightning (121) def. East Perth Eagles (60)

Speaking of big wins, Lakeside Lightning showed no mercy against East Perth Eagles to get on the board in season 2021, smashing the Eagles by 61 points. In front of home fans on Saturday night, the Lightning piled on 99 points in the first three quarters as the Eagles only managed the 44 in that time. The final term was a little closer, but the 121-60 result was a huge percentage booster for the Lightning. Corey Shervill (29 points, six rebounds and two assists) and Jack Isenbarger (29 points, three assists and two rebounds) combined for 15 of 20 from three-point range in a long-range shooting spectacular. Kyle Armour (19 points, eight assists) was a key playmaker for the Lightning, while Jarrad Prue only had the two points, but racked up 17 rebounds – eight offensive – along with three assists and two blocks on the night. Matt Vinci (nine points, three rebounds) and Isaac Offereins (nine points, four rebounds) were the equal top scorers for the losers.

Rockingham Flames (65) def. Willetton Tigers (83)

Willetton Tigers survived a mini fightback by Rockingham Flames to secure an 18-point win on the road in a battle of two undefeated 2-0 sides. The Tigers raced out to a 50-27 lead at half-time, though the Flames cut the deficit to six by the next change, only for Willetton to stand up under pressure and win the final term 14-12 and secure the 83-65 victory. Damien Scott (25 points, five steals, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks) did a bit of everything on court, while Michael Vigor picked up a double-double through 24 points and 12 rebounds. Andrew Black (11 points, six rebounds and three assists) was also prominent for the Tigers. Brendan Redhead (17 points, three rebounds) was the chief scorer for the Tigers, as Cirkook Makuac Riak (12 points, nine rebounds and two assists) and Travis Dumin (11 points, nine rebounds) also had a say off the boards in the game.

South West Slammers (52) def. by Rockingham Flames (91)

Coming off a defeat the night before, Rockingham Flames set the Eaton Rec Centre alight with a dominant 91-52 victory on the road against South West Slammers. The home team was no match for the red-hot Flames, as Rockingham won every quarter, including a 46-21 second half to run away with the 39-point win and sentence the Slammers to their fifth straight loss. Makuac Riak had 20 points, 11 rebounds and two assists, while Dumin (17 points, eight rebounds) and Callum Beard (11 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals) were also prominent. Hill (18 points, two rebounds) and Rhys Barrett (10 points, two rebounds and two assists) hit double-figure points, as Mitchell Keller proved a menace off the boards with 13 rebounds to go with six points and two assists for the Slammers.

Picture credit: Eric Paul Goldie

2021 NBL1 West preview: Round 3

ROUND 3 of the National Basketball League (NBL)1 West tips off tomorrow after a minor blip following the state’s lockdown last weekend which resulted in the Round 2 matches – and the Friday night Round 3 matches – all cancelled. Instead there will be the five games across the women’s competition and seven games in the men’s league.

WOMEN’S:

There will be a lot of unknowns coming into the NBL1 West Round 3 competition, with both the Eastern Suns and Perry Lakes Hawks coming into the round for the first time this season. There is no side with two wins just yet due to only round one in full taking off, whilst the South West Slammers have had to wait two weeks to avenge their first two defeats. The other sides to play two matches from that opening weekend of action – Warwick Senators, Mandurah Magic and East Perth Eagles – will all head in for their third games, as the Perth Redbacks and Willeton Tigers are the only undefeated sides that have taken to the court who are playing this weekend.

Rockingham Flames top shooter Alexandra Ciabattoni racked up 35 points back in Round 1 despite it being in a losing team, while Perth Redbacks’ Makailah Dyer put up 30 points in her first game and ranked second overall. She is just ahead of Willeton Tigers’ Alex Sharp and Warwick Senators’ Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard – both 25 points per game – in that statistic. Looking at rebounds, the Redbacks are flushed for choice with not only Dyer (13 rebounds per game), but Maddison Allen (17) both in the top four. Mandurah Magic’s Carly Boag (14.5 rebounds per game) and Willeton Tigers’ Desiree Kelley (13.0) are also in the top four.

Allen produced a whopping four blocks to deny her opposition close to the basket in Round 1, with Boag putting up two blocks. The other top blockers from Round 1 in Cockburn Cougars’ Jessie Edwards and Joondalup Wolves’ Georgia Denehey are having another rest this weekend. In terms of assists, Warwick Senators’ Nicole Jorre de St Jorre had the eight, ahead of Kelley (seven), Cockburn Cougars’ Haylee De Sousa (six) and Mandurah Magic’s’ Casey Mihovilovich (six).

FIXTURES:

Warwick Senators (1-1) vs. Eastern Suns (0-0)
Perth Redbacks (1-0) vs. Mandurah Magic (1-1)
South West Slammers (0-2) vs. Willeton Tigers (1-0)
Perry Lakes Hawks (0-0) vs. Lakeside Lightning (0-1)
Rockingham Flames (0-1) vs. East Perth Eagles (1-1)

MEN’S:

An extra two matches take place in the larger men’s competition, with Geraldton Buccaneers the other new side along with Eastern Suns this round. Warwick Senators have created the early pace with back-to-back wins in Round 2, whilst the South West Slammers are on the other end of the spectrum. East Perth Eagles and Mandurah Magic men’s teams hold the same record as their women’s sides, heading into Round 3 with a 1-1 record. Plenty of teams have only played the one game without much to go off, as the Joondalup Wolves, Perry Lakes Hawks, Willeton Tigers and Rockingham Flames winning their only encounter thus far, while the Cockburn Cougars and Goldfield Giants face off for their first victory. Lakeside Lightning and Perth Redbacks are the other two 0-1 sides.

Cockburn Cougars’ Gavin Field leads the way in terms of points, knocking down 30 in the Cougars’ loss back in Round 1, the same amount as Joondalup Wolves’ Lochlan Cummings had in his side’s win. Warwick Senators’ Caleb Davis is averaging an impressive 26.5 points, just ahead of Goldfields Giants’ Deng Kuany (24). Cummings also features highly in the assists, racking up six to go with his 30 points in Round 1. Willeton Tigers’ Connor Mincherton had the league-leading nine assists, with Perry Lakes Hawks’ Ben Purser (seven) and Mandurah Magic’s Riley Parker both notching up the six assists each.

The Wolves’ Jordan Wellsteed is sharing the top of the rebound count with Lakeside Lightning’s Jarrad Prue, as both players have recorded the 13 in the opening round. They are one clear of Cockburn Cougars’ Nic Pozoglou and Rockingham Flames’ Cirkook Makuac Riak who picked up the 12 in Round 1. Looking at the blocks, East Perth Eagles’ Jarrad Anastasio was busy in the opening two matches, picking up 3.5 per game, while Rockingham Flames’ Callum Beard (three), Cockburn Cougars’ Matt Clifford (two) and Joondalup Wolves’ Sioeli Vaiangina (two) were also productive.

FIXTURES:

Warwick Senators (2-0) vs. Eastern Suns (0-0)
Geraldton Buccaneers (0-0) vs. Joondalup Wolves (1-0)
Perth Redbacks (0-1) vs. Mandurah Magic (1-1)
South West Slammers (0-2) vs. Willeton Tigers (1-0)
Goldfields Giants (0-1) vs. Cockburn Cougars (0-1)
Perry Lakes Hawks (1-0) vs. Lakeside Lightning (0-1)
Rockingham Flames (1-0) vs. East Perth Eagles (1-1)

 

Picture credit: NBL1

2021 NBL1 West: Round 1 wrap

SOUTH West Slammers could be in for a long season if Round 1 of the National Basketball League (NBL)1 West results are anything to go by, suffering two 50-plus-point losses in the women’s competition over the weekend, whilst also going down in the men’s league. We recap all the action across both divisions below.

