Tag: taylor ortlepp

2021 NBL1 Central wrap: Round 6

NBL1’s Central Division delivered a round of action that had blowouts, thrillers and everything in between, as we take a look back at this weekend’s games.

Forestville Eagles v Sturt Sabres


The Eagles were handed their first loss of the 2021 season, courtesy of a clinical performance from the Sabres. In a highly anticipated contest, the final margin was not even close, with Sturt walking away winners by a 24-point margin. The Sabres have moved up to second on the ladder, while the Eagles drop to third after the defeat. For the victors, Kylee Smith and Jade Johnson combined for 39 of the team’s 67 points, forming an impressive tandem. For the Eagles, Samantha Simons fought hard offensively and on the glass all day, finishing with 13 points and 12 rebounds in a valiant performance.


In an absolute thriller, Sturt outlasted their opponents in the last quarter, defeating the Eagles by five points at Wayville Sports Centre on Saturday night. With the game tied heading into the final quarter, Sturt did just enough to secure the win and remain undefeated after six rounds, a feat only they have achieved this season. For the winning side, Joel Spear and Sam Daly combined for 43 points and were vital in their team’s win. For the Eagles, Michael Harris was an offensive weapon, finishing with 26 points in what could have been a match-winning performance.

Southern Tigers v Norwood Flames


With the result of the game mentioned above, the Southern Tigers remain the only undefeated side in the league, following their 15-point triumph over the Flames. The Tigers now find themselves a game clear on top of the ladder and will be looking to keep it this way. The Flames now sit in seventh place on the ladder with plenty of work to do if they want to climb. For the Tigers, Teige Morell was instrumental, finishing with 24 points and 13 rebounds, seven of those being offensive. For the Flames, Genna Anderson was impressive with 23 points and 10 rebounds as she fought to keep her side afloat.


A big second quarter set up a seven-point win for the Tigers, as they took down the Flames at Morhett Vale Basketball Stadium on Saturday night. The Tigers outscored their opponents 26-13 in the second term, and the lead was eventually unassailable for the Flames, with the Tigers recording their fourth win of the season to put them in the top four on the ladder. For the victors, Cameron Coleman was eye-catching, with 28 points and 11 rebounds in a typically impressive outing. For the Flames, CJ Turnage was a monster, finishing the game with 31 points, seven rebounds and eight assists as he attempted to carry his side to a win.

West Adelaide Bearcats v Eastern Mavericks


The West Adelaide Bearcats recorded a crucial win as they defeated the struggling Eastern Mavericks by 19 points in their round six clash. The Bearcats didn’t lose a quarter for the game, and comfortably defeated an Eastern Mavericks side still searching for their first win in what has been a disappointing 2021 campaign for the club. For the Bearcats, Jennie Rintala performed strongly as expected, finishing with 21 points in a strong win. For the Mavericks, Mollie McKendrick continues to battle hard in a losing side, finishing with 20 points for the match.


The Bearcats were ruthless in their dismissal of the Mavericks, walking away with a 41-point win at Port Adelaide Recreation Centre on Saturday night. The Mavericks have looked incapable all season and this trend continued as the Bearcats used the match as a method of getting their confidence. For the Bearcats, Earnest Ross recorded a monster triple-double with 22 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in a dominant outing. For the Mavericks, William Wise battled his way to 19 points in a brave effort.

Woodville Warriors v South Adelaide Panthers


The Panthers continued their run of hot form, taking down the Warriors by 29 points, to continue their reputation as one of the in-form teams of the competition. Winning every quarter, the Panthers cruised to their fifth win of the season, while the Warriors were on the end of their fifth win of the year. For the Panthers, Olivia Thompson was their best performer, with 20 points and 14 boards, continuing her fine form. For the Warriors, Emily Winter battled hard as she typically does, scoring 30 of her side’s 67 points.


A final quarter surge saw the Panthers steal a four-point win from the Warriors at St Clair Recreation Centre on Saturday night. The Warriors led at the final break, and an expected win looked like it would unfold, but the Panthers outscored their opponents 28-19 in the final period to crush the hearts of Warriors fans. For the Panthers, Alex Starling delivered the performance of the round with 37 points, 20 rebounds and seven steals in a heroic effort. James Boonstoppel was the best for the Warriors with 23 points.

North Adelaide Rockets v Central Districts Lions


The final matchup for the round saw a ruthless Rocket display, as they crushed the Lions to the tune of 37 points to claim an important victory. The Lions’ woes continue as they remain in last place with no wins to show from six games, while the Rockets moved up to sixth place with a 3-3 record. For the winners, Taylor Ortlepp displayed her offensive arsenal, finishing with 27 points to once again be her side’s top scorer. For the Lions, April Rummery Lumb finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds.


The final game of the round saw an overtime thriller, as the Central Districts Lions snuck past the North Adelaide Rockets by four points at The Lights Community and Sports Centre on Saturday night. The Lions rallied in the final quarter to force overtime, and then proved to be the better time in the extra period. For the Lions, Lual Diing lived up to his reputation, pouring in a whopping 25 points and 24 rebounds in the win. For the Rockets, Jack Purchase was fantastic with 29 points and 14 rebounds of his own.

Picture credit: Kelly Barnes/AllStar Photos

NBL1 Central preview: Blockbuster day for a cause

NBL1’s Central Division returns for another round of high-quality basketball action. This week will look a little different, with the league celebrating Pink Sports Day, a day dedicated to spreading awareness and supporting those affected by breast cancer. All games will be played on the same day to mark the occasion.

Forrestville Eagles v Sturt Sabres


A blockbuster in every sense of the word, the opening game of round six sees two top sides of the competition go head-to-head at Wayville Sports Centre on Saturday evening. The Eagles are yet to lose a game following their 30-point victory over the Warriors last round. Their confidence will be through the roof heading into the game, and they have the troops to keep the streak alive. Samantha Simons has had a blistering run of form, capped off by her 27 points, seven rebounds and eight assists last round. The Eagles will face some tough competition, with the Sabres entering the contest in red-hot form, winning their last four games as they ride some serious momentum into the round. A 26-point triumph over the Rockets displayed their current form, and they will fancy themselves in this matchup, despite heading in underdogs. They have plenty of avenues to score, last week it was Jade Johnson with 18, but it could be anyone on any given week.