WOMEN’S:

Joondalup Wolves (76) def. East Perth Eagles (55)

Joondalup Wolves never looked like losing against East Perth Eagles, winning all four quarters and taking complete control in the first half. The Wolves raced out to a 18-point half-time lead, and whilst the Eagles tightened up in the second half, they could not claw their way back, doing down by 21 points, 55-76. Neseya Parker-Williams knocked down 17 points, six rebounds and two steals in the Wolves’ win, teaming up well with Chelsea Belcher (16 points, three rebounds and three steals). Amy Kidner (10 points, six rebounds), Amber Land (10 points, nine rebounds, three assists and four steals) and Georgia Denehey (nine points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks) were others who stood out for the home team. The Eagles relied on Mary Teresa Goulding who put up 19 points, eight rebounds and three steals in the loss, with Cameron Flynn (seven points, three rebounds) the next highest scorer.

Mandurah Magic (100) def. South West Slammers (49)

Mandurah Magic showed no mercy on their way to a triple-figure score against the Slammers, piling on 100-49 in a massive Round 1 win. The Magic scored as least 20 points in every quarter, and did keep the Slammers to 32 points by the final break, before the visitors kept at it to score their highest quarter score of 17 in the final term. Emma Klasztorny racked up a double-double of 29 points – 75 per cent from the field – and 10 rebounds, as well as four assists and a steal. Bronte Corke (22 points, six assists, three rebounds and two steals) was great, but Carly Boag‘s 14 points and 20 rebounds took the cake above all else, also amassing seven assists, three steals and two blocks in a complete performance for the Magic. Casey Mihovilovich (11 points, six rebounds and six assists) and Rachel Pettit (12 points, six rebounds and three assists) were other individual efforts of note. For the Slammers, Adele East (17 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals) was the key contributor with Zaya Lilly Black adding 13 points.

Cockburn Cougars (85) def. Rockingham Flames (78)

Cockburn Cougars have steadied in the final term to hold off a determined Rockingham Flames by seven points in front of home fans. The Cougars led by six points at quarter time and eight at the main break, with the Flames clawing back to within four at the last change, with the home team then able to stand up under pressure, win the last term 14-11, and win 85-78. Jessie Edwards was impressive with 19 points, nine rebounds and three assists to lead the way for the winners, as Haylee De Sousa (18 points, six assists, two rebounds and two steals) and Molly Matthews (16 points, six rebounds) also had some big individual efforts. For the Flames, it was a two-person shooting spree as Alexandra Ciabattoni (32 points, three rebounds and two steals) and Tayah Burrows (22 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals) shared some big numbers, and Christina Boag (12 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals) also contributed strongly despite the loss.

Warwick Senators (78) def. by Perth Redbacks (95)

Perth Redbacks got the job done against the Senators in the last Friday night fixture, winning by 17 points with a commanding four-quarter performance. Whilst the Senators never looked out of it, the Redbacks did win every term, and the third quarter of 25-18 was the key difference between the sides in the 95-78 victory. Makailah Dyer led the way for the Redbacks with an enormous double-double of 30 points – including four of eight from long range – 13 rebounds, five assists and two steals. Maddison Allen was also huge off the boards with 11 points, 17 rebounds, six assists and four blocks, while Denielle Ashworth (19 points), Briana Bailey (14 points, five rebounds and four assists) and Shenae Hartree (11 points, nine rebounds) also stood up in the win. Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard top-scored for the Senators with 21 points, while Stacey Barr (19 points, eight rebounds and three assists), Chloe Forster (18 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals) and Tayla Hepburn (14 points, eight rebounds) were other standouts in the loss.

South West Slammers (52) def. by Warwick Senators (102)

The Senators bounced back from the Friday night loss to post a huge 50-point win over the Slammers. The Senators scored at least 22 points in every term, including 57 in the first half, and outscoring the home side 52-18 in the middle two quarters. The result never looked in doubt as the Senators balanced the ledger in Round 1 with the big 102-52 victory. Hoycard was again influential with 29 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals, nailing all four of her three-point attempts. Barr (24 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals), Hepburn (19 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals) and Forster (12 points, five rebounds and five assists) were instrumental, as the team dominated the assist count 31-8 and Nicole Jorre de St Jorre picking up the 10 assists to out-assist the opposition team. Karinda Farrant was the top points scorer for the Slammers with 14 points, six rebounds and two steals in less than 18 minutes, while East (11 points) and Black (nine points, three assists) were again amongst the better scorers.

 

MEN’S:

Joondalup Wolves (98) def. East Perth Eagles (57)

Opening the season with a big win, Joondalup Wolves proved far too strong for East Perth Eagles, winning all four terms on their way to a 41-point victory. The Wolves scored at least 21 points in every term, then restricted the Eagles to just 23 points in the second half, piling on 42 themselves as they raced to a 98-57 win. Lochlan Cummings was outstanding with 30 points, six assists and four rebounds, one of five players to hit double-figure points for the Wolves. Seb Salinas (11 points, seven rebounds), Sioeli Vaiangina (14 points, five rebounds), Jacob Formosa (14 points, four rebounds and five steals) and Robert Huntington (10 points, five rebounds) all shared the load on the scoring and rebounding front. Kieran Berry was the sole double-figure scorer for the Eagles with 11 points, while Andrej Donlagic (six points, eight rebounds and four assists) was a notable standout in the loss.

Mandurah Magic (89) def. South West Slammers (67)

Mandurah Magic won their first game of the weekend with a handy 22-point win on Friday night against South West Slammers. The Magic led by eight points at he first break, and while the Slammers cut the deficit to within five at half-time, the Magic wen on with it, scoring 45-28 in the second half to run away with the 89-67 victory. Fred Williams (19 points, three rebounds and two assists) and Ben Smith (18 points, three rebounds) both stood out from a scoring perspective, while Xavier Garnett-Shaw (13 points, six rebounds and two assists) and Riley Parker (nine points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals) also impressed. For the Slammers, Mitchell Keller (19 points, 14 rebounds and three steals) had a huge double-double, while Cory Richardson finished with the 12 points.

Cockburn Cougars (72) def. by Rockingham Flames (86)

Rockingham Flames came back from a five-point quarter time deficit to comfortably win the next three terms against Cockburn Cougars and head home with the win. The Flames trailed 16-21 at quarter time, but outscored their opponents by seven, five and seven points in the remaining three quarters to post a 14-point victory on the road, 86-72. Four players had some huge numbers from a scoring perspective, with Flames duo Callum Beard (17 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three blocks) and Cirkook Makuac Riak (15 points, 12 rebounds) both collecting double-doubles. Travis Durnin (18 points, eight rebounds) was not too far off them, while Ryan Godfrey top scored with 23 points despite only shooting at 33.3 per cent from the field. Gavin Field was a lone-hand for the Cougars, knocking down 30 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals, while Nic Pozoglou had the 10 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and three steals in the loss.