The Sturt Sabres have been on fire lately, the only undefeated side remaining in the men’s competition after five rounds. They will be looking to make it six wins in a row, as they take on the Eagles on Saturday night. The Sabres waltzed through their round five opponents in North Adelaide, and look like they will be difficult to slow down in the near future, especially if Sam Daly keeps up his current form. The Eagles have looked promising in the 2021 season, but have lacked the consistency to stamp themselves as a powerhouse. With a record of 3-2 in their five games, they will be driven to cause an upset against the best side in the competition on Saturday. Michael Harris and Gregory May will need to be aggressive offensively to give their side a shot.

Southern Tigers v Norwood Flames


The Flames will have a tough challenge ahead of them at Morphett Vale Basketball Stadium on Saturday night, taking down the seemingly unstoppable Southern Tigers. The Flames have had an underwhelming start to the season, currently sitting at 2-3 after five rounds of basketball. They had a nice win against a weaker opponent last week, defeating the Eastern Mavericks by 15 points. They face a much tougher team this week and will need to fire on all cylinders if they are to cause an upset. Bride Kennedy-Hopoate poured in an impressive 31 points last week, so expect her Flames teammates to look for her scoring ability again. The Tigers could be about as confident as any team is in the NBL1, and rightfully so. They are 5-0 on the season with some pretty convincing wins on the board, and fresh off an 86-point demolition of the Central Districts. If they keep this form rolling, it is hard to see anyone but them winning it all at the end of the season.


Two in-form sides will clash on Saturday night, as the Tigers and the Flames look to continue their respective winning streaks. The Tigers have bounced back from a sluggish start to the season to walk away winners in their last three matchups. An 11-point win over the Central Districts Lions saw them burst up the ladder and they will be eager to do the same this weekend. Machar Machar had his best performance of the season last round with 27 crucial points and will be one to watch again. The Flames broke their losing ways a few weeks ago and have worked their way to a two-game winning streak and will need to extend this to keep up with the top teams on the ladder. A convincing 31-point triumph over the Mavericks was a promising sign, and if CJ Turnage can continue to score with ease, this will prove a tense battle.

West Adelaide Bearcats v Eastern Mavericks


Two teams in need of a win, the Bearcats and the Mavericks will do battle at Port Adelaide Recreation Centre on Saturday evening. The Mavericks have been struggling since the very beginning of the season and are yet to put any wins on the board after five rounds. Mollie McKendrick continues to battle hard with strong performances, but to no avail. The Bearcats started the season in promising fashion, winning two out of their first three matches, but have since lost two in a row and will be desperate to regain some form, an opportunity they will have this weekend. Jennie Rintala put in a dominant display last week and could do something similar this week.


The Eastern Mavericks will be desperate to surprise everyone and record their first win of the season this weekend as they take on the Bearcats on Saturday night. The Mavericks have looked off the pace all season, highlighted by round five’s 31-point loss at the hands of the Flames. If they are to grab the win this weekend, they will need to change some things up. The Bearcats will also be fighting hard for the win that could help get them back into form as the season progresses. The side won two in a row earlier in the season, but have since lost their last two games, making this clash a crucial result. Earnest Ross has shown no hesitation shooting the ball, resulting in solid scores for his side, and he should continue this.

Woodville Warriors v South Adelaide Panthers


Two sides with contrasting seasons will clash as the Woodville Warriors and the South Adelaide Panthers face off at the St Clair Recreation Centre on Saturday. The Warriors have struggled, with their only win coming in round three while losing two games either side of this. This match marks a significant opportunity to break this streak and take down a serious contender. If they are to do this, Emily Winter will need to be at her very best, and if you’ve seen her best, you’ll know it will go a long way in the Warriors’ chances. The Panthers have had a much better start to the season, with their only loss coming in round three and winning two games either side of this. They look a strong chance to take out this game with their current form.


These two sides should make for an entertaining clash as the Warriors and the Panthers go head-to-head on Saturday night. The Warriors have worked their way to a 4-1 record in the first five rounds and despite the disappointing round four loss, have looked impressive. Luke Stanbridge had a fantastic game last round with 30 points and could once again be the hot hand for his side. The Panthers have found themselves with a 3-2 record from five games, making this a crucial result to have go their way. 4-2 looks a lot better than 3-3, and a victory would move them up the ladder with the contenders.

North Adelaide Rockets v Central Districts Lions


The North Adelaide Rockets will host the Central Districts Lions at The Lights Community and Sports Centre on Saturday evening in the final game of the round for the women’s competition. The Lions have been underwhelming this season, still searching for their first win and consistently putting up low scores. The longer the season goes on, the bigger their hunger gets for a win, so this could be the drought breaker. The Rockets have showed strong signs in patches, but have ultimately been inconsistent, recording two wins and three losses on the season and not recording the same result two weeks in a row. They enter the clash as the favourites against a struggling Lions side, and with Taylor Ortlepp’s offensive ability, they could easily get their season back on track here.


This game is awfully important for both sides, as both the Rockets and the Lions will enter the match out of form on Saturday night, but for one team, the suffering will be over. The Rockets are yet to register a victory this year after five rounds, but don’t look too far off the mark. If they can remain competitive for all four quarters and if Jimma Dau can have a strong game, they will be on their way to a win. The Lions won their first game of the season, but have not backed it up with another, and currently sit on a four-game losing streak. They have their best opportunity here against the Rockets, and keep an eye out for Lual Diing, who has had a fantastic start to his 2021 campaign.

Picture credit: Kelly Barnes/AllStar Photos

NBL1 Central Wrap: Strong outings across the league

NBL1 Central resumed to its typical format over the weekend after a jam-packed ANZAC weekend. There were plenty of strong individual performances and convincing team wins.