Warwick Senators (86) def. Perth Redbacks (52)

Warwick Senators won their first of two games over the weekend, up against Perth Redbacks thanks to a dominant first three quarters in their clash. The Senators outscored the Redbacks by six, seven and 11 points in the first three terms to run away with a 24-point lead at the final break. To the Redbacks credit they never gave in, reducing the final margin to t22 points, but the Senators were too strong and took out the win, 86-52. Caleb Davis had the most points with 18, as well as seven rebounds and four assists for the Senators, while Justin King (15 points, 14 rebounds) also stood up in the match with a double-double. Cody Ellis (15 points, four rebounds and two assists) and Corban Wroe (12 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals) were other standouts for the winners. The Redbacks had a couple of handy shooters on the night, with Louis Timms (14 points, five rebounds) and Tevin Jackson (11 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals) among the best.

South West Slammers (60) def. by Warwick Senators (96)

The Senators went back-to-back over the two days to hand the Slammers their second loss of the round, with a 36-point victory on the road. Taking control from the first tip-off, the Senators led by nine points at quarter time and doubled that by the half, and while the Slammers managed to reduce the damage a little in the third, were blown away in the final quarter 26-13 for a final scored of 96-60 in favour of the visitors. Davis had another night out with 35 points, 11 rebounds and four steals, shooting seven of a 11 from long-range. King (18 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals) also impressed, while Jarrod Hodge (11 points, three rebounds) hit double-figure points. Ellis (six points, 12 rebounds three assists and three steals) and Ashley Litterick (seven points, five rebounds and four assists contributed in the victory. Rhys Barrett was the standout shooter for the Slammers with 19 points, three rebounds, four steals and two assists, while Keller (seven points, 10 rebounds) was again one of his side’s best in defeat.

East Perth Eagles (95) def. Mandurah Magic (89)

In a tight encounter, East Perth Eagles put in a much stronger performance than their first game to post a tight win over Mandurah Magic. The Eagles started strongly to lead by eight points at half-time, then opened the game up with a 31-18 third quarter to snuff out any chance of a Mandurah comeback. The Magic did their best to storm home with a 33-18 final quarter, but fell six points short in an 89-95 loss. Berry had an impressive outing with 27 points, six rebounds and four assists, teaming up well with Logan Thwaites (22 points, 14 rebounds and two steals. Matt Vinci (14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals) and Donlagic (11 points, seven rebounds and five steals) were both solid in the win. Williams again top scored with 17 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals, with the other usual suspects in Smith (16 points, seven rebounds and two blocks), Parker (14 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals) and Garnett-Shaw (10 points four rebounds and two assists) all having a say on proceedings.

Goldfields Giants (89) def. by Perry Lakes Hawks (100)

In the first of two Saturday night battles between sides playing their first match of the weekend, Perry Lake Hawks came from six points down at quarter time to post an 11-point win over Goldfield Giants. The Giants led 26-20 at the first break, but the Hawks bounced back to turn the tables and head into half-time with a seven-point advantage themselves. They extended it out to 12 by the final break, and whilst the Giants cut back a point, it would not be enough with the Hawks getting up, 100-89. Andrew Ferguson (22 points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks) and Cooper Hamilton (22 points, two rebounds) led the way for the Hawks, while Ben Purser (18 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and two steals was one of the most prolific across the board on the night. For the Giants, Deng Kuany picked up a double-double in a standalone effort thanks to 24 points and 10 rebounds, with Damon Ballantyne (10 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals) also recording a double-double in the loss.

Willeton Tigers (96) def. Lakeside Lightning (87)

In the final game of the round, Willeton Tigers powered on in the third term to set themselves up for a nine-point win over Lakeside Lightning. The teams were level at quarter time and the Tigers up by one at the main break, the home team put the foot down with a 29-17 third term to race out to a 13-point advantage ahead of the last quarter. The Lightning picked up to cut it back to nine by the final buzzer, but it would not be enough as the Tigers got up, 96-87. Michael Vigor (22 points, 12 rebounds and two assists) was the standout), as Roosevelt Williams knocked down eight of nine from the field on his way to 21 points, six rebounds and two assists in 26 minutes on court. Damien Scott (21 points, six assists) was also impressive, and Connor Mincherton came close to a double-double with 10 points and nine assists. Corey Shervill (23 points, five steals and three rebounds) and Julius Bowie (22 points, four rebounds) were the two key scorers for the Lightning, while Jack Isenbarger (16 points three assists) and Jarrad Prue (13 rebounds) were also steadfast in the loss.

NBL1 South Men’s team summary: Melbourne Tigers

IN light of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the National Basketball League (NBL)1 South Conference has been cancelled this year. As such, while Draft Central intended to do a preview on all teams leading up to the delayed start, it will instead be a team summary from last season and what they might look to improve on for 2021. Today’s edition looks at Melbourne Tigers’ mens side that had a dominant home record, but suffered defeat in the elimination final.

2019 in Review:

Finished: 5th (lost in elimination finals)
Wins: 11
Losses: 9
Home: 10-1
Away: 2-7

What went right:

  • Home court dominance best in the league
  • Won 10 of the last 14 games to make finals
  • Combination of Dane Pineau and Nic Pozoglou
  • Steals (9.9 per game, ranked first overall in the competition)
  • Rebounding (14.3 offensive per game, ranked second overall, total 40.9 ranked fourth overall)
  • Disciplined (17.6 personal fouls, ranked fourth least overall)

There was plenty that went right for the Tigers in 2019, reaching the NBL1 finals on the back of a barn-storming finish to the year. Outside of three consecutive losses in June-July, they won 10 of the last 14 games – 10 out of 11 outside of that mini losing run – to put themselves in top four contention. Whilst that fell short, the dominance of big men, Dane Pineau and Nic Pozoglou shone out, combining for 38 points and 25 rebounds in a dominant one-two combination. Along with their on-court results, the Tigers also led the league in steals, with 9.9 per game and the duo, along with Mike Wells led the way in that regard. It was no surprise to see them also high up in the rankings for rebounding (second offensive, fourth overall), and incredibly disciplined as well, ranked in the top four in terms of least personal fouls committed. Most of all, their home court at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC) became a fortress, losing just the one game there during the regular season to be the most dominant side at home in the competition.

What went wrong:

  • Elimination final disappointment
  • Free-throw accuracy (60.5 per cent, ranked 18th overall)
  • Started slow, winning just two of the first six, then Tasmania trip in June

For all the home court dominance, it was quite a shock for fans of the league when the fifth placed Tigers went down to the eighth placed Bendigo Braves who had only just snuck into the post-season series. In that match, the Tigers led at the first two breaks by six and seven points respectively, before a disappointing second half saw Bendigo – led by Ray Turner – produce some unbelievable basketball to run over the top of the Tigers with a 49-32 half and win by 10 points, 86-76. Turner finished with a double-double of 27 points and 15 rebounds, while Pozoglou – missing his partner-in-crime Pineau – put up numbers of 21 points and seven rebounds for the losing side. Aside from ultimately the last match of the season costing them greater success, the Tigers needed to improve their free-throw accuracy, shooting at just 60.5 per cent from the line, as well as the regret of starting slow, winning just two of the first six and playing catch-up, while a trip to Tasmania yielded back-to-back losses against non-finalists.

Top Players:

Dane Pineau

The NBL1 season would set up Pineau for a strong NBL season with the Sydney Kings, as he would make the NBL1 All-Stars Starting Five off just 13 games. They were a pretty influential 13 games however, with the 206cm forward putting up numbers of 18.6 points, 14.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.2 blocks, seemingly doing it all. He was accurate from the field with 57.8 per cent accuracy, but like his teammates, struggled from the line with a worse free-throw accuracy than his field shooting, recording just 54.2 per cent. Despite this, it really propelled him for a big NBL season.