Norwood Flames v Eastern Mavericks


A 25-8 second term set up a strong team win for the Flames as they eventually took down the Mavericks by 15 points on Saturday night. Norwood’s Bride Kennedy-Hopoate was the star for her side as she poured in 31 points and eight rebounds in a dominant display and her best game of the year. For the Eastern Mavericks, Mollie McKendrick continued her red-hot form with 24 points and 17 rebounds in a valiant display despite the final result for her side.


The Eastern Mavericks’ losing streak continues, falling to an impressive Norwood Flames side by 21 points at the ARC Campbelltown on Saturday night. Despite strong first and third terms, the Mavericks could not contain the Flames offensive during the remaining two periods, and their lack of defence cost them a shot at the win. For the Flames, CJ Turnage was excellent with 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists in a performance that displayed his ability to do it all for his side. For the Mavericks, Nathaniel Koko worked hard to get the offence rolling all day.

Sturt Sabres v North Adelaide Rockets


The Sturt Sabres have continued their strong form over last four games, defeating the inconsistent North Adelaide Rockets by 26 points at Springbank Secondary College on Saturday night. The Rockets were within reach for the first three quarters, but the 22-8 final quarter nailed the door shut as they were blown out of the water by a strong Sabres side. For the winners, Jade Johnson led all scorers with 18 points and four three-pointers. For the Rockets, Taylor Ortlepp was as dangerous as ever, finishing with 19 points, while teammate Jess Good had a double-double with 11 points and 16 rebounds.


The Sturt Sabres are yet to lose a game this season, rolling through the North Adelaide Rockets 78-58 on Saturday night to claim their fifth win in as many games. The Sabres broke away in the second term and never looked back on their way to the 20-point win. Sabre Sam Daly stuffed the stat sheet with 21 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists, finishing agonisingly close to a triple-double, but he would be just as happy with the win. For the Rockets, Jimma Dau’s 17 points topped the scorers sheet.

Woodville Warriors v Forrestville Eagles


Dominant patches of play in the first and fourth terms saw the Eagles take down the Warriors by a strong 30-point margin at St Clair Recreation Centre on Saturday night. Following the Eagles gaining a 14-point lead in the first term, the game tightened up for the next two quarters, before a final term that was reminiscent of the first. For the Eagles, Samantha Simons and Cara Annetts combined for 51 points in a fantastic scoring display, while Emily Winter led all scorers for the Warriors with 14 on the night.


The Warriors have pulled off one of the greatest comebacks of the NBL1 season, outscoring their opponents by 17 points in the final term to steal a four-point win against the Eagles in dramatic fashion. A clutch Luke Stanbridge triple gave the Warriors the lead with under a minute to go, and they sunk the necessary free throws to seal the unlikely win. Stanbridge was the hero for the winners, with 30 points to go with his game winner, including five three-pointers in a remarkable display of shooting. For the Eagles, Jake Rios ended with 24 points and was impressive all game.

Central Districts Lions v Southern Tigers


In the biggest margin of the round, the Tigers demolished the struggling Lions to the tune of 86 points at the STARplex on Saturday night. The Tigers were ruthless, beginning the game in dominant fashion, outscoring the Lions 29-0 in the first quarter, and the Lions never realistically looked competitive against their opponents. Teige Morell led the way for the Tigers, finishing the game with 26 points on an insane 11/12 from the field. This exceptional display was reminiscent of what happened between the sides during the entire match.


The Southern Tigers got the job done against the Lions on Saturday night, outscoring their opponents by 10 in the final quarter to take the final margin to an 11-point win. The Lions looked dangerously close to snapping their losing streak with an upset, but the Southern Tigers backed in their stars and their system and both paid dividends. For the Tigers, Machar Machar and Cameron Coleman combined for 55 points in a classic display of offensive tandem as they drove their side to victory. For the Lions, Lual Diing was as impressive as ever with his 23 points, continuing his strong form.

West Adelaide v South Adelaide


South Adelaide did as expected, and convincingly beat the West Adelaide Bearcats by 14 points at Port Adelaide Recreation Centre on Sunday afternoon. The second term broke the game open with South Adelaide outscoring their opponents by 12, but the rest of the game remained even as the Bearcats remained competitive but couldn’t make up any ground. Jennie Rintala was the best performer for South Adelaide with 27 points and 10 rebounds, while Olivia Thompson’s 29 points and 10 rebounds stood out for West Adelaide.


The South Adelaide Panthers were good enough to get the job done against the West Adelaide Bearcats, finishing with a 12-point triumph on Sunday afternoon. Despite the Bearcats matching them in patches, the Panthers put the foot down when required, and put the game out of reach early in the last quarter. For the Panthers, Alex Starling was a monster on the glass, finishing with 13 points and 17 rebounds in a dominant outing. For the Bearcats, Earnest Ross’s 20 points was crucial for keeping the side within reach.

Picture credit: Ryan Rintala

NBL1 Central: Round 5 Preview

FOLLOWING two rounds in the span of one weekend, the NBL1 Central division returns to its usual structure this weekend, and fans can look forward to an exciting weekend of high-quality basketball as the league begins its fifth round.

Norwood Flames v Eastern Mavericks


This game will prove vital for both sides, as these two teams are both desperate for a win. The Flames have only won one game this season and the Mavericks are yet to register a victory. The winner of this matchup should use this as a turning point to get their season back on track. The Flames will be looking for Alex Wilson to once again ignite the offence, fresh off a 15-point performance in a game where her side could not find the bottom of the net. The Mavericks are in the midst of a shooting slump, but if they can snap this, they may finally find themselves on the winners list. Maverick Mollie McKendrick has been consistent all year, so she will prove key in driving her team to victory with her ability to score freely.


The Flames escaped with the narrowest of victories against the Panthers in Round 4, but a win is a win, and they’ll be looking to start a streak with a win against the Mavericks. This Mavericks side has struggled all year, to the point where they have started the year 0-4 to find themselves on the bottom of the ladder. They have found various avenues of scoring such as Nathaniel Koko and Lachlan Knibbs, but their inability to defend has cost them. They have given up 389 points in four games, which will not win you many games. They will also have their hands full slowing down CJ Turnage who has proven his ability to score time and time again. The Mavericks face a tough task, but stranger things have happened.

Sturt Sabres v North Adelaide Rockets


The Sabres are on a nice winning streak at the moment. They’ve won their last three games and have placed themselves quite nicely in third place. The Rockets are hot on their tail with two wins and two losses, and an upset here could see them close that gap even further. Consistency has let the Rockets down, as they haven’t won two games in a row this year. They have a nice opportunity to do that this weekend, and if they want to achieve this goal, they’ll need Taylor Ortlepp to continue her form of late. Ortlepp had 24 points and 15 rebounds last weekend and acts as a barometer for the team. The Sabres have scoring power of their own in Kylee Smith and Lauren Gibbons, so expect a high scoring match.


Sturt’s men’s side is in some serious form at the moment, having not dropped a game so far this season. Four wins and zero losses after four rounds is about as good as it gets, but heavy is the head that wears the crown. The Sabres have found themselves hunted by the other sides, and the Rockets will be eager to be the side that breaks their streak. Fresh off a nice win against the Bearcats in Round 4, the Rockets will have their tails up, and have plenty of faith in themselves to cause an upset here. They’ll need Verle Williams provide a similar effort to last week (28 points). The Sabres may be in form, but the Rockets are just as hungry.

Woodville Warriors v Forrestville Eagles


The Warriors face a tough task here, if they want to leave St Clair Recreation Centre with a win, they’ll have to do what four teams haven’t been able to do this year and take down an Eagles side that is full of confidence. The Warriors haven’t been quite as good this year, only winning one of their first four games and were fairly embarrassed by the Sabres last week. The Eagles will likely prove too good in this match, but the beauty of sport is that anything can happen. One advantage the Warriors do have is in the form of Emily Winter, who has had as good a start to the 2021 season as anyone, emphasised by her 24-point, 22-rebound performance last round. Her hard work deserves reward, and a win against one of the best sides in the league would be the best reward possible.


This contest is shaping up to be a fantastic battle. These sides are extremely hard to split on paper with both sides 3-1 after four rounds and capable of playing fast paced, high scoring basketball. The Warriors took the Sabres to the very end of the game, falling by seven points in the end in a valiant effort. This loss will not only motivate them going forward but it also showed that they can match it with the best. The Eagles did enough to get past the Lions, walking away with an eight-point win to move up the ladder. It will be an enthralling duel between Warrior Joe Jackson and Eagle Gregory Mays. With both players in great form, keep an eye on this battle-within-the-battle.

Central District Lions v Southern Tigers


These two sides have had contrasting season in terms of success. The Tigers have been the best side in the league after four rounds of action and have looked a class above their peers on a weekly basis. This side is stacked with confidence and rightfully so and will take some serious beating. On the other hand, the Lions have struggled to start the 2021 season, failing to win a game and finding themselves on the bottom of the ladder. This match up seems a near impossible task, especially with Teige Morrell in form. Morrell dropped 24 points and 14 rebounds last week in an excellent display, and she should prove difficult to guard again.


Leading into this game, the Tigers have found some nice form. Winning their last two matches, the side will be quietly confident of making it three in a row, especially after last week’s comfortable win over the Mavericks. The situation isn’t as positive for the Lions, who have lost three in a row after winning their first game of the year, but don’t rule them out just yet. Their final quarter rally against the Eagles last week showed this team still has some fight, even if it didn’t secure them the win. Another positive from this match was the performance of David Humphries, who poured in 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. He will be crucial in his team’s chances to compete with this red hot Tigers team.

West Adelaide Bearcats v South Adelaide Panthers


The final matchup of the round is a Sunday battle between two sides who are in similar places after four rounds. The Bearcats fought all game to try and steal a win from the Rockets last round in a game they probably should have won. The Bearcats shot better from the field than their opponents, but undisciplined defence cost them the game, with the Rockets shooting 17 more free throws, a crucial stat in a game decided by seven points. This will drive the Bearcat players and expect them to come into this round’s match fired up. Meanwhile, the Panthers are on a high after taking care of the Flames in convincing fashion. With Ashley Spencer pouring in points (22 points in Round 4) and Olivia Thompson controlling the boards (16 rebounds in Round 4), the Panthers will be hard to stop.


Round 4 brought heartbreak for the Panthers, as they fell just a solitary point short of stealing a game from the Flames, but it wasn’t meant to be. They shot a fantastic 44 percent from the field and were unlucky to face a team that ended up shooting 50 percent from the field. This also demonstrates a need for their defence to tighten up, a key point that was likely addressed during preparation for this week. Alex Starling put in one of the best individual performances of the round in the loss, finishing with 30 points, 16 rebounds and four steals, so keep an eye on her this week. The Bearcats were soundly beaten by the Rockets last round and will need to improve if they are to compete this weekend against the Panthers. Facing a Rockets side that had not yet won a game, the Bearcats simply didn’t show up as they needed to and will be eager to rectify this with a Round 5 win. Expect both sides to come out hungry for redemption.

NBL1 Central Round 3 Preview: Redemption and momentum the stories this week

THE National Basketball League (NBL)1 Central division is already two weeks into the season, and the games are starting to heat up. With plenty of close contests last weekend, the hype for the third round of action couldn’t be more real.

Forrestville Eagles v North Adelaide Rockets


The Forrestville Eagles are currently 2-0 for the season following last week’s nail-biting victory over the Norwood Flames. The Eagles escaped with a three point win, and will be hoping to make the margin a bit bigger against the Rockets. Samantha Simons will be crucial to her side’s success, and if she can produce a performance close to her effort last week – which involved 19 points, 12 rebounds and five assists – the Rockets will be in trouble. North Adelaide walked away with a comfortable 31-point win over the Woodville Warriors and will be taking plenty of confidence into this matchup. Will the duo of Taylor Ortlepp and Sam Defrancesco prove too much for the Eagles? They will play an important role in posting a winning score.