Nic Pozoglou

Pozoglou was a little unlucky not to win post-season awards for his year, which was just as good as Pineau’s considering the future Perth Wildcats talent played every game in the NBL1 season. He averaged 19.2 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game, leading the team in points across the journey. He sank a third of his three-point attempts with a solid long-range game in the competition, and could have been even more effective had it been for his field goal shooting (44.2 per cent) and free-throw shooting (53.8 per cent). Overall though, Pozoglou is coming into the prime of his career and is exciting to watch.

Michael Luxford

Handy across the board, Luxford was one of four other players outside the top two to average more than 10 points, and the only one to average five rebounds and five assists per game in the side in 2019. He finished the year with 11.6 points and 2.0 steals – leading the team in the latter stat – and while his accuracy was down from the field (39.7 per cent), he still managed a third of his shots from three-point range.

Young Gun:

William Hickey

Coming into the season as a 20-year-old, Hickey was able to really establish himself in the Tigers’ lineup. He played in every game, starting in two of them, and averaged 10 points, five rebounds, two assists and one steal per game in season 2019. Most importantly, he stepped up in the absence of Pineau, putting up 19 points and seven rebounds in the finals loss to Bendigo, and it is no doubt he can only get better from here.

Christmas list for 2021:

A strong center. Whilst the Tigers had an impressive starting five, they realistically made do with taller forwards to play the role of a center, with the two listed centers playing just 11 combined games last year. If they can get another big to play that role, it releases their dominant bigs to focus even more on their offensive game.

Summary:

The Melbourne Tigers might view 2019 as the season that could have been, because they were dominant at home throughout the year and would have been confident heading into that elimination final. It was not to be, and Bendigo had a ripping finals series, but the Tigers should be strong coming into next year, with plenty of promise to be a title contender.

2019/20 NBL season team preview: Perth Wildcats

LAST year’s National Basketball League (NBL) premiers, Perth Wildcats will look to go back-to-back in the competition after remarkably retaining the majority of its successful list, while picking up a number of top young talents to compliment the side. While the Wildcats were tested at times last season, they ultimately got the job done when it counted, crucially earning the minor premiership, before holding off reigning premiers Melbourne United in the final playoff series. Many fans also believed Bryce Cotton deserved the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) for his remarkable season, with plenty of Wildcats up and about when National Basketball Association (NBA) and Sydney Kings center Andrew Bogut received the award.

Position: 1st (Premiers)
Percentage: 106.11%
Win-loss: 18-10

2018/2019 Overview:

Last season it was hard to look past the remarkable form of Cotton, who finished the year with the most average points in the league, posting up 22.52 per game, while ranking seventeenth overall for assists and equal eighth in the competition for steals. Despite missing out on MVP honours, Cotton’s season was the cream on top of a very sweet cake for Wildcats fans who celebrated their ninth title – more than double their nearest rivals. They are well placed to reach double figures too, with only veteran Greg Hire retiring, Angus Brandt released to head to Italy, and Sunday Dench heading to Illawarra from the main list. Terrico White‘s re-signing was a relief for the Wildcats as he looms as another big player in the team, while Nick Kay and Mitch Norton are on long-term deals. After good form in the NBL1 competition, Majok Majok crossed the ditch and headed west from the New Zealand Breakers to provide a different element to the side, while Illawarra young gun Nic Pozoglou earned a place on the development list after a strong season with Melbourne in the NBL1. With supercoach Trevor Gleeson at the helm, the Wildcats were always bound for success and now they are craving more.

Projected shining light:

While the Wildcats head into 2019/20 with an experienced list, Rhys Vague is a player who due to strong form last season as a development player, has earned a full list spot for the upcoming season. Still 22 years of age to start the season, Vague averaged just 7.6 minutes on court, but got the valuable time during the playoffs to stand up in big moments. He, along with Pozoglou could see more minutes on the court and provide relief for the starting five throughout the season. With the Wildcats’ focus on developing West Australian talent, no doubt there will be plenty of hidden gems the reigning premiers might look to for future seasons.

NBL1 Men’s finals wash-up: Week 1 – Braves upset Tigers as favourites win elsewhere

BENDIGO Braves are through to the semi-finals after the eighth placed side upset fifth placed Melbourne Tigers in an elimination final at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic (MSAC) in the National Basketball League (NBL)1 first week of finals. The Braves will face Kilsyth Cobras who went down to minor premiers Ballarat Miners, whilst in the other semi-final, Nunawading Spectres will host Geelong Supercats.

GEELONG SUPERCATS 32 | 18 | 18 | 17 (85)
DANDENONG RANGERS 13 | 32 | 15 | 19 (79)

Geelong Supercats have kept their NBL1 title dreams alive with a see-sawing six-point win over Dandenong Rangers at home. The Supercats powered to a massive 19-point lead at quarter time, piling on 32 points in a big opening term. Whatever was said at the break must have helped the Rangers as they returned serve with 32 points of their own in the second quarter to cut the deficit to just five at the main break. The Supercats steadied in a lower scoring third term to lead by eight at the final break before holding on despite the away side’s best efforts, to win 85-79. Lewis Thomas posted up 26 points, three rebounds, two assists, four steals and two blocks, while Demarcus Gatlin had 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals in the win. Nick Owusu (16 points, five rebounds) and Anthony Williams (13 points) were also productive on the scoring end. For the losers, Dexter Kernich-Drew posted a team-high 20 points, as well as two rebounds and four steals, but it was Sam Froling who almost hauled his team across the line with 18 points and 16 rebounds – 13 defensive – as well as four blocks. Lucas Barker was creative across the court with 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists, while Tim Lang narrowly missed out on a double-double with 11 points, nine rebounds and four assists.

BALLARAT MINERS 22 | 23 | 20 |15 (80)
KILSYTH COBRAS 21 | 12 | 21 | 12 (66)

Ballarat Miners’ dominant second term of 23 points to 12 set up a 14-point win over a brave Kilsyth Cobras. The Miners move through to the Preliminary Finals after the victory, which saw them win three of the four quarters, but the 11-point second term differential was the ultimate factor in the win. The minor premiers now move through with a week off to play the winner of Nunawading Spectres and Geelong Supercats, while the Cobras face the Bendigo Braves who upset the Melbourne Tigers yesterday. Marqueze Coleman proved the impact bench players can have, coming off the pine to post a game-high 22 points, as well as seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. Kuany Kuany (18 points, six rebounds and two steals) contributed strongly, but both Josh Fox (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Deng Acuoth (10 points, 10 rebounds) picked up double-doubles in the victory. For the Cobras, Peter Hooley also had an impact off the bench collecting an equal team-high 16 points, as well as six rebounds – five defensive, while Isaac Turner also collected 16 points. Tohi Smith-Milner was a cause for concern off the boards with 13 points and 11 rebounds – eight defensive.