The men’s Forrestville side was not so lucky last week, as they fell to the Flames by seven points last Saturday night. Despite setting themselves up with a strong first quarter, outscoring their opponents by nine, the Eagles were not able to hold the lead or complete the last quarter comeback. They will need to improve both areas in order to win this match. Eagle Michael Harris is in hot form after a 35-point performance last week and will be one to watch in this match. The Rockets have had a rough start to the year, yet to grab their first win, and copping a 34-point loss last round at the hands of the Warriors. The scoring issue was as clear as day, with no definitive first option against Woodville. Jimma Nau top scored for his team last week and will need to put the team on his shoulders offensively if they are to compete against the Eagles.

West Adelaide Bearcats v Norwood Flames


Both teams coming off a loss last week, the loser of this match will have plenty to ponder as they slide down the ladder. The Bearcats fell by six points to the red hot Southern Tigers, and will need to improve on last week’s performance if they are to conjure a win. Sky Lamgenbrinck has been her side’s best performer two weeks in a row, so it will be interesting if the Flames put any extra work into her defensively, or if she will once again be given free rein. The Flames fell in similar fashion last week, by a mere three points to the Eagles. Keep an eye on Alex Wilson who chimed in a 20-point triple double in Round 2 and will be about the play again.


The Bearcats kicked off their season last week in proper fashion, bouncing back from a Round 1 loss to triumph over the Southern Tigers by eight points on Saturday night. The side poured in a much stronger performance than their first match, and will be riding the momentum into this game. Fabian Johnson and Earnest Ross led from the front and combined for 45 points last week, and should prove difficult to shut down. The Flames also got their first win of 2021, with an impressive victory over the Eagles. They will once again be looking for CJ Turnage to ignite the offence after his 37-point performance on Saturday.

South Adelaide Panthers v Southern Tigers


In the most exciting clash of the round, two undefeated sides will go head to head in what will surely be an entertaining battle. The Panthers backed up their Round 1 win with a dominant 28-point victory over the Mavericks in Round 2. The Panthers have so many avenues for scoring which is what makes them one of the biggest threats in the competition. Olivia Thompson’s 27 point and 17 rebound performance in the win puts her at the top of the list of players to watch. The Tigers’ Round 2 win was less convincing – only six points over the Bearcats – but a win nonetheless. Their defence will have to be executing well all game if they are a chance to stop the Panthers. Morgan Yaeger was strong for the Tigers last week and should contribute again this week.


Once again, the Panthers proved too good for their Round 2 opponents, knocking down the Mavericks by 23 points in their second win of the year. The similarities between the club’s two sides are clear, they both have a number of scorers on their time, making them extremely difficult to shut down offensively. Last week it was Todd Davies, and it could be him again this week, but it also could be five other players. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they haven’t started the season as well, still searching for their first win. Their scoring in the loss to Bearcats was not an issue, with Koop McCalop and Nick Wurm combining for 46 points, but their defence cost them, unable to stop their opponents. This will need to improve if they are to stop the high-scoring Panthers.

Sturt Sabres v Eastern Mavericks


The Eastern Mavericks will be heading into this game looking for an all-important first victory, but Sturt had quite the win last week – so big it nearly makes them the form team of the competition. Defeating the Lions by a whopping 95 points in Round 2, Sturt were absolutely ruthless against their opponents, and could defeat any team in the league if they play like that. Led magnificently by Jade Johnson with 38 points and eight three-pointers, their offence was near perfect, and looked ominous to other teams. Meanwhile, the Mavericks have looked a step off it this season, and will need improvements all around if they are to stop this Sabres train.


The Sabres haven’t put a foot wrong this season, starting the season 2-0 and delivering a convincing 17-point victory over the Lions last round. Sam Daly has started the season in great form, consistently finding ways to score and should do no less in this matchup. The Mavericks disappointed against the Panthers last week, and face a tough task stopping the Sabres this week. They do have the tools with potential to cause an upset. Their offence has shown great signs of flow in the opening two matches, and if Nathaniel Koko becomes slightly more aggressive with the ball, it will go a long way to securing an unexpected victory.

Woodville Warriors v Central Districts Lions


It’s a fight for a first win, as both sides look to improve from their 0-2 start to the 2021 season. 1-2 sounds a lot different to 0-3, so the stakes in this game are higher than it may look. The Warriors have shown glimpses of high quality basketball, but their issue comes in not being able to string together a four quarter performance. Emily Winter has been in remarkable form with 18 points and 20 rebounds last week, but hasn’t got the support required for victory to match it. This weekend is the opportunity they have been waiting for, as they face a side that is in even less form. The Lions’ 95-point defeat at the hands of the Sabres in Round 2 was a shock to many, but most of all the Lions themselves. The team would be significantly disappointed in their start to the season, not even looking in the contest over the first two games. Some serious improvement is needed if they are to notch their first win, but stranger things have happened.


The Warriors had an excellent week in Round 2, defeating the Rockets by 34 points in a textbook performance. Woodville grabbed control in the first quarter and never let go, constantly harassing their opponents on the defensive end and creating shots for themselves on the offensive end. Joe Jackson and Julian Jacobs both had strong outings in this match, and should be looking to back it up this weekend. The Lions couldn’t back up their Round 1 victory with a win over the Sabres in Round 2, but it isn’t all doom and gloom. Lual Diing continued his strong start to the season and they started the game well. They can be quietly confident heading into this clash, despite the underdog tag. Expect a close battle.

2021 NBL1 Central: Round 2 – Review

IT was a good round for Sturt Sabres in the NBL1 Central with the side clinching strong wins in both the men’s and women’s while South Adelaide Panthers also impressed. It was a mixed bag of results with both leagues seeing some close calls and some huge blowouts as the teams continue to blow off the cobwebs two weeks in.


Norwood Flames (90) defeated Forestville Eagles (83)

Norwood Flames notched up their first win of the season, getting over the top of the Eagles by seven points in a game filled with twists and turns. The Eagles claimed the ascendancy early creating a nine point buffer and extended it to 11 at half time before Norwood flipped the script in the second half. A strong third quarter boasting 28 points to 16 was the real game changer, pushing Forestville onto the back foot, and they just could not recover. CJ Turnage was the main instigator for the Flames sinking an impressive 37 points at 60 per cent while also reeling in nine rebounds and two steals. Daniel Webber made a splash with 14 points as Matt Lycett contributed 12 to the winning total. For the Eagles it came down to the performance of two key players in Michael Harris and Jake Rios. Harris dominated with 35 points and eight rebounds as Rios secured 17 points and three assists in the narrow loss.