FRANKSTON BLUES 37 | 27 | 20 | 23 (107)
NUNAWADING SPECTRES 19 | 28 | 23 | 27 (97)

A fast-starting Frankston Blues outfit has set up a huge 10-point win over a fast-finishing Nunawading Spectres side. In one of those rare anomalies, Frankston won just one of the four quarters, but it was a dominant term, piling on 37 points to 19 in the first quarter to race out to an 18-point lead at the first break. From there Nunawading worked its way back into the contest, but could only cut back the deficit by one at the main break, down to 14 by the final break and eventually 10 at the final buzzer to be 107-97 winners at the end. Damon Bozeman was the standout player on the court with 28 points, six rebounds and three assists for Frankston, while Najeal Young had 21 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Majok Majok (18 points, eight rebounds) and Igor Hadziomerovic (14 points, eight rebounds) were again prolific off the boards. For Nunawading, Tom Wright picked up a team-high 21 points, three rebounds and three assists, whilst Simon Conn (17 points, 13 rebounds and two assists) was massive in trying to get his team across the line. Jack Saunders (15 points) and Costa Hronopoulos (14 points) were important coming off the bench in the loss. Now the Blues move through to the Preliminary Finals with a week off, while Nunawading host Geelong Supercats in the semi-finals.

MELBOURNE TIGERS 21 | 23 | 17 | 15 (76)
BENDIGO BRAVES 15 | 22 | 29 | 20 (86)

Bendigo Braves fairy-tale run continued on the weekend, showing they were far from making up the numbers in the finals series, toppling Melbourne Tigers despite a slow start. The Tigers were well on top at MSAC, an arena they had turned into a fortress since their only loss of the season there – ironically against Bendigo in Round 1 – to lead by six points at the first break and then extend that lead to seven by the major break. The scoring spread of the Braves kicked into gear in the third term as they piled on 29 points to 17 to retake the lead by five points, then they went on with the game in the final term with a 20-15 final quarter to win, 86-76. Ray Turner continued his great season form with 27 points and 15 rebounds, as well as two blocks and a steal. He was far from alone for the Braves however as Mathiang Muo (24 points, five rebounds) and Deonte Burton (20 point, nine rebounds, six assists) were both dominant close to the post. For the Tigers, Nic Pozoglou finished his season off strongly with 21 point, seven rebounds and a steal, while William Hickey and Jack Purchase both finished the game with 19 points and nine rebounds. The result meant Bendigo move through to face Kilsyth Cobras in the semi-finals, while Melbourne Tigers head to the off-season, unable to advance past the first week of finals despite the fifth placed finish.

NBL1 Men’s finals preview: Qualifying and Elimination finals

FIFTEEN rounds down and eight teams remain in the hunt for the inaugural National Basketball League (NBL)1 Men’s title. Four games play out over the weekend, with Ballarat Miners securing the minor premiership and up the other end, Bendigo Braves sneaking into the finals in eighth.

EF2: GEELONG SUPERCATS vs. DANDENONG RANGERS
Saturday July 27, 7.00pm
Geelong Arena

Last time they met: Geelong Supercats (74) defeated Dandenong Rangers (69)

In a fairly even contest, Geelong took home the points at the same venue they will square off at on Saturday night, with an 18-12 third term the real difference between the sides. Lewis Thomas (21 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals) and Demarcus Gatlin (15 points, 10 rebounds and two assists) were the best for the Supercats, while Dexter Kernich-Drew (16 points, four rebounds and two assists) and Tim Lang (15 points, 11 rebounds) never stopped trying for the Rangers.

Recent form:

Geelong Supercats have been inconsistent in the run home, winning four of the past seven, but two of those three losses came against minor premiers Ballarat Miners, while the third was against a desperate Bendigo Braves outfit in the final round.

Dandenong Rangers have won four of their past five games after dropping the two games prior to that, donning the same win-loss ratio as the Supercats.

Key Players:

Demarcus Gatlin (Geelong Supercats) – 20.7 PPG | 7.4 RPG | 3.9 APG | 2.4 SPG

The prolific 193cm guard has been a steadying influence for the Supercats this season, rarely having a poor game, and most importantly able to pad up stats across all the key areas. It is no surprise that Gatlin looms as the wildcard for the Supercats, particularly off the boards with Lewis Thomas and Ma’alo Hicks the other dangers to watch for the Rangers.

Lucas Barker (Dandenong Rangers) – 15.3 PPG | 5.2 RPG | 6.8 APG | 2.0 SPG

Dandenong has an even spread of contributors, with the Rangers often having different top scorers each week. Barker has been the one consistent force across the season, with just he and Tim Lang being the only players to start in all 20 of the matches. Barker is more of the playmaking type, assisting his teammates almost seven times per game, whilst hitting the scoreboard and getting off the boards despite being 185cm.

How will it play out?

Remarkably Geelong are the lowest scoring team in the competition despite sitting sixth, averaging just 80.8 points per game. However the Supercats are also the second best defensive team behind the Miners, keeping their opponents to a stingy 79.8 points per game. It shows that if the Supercats are to win, it will likely be a low-scoring contest, whereas Dandenong prefer higher scoring contests, ranked fourth overall for most points (91.7 per game) and eleventh for points conceded (88 per game).

QF1: BALLARAT MINERS vs. KILSYTH COBRAS
Saturday July 27, 7.30pm
Mars Minerdome

Last time they met: Kilsyth Cobras (71) defeated by Ballarat Miners (87)

It has been almost two months since the Miners and Cobras faced off on the court, as Ballarat got up by 16 points, surviving a third quarter challenge from the home side to run away with the contest 31-17 in the final term to win 87-71. Jerry Evans Jr (22 points, five rebounds) and Josh Fox (19 points, 18 rebounds) were sensational for the winners, while Isaac Turner (20 points) and Peter Hooley (12 points, nine rebounds) were the best for Kilsyth.

Recent form:

After dominating the season with just two losses in the opening 13 rounds, the Ballarat Miners have not won since July 6, dropping back-to-back games to Waverley Falcons and Melbourne Tigers. It may not be a huge concern considering they had top spot locked up for some time, but they do not have the most impressive form coming into the finals.

Kilsyth have had a mixed bag of results leading into finals with four wins from the past seven games, suffering a heavy loss to Frankston Blues in Round 14, but managing wins over finals sides Dandenong Rangers and Nunawading Spectres in the past few weeks.

Key Players:

Jerry Evans Jr (Ballarat Miners) 19.2 PPG | 7.6 RPG | 1.8 APG | 1.9 SPG | 0.7 BPG

The 208cm forward is a man mountain and hard for any side to stop on his day, with more than a quarter of his points coming from the line after being fouled heading to the basket. He is not a huge threat from beyond the arc, but he gets right under the post and makes opposition sides nervous with his offensive drives, and has been Ballarat’s key scorer during the season.

Tohi Smith-Milner (Kilsyth Cobras) 15.7 PPG | 8.4 RPG | 2.1 APG | 0.9 SPG | 0.5 BPG

The Melbourne United forward-center is similar to Evans Jnr in the fact that he stands at 206cm and is a hard man to move. There were some nervous moments in the late part of the season when he had an ankle concern, but he bounced back to finish the season strongly and looms as the key in a well-rounded Cobras attack. Hooley and Turner are among the others to watch.

How will it play out?

Ballarat Miners are a defence-first side, averaging the lowest points conceded by a mile, restricting their opponents to just 76.2 points per game, whilst ranked sixth overall for points scored with 90.2 per game. The Cobras have made it into the top four off the same philosophy, ranked fourth for least points conceded (84.1), but a lowly eleventh for points for (85.8). It means the clash is likely to be low-scoring, but chances are that Ballarat will be able to find more ways to the basket with so many scoring options.