Eastern Mavericks (82) defeated South Adelaide Panthers (105)

The Panthers notched up their second win of the season, convincingly downing the Mavericks by 23 points credit to a dominant first and last quarter. Both sides proved to have no issue finding the rim but could not sustain that level of scoring intensity for a full four quarters with the Panthers getting well beaten in the second (34-24) but able to bounce back in the second half to restore the winning margin. Nathaniel Koko led the way with 20 points as Rigby Aktanarowic chimed in with a handy 18 points and six rebounds. Jordan Robertson was the other one able to have an influence sinking 15 points. For the Panthers it is hard to go past the services of Todd Davies who topscored with 25 points while Codey Ellison had a game to remember thanks to his 15 points and 19 rebounds. Jarryd Hoppo and Kristian Ciabattoni were other main facilitators for South Adelaide.

Southern Tigers (88) defeated by West Adelaide Bearcats (96)

The battle between the Bearcats and Tigers caused plenty of intrigue with only eight points separating them at the final break and going in the favour of the latter. It was the Bearcats’ first win of the season, leaving the Tigers ruing missed opportunities. Full player statistics and quarter scores are yet to be released at time of publish.

Central District Lions (70) defeated by Sturt Sabres (87)

Sturt Sabres kept the good times rolling producing another win while the Lions fell short by 17 points. Holding the lead heading into the first break, the Sabres worked in overdrive to reverse their fate and get back within striking distance in which they did. But their best efforts came in the third as the minimised the impact of the Lions keeping them to 10 points as they piled on 22 of their own. Lual Diing was a strong performer for Central District finishing with 18 points and five rebounds to his name with Magok Manyang also notching up 18 points of his own. Jordan Centenera was also handy with 12 points at 63 per cent from the field. Sam Daly was impressive for the Sabres sinking 18 points as Joel Spear and Jack Turnbull also got busy to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Keanu Rasmussen made his presence felt with a 17 point, five rebound and two steal performance.

North Adelaide Rockets (61) defeated by Woodville Warriors (95)

The Rockets remain winless after two rounds as the Warriors handed them a 34-point loss, credit to their class across the court and defensive pressure to repeatedly shut down their attacking forays. The Warriors led every step of the way, outscoring their opponents in each quarter and steadily building on their momentum through the likes of Luke Stanbridge (25 points and three rebounds) and Julian Jacobs (18 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists). They were ably assisted by the likes of Joe Jackson who managed 18 points and 12 rebounds of his own in the win. Jimma Dau was the most proficient for the Rockets nailing 13 points at a lowly 29 per cent from the field while Tobias Dowdell was hot on his tail with 12 points and 10 rebounds.



Norwood Flames (65) defeated by Forestville Eagles (68)

The game went down to the wire as the Eagles just snuck home against the Flames to secure a hard-fought three-point win. Bursting out of the gates in the first quarter the Eagles were forced to play catchup against Norwood and did just that with a scintillating third term proving to be the game changer. Slotting 22 points to 12, Forestville did enough to get back into the contest and maintain that level of momentum for the remainder of the game. Star recruit Alex Wilson was impressive for the Flames recording a triple double thanks to her 21 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Genna Anderson was handy with 15 points and 11 rebounds as Paige Kennihan made her presence felt thanks to her 15 points. Samantha Simons was the lead scorer for the victors contributing 19 points and 12 rebounds. In her 37 minutes on court Jordyn Freer sunk 17 points while Aimee Brett was influential with her 12 points and seven rebounds.

Eastern Mavericks (75) defeated by South Adelaide Panthers (103)

South Adelaide Panthers made it two wins straight to remain undefeated while the Mavericks are yet to register a win so far this season. The Panthers put in the hard yards from the opening buzzer and did not let up throughout the game winning every quarter and pressing hard defensively to nullify the influence of the Mavericks. Four players from South Adelaide made it out of single digits as Olivia Thompson dominated with a game-high 27 points in her 25 minutes on court. It did not stop there for Thompson who also reeled in 17 rebounds, 13 of which were defensive. Ashley Spencer complemented her with 19 points as Teresa McGreehan sunk 15 points in her 20 minutes. Hannah Stewart was the other able to effectively hit the scoreboard producing 14 points. Mollie McKendrick was the key cog for the Mavericks draining 21 points at 50 per cent from the field to accompany her 12 boards as Chloe Dumesny and Kedeisha Kartinyeri slotted 17 points apiece.

Southern Tigers (60) defeated West Adelaide Bearcats (54)

The Tigers did just enough to get over the line against West Adelaide securing a six-point win. A fast start set them up nicely for the game but panic started to set in throughout the second term as the Bearcats put the clamps on, shutting down the Tigers’ rhythm in attack and limiting them to a mere nine points for the half. But despite their best efforts the damage had already been done with Morgan Yaeger sinking 14 points for the winners. Teige Morrell and Jemma Thacker were other key contributors, while Sky Langenbrinck impacted the play with her nine points as Jennie Rintala got busy with her seven.

Central District Lions (39) defeated by Sturt Sabres (134)

It was a one-sided affair with Sturt Sabres holding no prisoners and making an absolute meal of Central District Lions despite their best efforts. They simply had no answers for the Sabres who exposed them on every front and flexed their muscles in offence to pile on 134 points while keeping their opponents to a mere 39 for the game. The Sabres best quarter was the fourth and while it was not their most proficient managing 33 points as opposed to the 38 they scored in the opening they limited the Lions to a mere four. Madelyn Curry led all comers with nine points with Meaza Otto and Casey Banwell hot on her heels for Central District producing seven points apiece. Samantha Kennett was handy both on the points scoring and rebounding front with six and six respectively. Jade Johnson seemed to bring her own ball to the game sinking a game-high 38 points at an impressive 79 per cent while teammate Kylee Smith was a livewire draining 25 points along with seven rebounds and six steals. Other considerable efforts from Meg Prosser, Jasmine Rigoni and Lauren Gibbons proved enough to get the side over the line.