QF2: FRANKSTON BLUES vs. NUNAWADING SPECTRES
Saturday July 27, 7.30pm
Frankston Basketball Stadium

Last time they met: Nunawading Spectres (73) defeated by Frankston Blues (86)

In the game that was played early on in the season, but ultimately handed Frankston the home final, the Blues started strongly to lead by nine at the first break, and then broke even with the Spectres in the third term before running out 13-point winners. Five players reached double-figure points and at least six rebounds for the Blues, led by Majok Majok (18 points, six rebounds) while Najeal Young (15 points, 12 rebounds) picked up a double-double. For Nunawading, Costa Hronopoulos shot 21 points, five rebounds and two assists, while Simon Conn (16 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks) was consistent across the board.

Recent form:

Frankston Blues have had a remarkable revival since starting the season at 1-4, winning 13 of the next 15 games to not only secure a finals berth, but become a genuine contender when the whips are cracking. With nine wins in their past 10 games, the Blues are the most in-form side in the competition winning their past eight matches.

Nunawading Spectres have won seven of their past 10 and whilst they lost the right to a home final due to the head-to-head loss to Frankston, the Spectres are surprisingly better on the road than at home. With a mediocre 5-5 home record, the Spectres have not had such trouble when bonding on the road with nine wins from 10 games and the only loss coming against Kilsyth Cobras. With four wins from the past five games, the Spectres are heading into the finals series in fairly strong form.

Key Players:

Damon Bozeman (Frankston Blues) 20.0 PPG | 4.8 RPG | 2.6 APG | 1.6 SPG

The 190cm guard is one of three Frankston players to have started in every game this season, giving the Blues great consistency throughout the year. With just over 51 per cent accuracy from the field, Bozeman could have averaged even more than his 20 points per game, but he gets the numbers across the board, particularly defensively with 1.6 steals per game, and 78 of his 96 rebounds coming off the defensive board.

Simon Conn (Nunawading Spectres) 19.4 PPG | 10.2 RBG | 2.1 APG | 0.7 SPG | 0.7 BPG

The huge 206cm centre will be a real issue for Frankston, as he positions himself well under the boards to be one of the most prolific rebounders in the competition. Nunawading has not had a consistent line-up the whole year, with Conn’s 19 starts the most of any player. Of his 19.4 points per game, 81.5 per cent come from the field, with most of them close to the basket. Not a renowned three-point shooter with just four triples made in season 2019, Conn is one who teammates look to close to the rim given his accuracy.

How will it play out?

Unlike the first two finals, expect this to be a high-scoring extravaganza. Ranked first (Frankston – 94.2 points for per game) and second (Nunawading – 92.8 points per game) for points for, both these sides know how to win big and put plenty of pressure on the opposition guards. Nunawading is the slightly better defensive side, ranked seventh in the competition for least points conceded (84.6 per game) to Frankston’s ninth placed ranking (87.8).

EF1: MELBOURNE TIGERS vs. BENDIGO BRAVES
Sunday July 28, 1.00pm
Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC)

Last time they met: Melbourne Tigers (69) defeated by Bendigo Braves (73)

You have to go back to the opening round of the season to see these two sides going head-to-head with Bendigo Braves getting up in a four-point thriller over the Tigers. They had control for most of the day, with the home side piling on 14 points to eight in the final term to cut the deficit to just four by the buzzer. Ray Turner scored 16 points, 14 rebounds and four assists in Bendigo’s win, while Matthew Andronicos (16 points, seven rebounds) was also busy. For the Tigers, Nic Pozoglou was the standout with 18 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and two blocks, while partner-in-crime Dane Pineau had 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Recent form:

After three consecutive losses – including a heartbreaking one-point defeat to Frankston, Melbourne Tigers found form in the remaining weeks, winning their three last games heading into finals to secure a top eight spot.

Bendigo had to dig deep to make finals, winning four of the past five to scrape into the top eight and steal eighth spot. They toppled the Geelong Supercats in the final round which would give them confidence after less than convincing wins over league battlers Knox Raiders and Diamond Valley Eagles, as well as a loss to Albury Wodonga Bandits.

Key Players:

Nic Pozoglou (Melbourne Tigers) 19.2 PPG | 10.2 RPG | 3.3 APG | 1.9 SPG | 0.6 BPG

The Illawarra Hawks forward might have only managed five NBL games in the 2018/19 season, but if his form is anything to go by in the NBL1, expect him to find himself a part of the action more often. Pozoglou averaged 19.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, one of the few to end the season with a double-double average. He also set up teammates and won the ball back from the opposition, being a one-man show when times were tough, and enjoying a great partnership with Pineau when the two were in together on 13 occasions.

Ray Turner (Bendigo Braves) 22.9 PPG | 12.3 RPG | 2.0 APG | 1.0 SPG | 1.3 BPG

The 206cm forward will be up there in contention for the league best and fairest after a massive season for the Braves. Like Pozoglou, Turner finished the season with a double-double average with 22.9 points and 12.3 rebounds, whilst having a couple of assists, and a steal and block per game. At his height he is hard to contain, particularly close to the basket, and he gets it done at both ends with the bulk of his rebounds coming off the defensive boards. His free throw percentage is a little low compared to others at just under 70 per cent, but he knows how to put the points up regardless of whether he makes it to the line.

How will it play out?

Melbourne Tigers are ranked tenth overall for points for (86.9 per game), but still well ahead of Bendigo Braves (84.5) who sit in the bottom four. Defensively it is the other way around with Bendigo third overall for least points conceded (82.5 per game) compared to Melbourne who is still relatively strong defensively (84.5). Melbourne are capable of putting up a big score, but also matching the Braves defensively, and in terms of home and away records, with the Tigers winning 10 of a possible 11 games at MSAC – the last time they lost at home was the opening round to Bendigo – they have turned their home court into a fortress. Bendigo is mediocre on the road with five wins from 10 games.

NBL1 Men’s Round 15 review: Frankston grabs home final as Bendigo sneak in

WAVERLEY Falcons will be left wondering what could have been after back-to-back losses knocked the Falcons out of the top eight, missing out on finals by three points after going down to both Tasmanian sides and allowing Bendigo Braves back into the contest. In the standalone Friday night game, everything went according to play in the first term against Hobart Huskies for the Falcons to race to a 10-point lead, but the Huskies took control of the home court advantage to cut into the deficit and eventually run out on top with 13 more points in the second half. Jalen Adams put on a show for the home fans, sinking 35 points at a remarkable 84.2 per cent from the field, whilst picking up nine rebounds, three assists and two bocks. Tad Dufelmeier (18 points, six rebounds and eight assists) and Zachary White (17 points, six rebounds and three blocks) were also prominent for the Huskies. Dylan Travis was phenomenal for the Falcons, posting up 40 points along with four rebounds, three assists and three steals though it was all for nought, while Deondre McWhorter (16 points, 12 rebounds and three assists) also picked up a double-double. In the eight-point loss to North West Thunder to seal their fate, the Falcons again had a couple of big contributors with Travis (30 points, six rebounds, five assists and five steals) everywhere, while Bennie Lewis (33 points, three assists and two blocks) assisted with the scoring power, as McWhorter almost picked up another double-double with 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Nick Banyard sank 29 points and had 16 rebounds along with three assists for the Thunder, while Paul Campbell also picked up a double-double in the win, thanks to 15 points and 14 rebounds as well as five assists.

The team that benefited from Waverley’s demise was Bendigo Braves who caused an upset win against Geelong Supercats, denying the Supercats a double chance in the process. The Braves won each of the four quarters on their way to an impressive 84-67 victory that just might be the spur they needed heading into finals. Mathiang Muo posted 30 points, five rebounds and two assists, while Ray Turner was superb again with a double-double of 20 points, 12 rebounds and two assists. Deonte Burton (13 points, six rebounds and six assists) was the other Brave to make double-figure points. For the Supercats, Demarcus Gatlin impressed again with 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals, while Lewis Thomas (15 points, seven rebounds) and Ma’alo Hicks (12 points, six rebounds) tried hard.

Meeting the Braves in the first final is Melbourne Tigers who stood up when required, downing minor premiers Ballarat Miners by eight points, then toppling Eltham Wildcats by 12 the next day to lock up fifth spot, narrowly missing out on a double chance. The Tiers’ fast start against the Miners was key, as they piled on 27 points to 14 in the first term, and lead by 14 at the main break. The Miners hit back to cut the final margin to single digits, but it was a case of too little, too late. Dane Pineau and Nic Pozoglou went to town off the boards for the Tigers, combining for a mind-boggling 38 rebounds – more than the entire opposition side – whilst posting 18 points apiece and sharing in seven assists. Michael Luxford (seven assists) and Mike Wells (13 points) also played supporting roles in the win. For the Miners, it marked back-to-back losses heading into finals which might be a concern, but Marqueze Coleman (24 points, four rebounds and six assists), Sam Short (19 points, four rebounds and three assists) and Jerry Evans Jr (12 points, 11 rebounds) still had solid games. In the 82-70 victory over Eltham, Pineau had a game-high 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Pozoglou picked up 16 points and seven rebounds, as well as three assists and four steals. Young star William Hickey helped himself to a double-double with 10 points, 11 rebounds and three assists, while Jack Purchase (11 points, four rebounds and four assists) was also impressive. For the Wildcats, Adam Doyle picked up 16 points, four rebounds, five assists and two steals, while Geremy McKay (13 points, 11 rebounds) had a double-double and Ovie Magbegor (12 points, eight rebounds) was also solid off the boards.

Dandenong Rangers also played two matches over the weekend, but with mixed results, going down to Kilsyth Cobras to lose out on a potential double chance, before managing to secure seventh with an important win over Ringwood Hawks on Sunday. In the narrow defeat to Kilsyth, the Rangers lead at half-time before the Cobras piled on 27 points to 17 in the third term to set themselves up for a vital win. Tohi Smith-Milner sank 28 points, nine rebounds and four assists in the win, while Isaac Turner (23 points, three rebounds and two assists) and Sean MacDonald (16 points, five rebounds and seven assists) were both busy. For the Rangers, Dexter Kernich-Drew (22 points, four rebounds and five assists) was the top scorer, while Sam Froling (20 points, 10 rebounds) picked up a double-double, a feat Lucas Barker narrowly missed out on (eight points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and two steals). In the Rangers’ five-point victory over Ringwood in overtime, the players shared the points around with Froling (18 points, seven rebounds and four assists) topscoring, while Kernich-Drew (17 points, three rebounds and three assists) and Josh Oswald (17 points, eight rebounds) found plenty of points from the field, as did Barker (14 points, seven rebounds and nine assists) who again narrowly missed out on a double-double, and almost a triple-double. Shaun Clarke (24 points, nine rebounds) and Matthew Fennell (23 points, 15 rebounds) did the bulk of the damage for Ringwood along with Adrien Sturt (20 points, six rebounds and three assists).

Frankston Blues secured second spot with a vital 14-point win over Southern Sabres on Sunday. The Blues looked comfortable throughout the four quarters to win the first three terms and eventually get the points, 97-83. Majok Majok scored 21 points and had nine rebounds, while Alister Macdonald (13 points, three steals) and Igor Hadziomerovic (12 points, seven rebounds) were both busy across the court. For the Sabres, Rhys Carter stood up with 24 points, 10 rebounds and five steals, while Kingsley Box (15 points, five rebounds) and Sam McDaniel (13 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and two steals) were impressive. The Sabres had a second loss the day before, going down to Diamond Valley Eagles by just three points in a heartbreaker after leading throughout the match. Carter (18 points, four rebounds and six assists) and McDaniel (16 points, eight rebounds) were again prominent in defeat, while Jamie Batish had 11 points and three rebounds. Logan Hovey was the standout player on the court, picking up a double-double with 28 points and 10 rebounds, while Anthony Odunsi (20 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals), Joel Spear (15 points, four rebounds, five assists) and Ben Allen (13 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals) were all prominent.

In the other games, Knox Raiders claimed a narrow three-point win over Albury Wodonga Bandits, while Nunawading Spectres finished the regular season with a win to give themselves a chance at second spot prior to Frankston’s win, after also getting up by three points over Eltham Wildcats. In Knox’s win, Adam Thoseby scored 20 points and had six rebounds, whilst Torren Jones was massive for the Bandits in defeat with 26 points and 14 rebounds. For the Spectres, Simon Conn (23 points, 18 rebounds) was one of four players to reach double-figure points on his side in the victory, while McKay (24 points, 10 rebounds) also picked up a double-double despite Eltham’s second defeat of the weekend.

Round 15 results:

Hobart Huskies 98 defeated Waverley Falcons 95
Albury Wodonga Bandits 96 defeated Knox Raiders 99*
Geelong Supercats 67 defeated by Bendigo Braves 84
Kilsyth Cobras 94 defeated Dandenong Rangers 86
North West Thunder 103 defeated Waverley Falcons 95
Diamond Valley Eagles 85 defeated Southern Sabres 82
Eltham Wildcats 94 defeated by Nunawading Spectres 97*
Ballarat Miners 78 defeated BY Melbourne Tigers 86
Dandenong Rangers 111 defeated Ringwood Hawks 106
Southern Sabres 83 defeated by Frankston Blues 97
Melbourne Tigers 82 defeated Eltham Wildcats 70

Final ladder:

1 Ballarat Miners 16-4
2 Frankston Blues 14-6 (lower percentage but head-to-head record has Blues slot into second)
3 Nunawading Spectres 14-6
4 Kilsyth Cobras 12-8
5 Melbourne Tigers 12-8
6 Geelong Supercats 12-8
7 Dandenong Rangers 11-9
8 Bendigo Braves 11-9

9 Hobart Huskies 10-10
10 Waverley Falcons 10-10
11 Diamond Valley Eagles 9-11
12 Albury Wodonga Bandits 8-12
13 North West Thunder 8-12
14 Knox Raiders 8-12
15 Basketball Australia CoE 8-12
16 Ringwood Hawks 6-14
17 Eltham Wildcats 6-14
18 Southern Sabres 5-15

Finals Week 1:

Ballarat Miners vs. Kilsyth Cobras
Frankston Blues vs. Nunawading Spectres
Melbourne Tigers vs. Bendigo Braves
Geelong Supercats vs. Dandenong Rangers

NBL1 Men’s Round 14 review: Waverley upsets minor premiers to keep finals dream alive

JUST 10 teams remain in the hunt for National Basketball League (NBL)1 finals after a big round of action over the weekend. Seven of the nine games on Friday and Saturday were won by the visiting teams in what would have been a disappointing round for home crowds. Three of the top four is settled with Ballarat Miners, Nunawading Spectres and Frankston Blues all earning double chances this year, while Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence’s season is now complete, currently sitting thirteenth but could slip to sixteenth depending on results in the final round next weekend.