North Adelaide Rockets (96) defeated Woodville Warriors (65)

North Adelaide Rockets made light work of Woodville Warriors claiming a 31-point win to hold onto to their undefeated mantle. Hitting the scoreboard with a sense of urgency in the opening term thanks to a 28-point to 12 term, the Rockets had the upper hand heading into the first change and maintained that dominance throughout. Their highest scoring quarter came in the last where they really put the nail in the coffin. Taylor Ortlepp, Rachel Mate and Sam Defrancesco proved that 20 was the magic number as they all recorded 20 points apiece in the win. Jess Good was the other livewire reeling in a staggering 22 rebounds. Emily Winter and Chloe Purvis both contributed 18 points to the Warriors’ total, as Winter dominated off the boards with 20 rebounds.

2021 NBL1 Central: Round 2 preview

NBL1 Central opened its 2021 season last weekend, with plenty of entertaining clashes across both the men’s and women’s leagues. Expect plenty more of that this weekend with Round 2 delivering some exciting matchups.

Norwood Flames v Forestville Eagles


These two teams started their seasons in very different fashion last weekend. The Flames couldn’t get past the Warriors, eventually defeated by 15 points after a disappointing second half fadeout. The Eagles had a much better performance, blowing out the Mavericks by 27 points, with the result never in doubt. This result is no certainty, with high-volume scorers on both teams keeping the result up in the air. Eagle Michael Harris had 37 points to go with nine rebounds and seven assists. The Flames will have to keep a close check on him to make sure he doesn’t catch fire from behind the arc again. He was one of three scorers for the Eagles with 19 or more points, showcasing their scoring depth. There are plenty of guys on this team who can have a 30-point night, and the Flames will have to prepare their best defensive plans to limit this. The Flames also have scoring options, albeit not as many. CJ Turnage had 36 points against the Warriors last week along with six steals. If the Eagles can curb his influence, it will go a long way towards winning the match.


Both of these sides came away with a Round 1 victory but had slightly different margins. Much like the results in the men’s league, the Eagles would be much more satisfied with their performance, producing a 24 point win to start the season in ideal fashion. The Flames also started their season 1-0, but it came in the form of just a four-point win thanks to a fourth quarter comeback. It will be interesting to see where each team is at and how much they have taken out of last week’s results. Can Genna Anderson continue her strong start to the season after last round’s 26-point, 11-rebound performance? She will be well aided by teammates Paige Kennihan and Georgie Garrard. The Eagles will be looking to replicate their strong shooting performance as a team that treated them so well last week, with Samantha Simons one to watch after her 18 points and 13 rebounds to start the season.


Eastern Mavericks v South Adelaide Panthers


The South Adelaide Panthers put on a strong showing against North Adelaide, cruising their way to a 21-point win to begin their 2021 campaign. The Eastern Mavericks were disappointed in their first outing for the season, convincingly beaten by the Eagles and will be desperate for a response this week. Looking at last week’s game, it’s easy to see that the Panthers were not carried by an individual scorer, instead they had five double-digit scorers. The Mavericks will be keen to keep Alex Starling quiet after his dominant display, posting 20 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists and eight steals. This may prove to be a difficult task as Starling has shown he can influence the game in a variety of ways. The Mavericks will also be looking to get Nathaniel Koko involved in the offence again after his 23 points in last weekend’s loss.


The Mavericks can only improve after last week’s disappointing display, finding themselves on the end of a 24-point blowout at the hands of the Eagles. They failed to register a double digit score in two separate quarters and just couldn’t get their offence flowing against a spirited Eagles team. Mollie McKendrick tried all day to lift her side’s scoring output, so expect her to do something similar this week. Kedeisha Kartinyeri will be eager to improve after a quiet game last week, and she certainly is capable. The Panthers announced themselves as a threat to the league with a solid 21-point win over the Rockets. Ashley Spencer and Olivia Thompson combined for 64 points, nearly outscoring the opposition team themselves. Expect to see the ball in their hands again this week.


Southern Tigers v West Adelaide Bearcats


Both teams started the season in very similar fashion, losing by quite small margins. The Tigers couldn’t capitalise on a strong opening quarter, giving up their lead over the next three quarters, and losing to the Sabres by eight points. The Bearcats couldn’t quite complete the final quarter comeback and ended up being defeated by the Lions by seven points. It’s obvious the Tigers will need to tighten up on dangerous Bearcats duo Bryan Michaels (28 points) and Earnest Ross (21 points) if they are any chance to stop their offence. The Bearcats should consider doing the same with Tiger Cameron Coleman after his team-high 24 points last week.


The Bearcats couldn’t have started the season any better, embarrassing the Lions by a mammoth 64 points in what was nearly a flawless game. They shot 44 per cent from the field and simply could not be stopped. The Tigers held on against the Sabres to run out eight-point winners in what was a mature performance. In the final stages of the game, they never let their opponents get the open looks they wanted. They will have to be better if they want to take down this Bearcats side. A promising sign for the Tigers heading into this clash is that they had three scorers finish with over 15 points. Their offence can come from plenty of places, but their defence will have to be nearly impenetrable. Sky Langenbrinck and Jennie Rintala were deadly for the Bearcats on the offensive end, and will be aiming for similar outputs this week.


Central Districts Lions v Sturt Sabres


The Lions started the season with not the most convincing of wins, but a win nonetheless. They withstood a final quarter charge from the Bearcats to hold on as seven point wins. Expect Lual Diing to prove a threat to opposition defenders again this week, coming off a 27-point, 15-rebound performance. The Lions had plenty to take out of last week’s match and prepare for the coaches to make some adjustments for a more comfortable win. They face off against the Sabres, who had a close win of their own, beating the Tigers by eight points in a tight clash. Shooting 45 per cent from the field, the Sabres had four players in double digits. If they can spread the scoring again, they will prove hard to beat.