Waverley Falcons’ never-say-die attitude was the highlight on the round as they strung together back-to-back wins over Knox Raiders, and remarkably, minor premiers Ballarat Miners. The on the road win against the Miners was the Falcons best of the season, winning by 13 points on Saturday. The Falcons started and finished strongly which was enough to get them the win in the 90-77 game, as Deondre McWhorter (29 points, 10 rebounds and two assists) and Dylan Travis (21 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and two steals) went to work. Deng Acuoth (21 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks) picked up a double-double for the Miners, while Sam Short (15 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals) was also prominent for the losing side. The Falcons then backed it up with a 10-point victory over Knox at home, with McWhorter (20 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and two blocks) and Travis (18 points, seven rebounds and five assists) again amongst the best, whilst Bennie Lewis top scored with 26 points. For the Raiders, Cadarian Raines (18 points, 11 rebounds) and Damon Heuir (15 points, six rebounds and four assists) were the two players to reach double-figure points.

Knox Raiders disappointing weekend was compounded by an earlier loss to Bendigo Braves, going down by just two points at home. Heuir again did all he could with 21 points, while James Hunter (13 points, seven rebounds) was the top player for the home side in the 2defeat. For the Braves, they had Ray Turner (26 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks) who was dominant once again, while Mathiang Muo (19 points, six rebounds) and Deonte Burton (12 points, five rebounds) were also busy in the win. The Braves bounced back from a home win the night before when they went down to Albury Wodonga Bandits on Friday. Bendigo led at quarter time but were overpowered after that to lose, 93-82. Muo (22 points, seven rebounds) again had some great work off the boards, while Turner (14 points, four rebounds and two assists) and Matthew Andronicos (13 points, four rebounds and two blocks) were also solid. The Bandits had too many scoring options however as Torren Jones (22 points, nine rebounds and four steals), Deba George (21 points, four rebounds, five assists and five steals) and Ken-Jah Bosley (20 points, four rebounds, seven assists and three steals) all combined to form a dominant scoring trio.

Basketball Centre of Excellence’s (CoE) weekend came to a close with one win from three games, defeating Eltham Wildcats on Friday night by four points, before going down to Hobart Huskies (18 points) and Southern Sabres (four points) in games on Saturday and Sunday respectively. In the CoE’s win over Eltham, Angus Glover (29 points, four rebounds, two assists and three steals) was prominent, while Tamuri Wigness (18 points, three rebounds and six assists) and Hunter Clarke (12 points, seven rebounds and six assists) were also very good. For the Wildcats, Adam Doyle (24 points, three steals) top scored, while Dave Schaffert (21 points, two rebounds) also finished with a strong points tally. Geremy Mckay was the most dominant across the court with 12 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in the loss. In the CoE’s loss to Hobart, Clarke was the sole scorer over 20 points with 25, as well as four rebounds, whilst Josh Kunen came close to a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds, as did Kian Dennis (12 points, nine rebounds) and Wil Tattersall (eight points, nine rebounds). For the Huskies, Matthew Young (28 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals), Jalen Adams (26 points, two rebounds, three assists and two steals) and Tad Dufelmeier (18 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals) were brilliant once again. After leading at three quarter time, the CoE went down to cellar dwellers Southern Sabres on Sunday. Glover (21 points, five rebounds) and Wigness (22 points, four rebounds and 12 assists) were busy, as were Kunen (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Tattersall (18 points, eight rebounds). Damaging Sabres’ duo David Barlow (26 points, five rebounds) and Sam McDaniel (20 points, 10 rebounds) helped get their team home with strong performances.

Frankston’s remarkable winning streak continued on the weekend, making it seven consecutive victories following their win over Kilsyth Cobras. In completing the massive 35-point win, the Blues guaranteed themselves a double chance, sitting third on the table with a round to go. They shared the points around, as Lachlan Barker (19 points, three rebounds), Daniel Trist (15 points, 12 rebounds and three assists) and Damon Bozeman (14 points, five rebounds and three assists) were among six players who reached double-figure points. Isaac Turner was a lone hand for Kilsyth with the Cobras missing star Peter Hooley, and Tohi Smith-Milner suffering an injury early in the game, as Turner finished with 28 points and five rebounds. Also giving themselves best chance of a finals spot was Dandenong Rangers who overcame Albury Wodonga Bandits in a 21-point victory on the road. Sam Froling was terrific with 29 points, three rebounds and two assists, while Lucas Barker (21 points, eight assists, five rebounds and three steals) was the Rangers’ best. Bosley was the most prominent scorer for the Bandits with 20 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Jones racked up a mammoth 19 rebounds to go with his 13 points. Kilsyth did get a win on the weekend when they triumphed over top two side Nunawading Spectres by five points on the road. Turner posted 26 points, whilst Smith-Milner showed his importance to the Cobras with 18 points and 18 rebounds – 16 defensive – to be a serious problem for the Spectres. Tom Wright had a match-high 28 points for the Spectres, as well as five rebounds and five assists, while Lucas Walker (15 points, nine rebounds) was also prominent despite the loss.

Outside the Huskies’ win over the CoE, it was not a great weekend for the Tasmanian sides, with the Huskies going down to Melbourne Tigers by a heartbreaking one-point margin, while North West Thunder suffered defeats at the hands of Ringwood Hawks and Diamond Valley Eagles. The Huskies were blown away by the Tigers in the opening term, but hit back to trail by seven at the main break, and whilst they managed to get back on even terms, fell a points short by the final buzzer. Adams (30 points, eight rebounds) and Dufelmeier (28 points, three rebounds, four assists and two steals) renewed their dominance on the court despite it not quite being enough. Melbourne had a quartet of big scorers, with Dane Pineau (31 points, 11 rebounds) and Nic Pozoglou (18 points, 12 rebounds) picking up double-doubles, as did Michael Luxford (12 points, 11 rebounds). North West Thunder capitulated after half-time, having raced out to a 17-point lead, only for Ringwood to pile on 59 points to 28 in a complete rout. Matthew Fennell (18 points, 10 rebounds) helped himself to a double-double for the Hawks, while Adrien Sturt (16 points, six rebounds and four blocks) and Jacob Gibson (16 points, three rebounds and three assists) were busy. For the Thunder, Nick Banyard (22 points, seven rebounds) top scored, whilst Jordan Bowling picked up a double-double with 15 points and 16 rebounds. In the 14-point loss to Diamond Valley Eagles, Banyard and Bowling combined for 43 points, 22 rebounds, six assists and four steals as the two dominant players in the loss. The Eagles shared it around with three key scorers, led by Logan Hovey (25 points, nine rebounds and three assists) and Anthony Odunsi (25 points, two rebounds and six assists), while Ben Allen (22 points, 14 rebounds, two assists and three steals) had a double-double.

Round 14 results:

Eltham Wildcats 87 defeated by Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence 91
Bendigo Braves 82 defeated by Albury Wodonga Bandits 93
Nunawading Spectres 82 defeated by Kilsyth Cobras 87
Albury Wodonga Bandits 83 defeated by Dandenong Rangers 104
Ballarat Miners 77 defeated by Waverley Falcons 90
Hobart Huskies 105 defeated Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence 87
Ringwood Hawks 90 defeated North West Thunder 76*
Knox Raiders 78 defeated by Bendigo Braves 80
Kilsyth Cobras 58 defeated by Frankston Blues 93
Southern Sabres 92 defeated Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence 88
Diamond Valley Eagles 104 defeated North West Thunder 90*
Waverley Falcons 83 defeated Knox Raiders 73
Melbourne Tigers 94 defeated Hobart Huskies 93*