The Lions had a nightmare first round, conceding the biggest margin across the league (64 points) and only contributing 32 points themselves. They will be desperate to improve, and hopefully move themselves to the winners list. Shooting practice would have been on the agenda at training this week, as they shot only 25 per cent from the field. They also only had one scorer reach 10 points in April Rummery Lumb and only had three assists as a team. In their path this week are the Sabres, who suffered an awfully close loss to the Tigers, eventually defeated by eight points. They didn’t play bad by any means, but their shooting let them down. Only 36 per cent accuracy as a team is a fair indicator that a win is not on the horizon. They still put up 72 points, which is more than enough to put away the Lions team that showed up last week. For the Sabres, it simply a question of if that team will show up again, or if they will put up a fight.


North Adelaide Rockets v Woodville Warriors


The Rockets stumbled in their season opener, allowing the Panthers to run away with a 21-point win, and with plenty to review. They won two of the four quarters, but the two they lost were simply too much, conceding 64 points in those two periods. If they can maintain some consistency in their performance, they could compete with the best. Verle Williams will likely attract the eye of the defence, finishing with 33 points in the season opener. If he is shut down, expect Tobias Dowdell to be an offensive focus. The Warriors simply got the job done against the Flames in Round 1, with four scorers ending the game with 13 points or more, and the result was never in doubt as they showcased an impressive display of ball movement that is sure to make an appearance against the Rockets. They finished with 26 assists overall, and if they can move the ball as well as they did against the Flames, the Rockets defence will struggle to keep up. Keep an eye out for Joe Jackson on the boards, after pulling down 20 against the Flames.


Eerily similar to their men’s side, the Rockets were dismantled by the Panthers, with the margin ending as a 22-point loss. If they don’t want a repeat of this, they will need to improve their ability to hold on to the ball. 23 turnovers as a team did a lot of the damage, as they constantly found themselves on the back foot. They have offensive weapons in Taylor Ortlepp and Sam Defrancesco who will be crucial in the result of the game. They take on a Warriors side who will still be hurting from a four-point loss at the hands of the Flames. There would have been a lot of focus on their ability to hold onto a lead, after a final quarter fadeout cost them the game. There is no doubt this will inspire the likes of Emily Winter and Chloe Purvis, who performed well, but will be hungry to get back on the winners list. Expect a tense battle.

2021 NBL1 Central: Round 1 wrap

THE 2021 NBL1 season has kicked off proceedings for 2021 in the Central Division and it was full of exciting action all over the competition. There were nail-biters, blowouts, and plenty of outstanding individual performances. Plenty of teams found a lot to take away from this weekend’s basketball activity across both the women’s and men’s leagues.


South Adelaide Panthers (87) def. North Adelaide Rockets (66)

The South Adelaide Panthers kicked off their season in style with a comfortable 21-point win over crosstown opponents North Adelaide Rockets, thanks to a strong last quarter. The first half belonged to the Rockets, as they took a six-point lead into the half time break. The Panthers had work to do if they were going to get back into this game, and they did exactly that. An initial nine-point difference in the third quarter saw the Panthers take a slim three-point lead into the final break, before the game was blown open in the last. A 27-9 final term sealed the deal as South Adelaide ended up cruising to a comfortable win after a strong turnaround.

For the Panthers, the duo of Olivia Thompson and Ashley Spencer proved too strong for North Adelaide with both finishing above 30 points for the game. Thompson was outstanding, finishing with 31 points, 16 rebounds (seven offensive) and six assists in a dominant performance. Spencer was just ahead with 33 points and six rebounds on 69 per cent field goal (FG). The duo were a major reason for the Panthers fightback and could not have started the season any better. For the Rockets, Taylor Ortlepp worked all game to maintain her side’s lead, finishing with 19 points and five rebounds, while Sam Defrancesco’s 13 points also impressed.

Forestville Eagles (70) def. Eastern Mavericks (46)

The Eagles will be pleased with their start to this season following Saturday’s 24-point win, while the Mavericks have plenty to improve on in order to compete with the best. Winning every quarter, Forestville never gave their opponents an easy look, staying disciplined and finishing the job right up to the final buzzer. Following a slow first quarter, where there were a combined 16 points scored, the Eagles took an eight-point lead into half time, before a one sided third quarter all but sealed the result. The 13-point differential in the third quarter saw Forestville fire on all cylinders and cruise to a comfortable victory.

Samantha Simons was the strongest performer for the victors, ending the game with 18 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and four steals in an exceptional game on both ends of the court. She was well aided by teammates Cara Annetts (12 points and seven rebounds) and Brooke Basham (10 points and nine rebounds). For the Panthers, there was only one double digit scorer in Mollie McKendrick who fought her way to 11 points and nine rebounds despite minimal help.

Southern Tigers (61) def. Sturt Sabres (53)

An efficient shooting performance from the Southern Tigers saw them take down the Sturt Sabres by eight points on Saturday night. The Tigers shot 50 per cent from the field and 58 per cent from three-point territory, making it awfully hard for the Sabres to keep up. The first quarter opened the game with scoring galore, with the sides combining for 37 points. This would not last but the Tigers kept their ascendancy over their opponents for the remaining three quarters. It was extremely unlikely that the Sabres would be able to match the fantastic shooting of their opponents, but they still put up a strong fight to reduce the margin in the final term.

The victors were led strongly by Jemma Thacker as she poured on 16 points and five rebounds at 71 per cent shooting. Her efficiency was reflective of the rest of her side as they moved the ball to give themselves the best possible look at a good shot. Teammate Morgan Yaeger’s 12 points and four assists also impressed. For the Sabres, Nicola Matthews fought all night to drag her team back into the game. She finished the match with 18 points (67 per cent FG), five rebounds and a notable five steals in a performance that stood out despite a disappointing night for her side.

West Adelaide Bearcats (96) def. Central Districts Lions (32)

The Bearcats sent a message to the rest of the competition with their 64-point thrashing of a disappointing Lions side. The writing was on the wall after a 30-2 first term with West Adelaide starting the game on an 18-0 run as Central Districts could not buy a basket. While it never got as one sided for the remaining three quarters, the result was never in doubt as the Bearcats continued to increase the margin to take the biggest win of the round.

Bearcats Sky Langenbrick and Jennie Rintala set the tone for their side, finishing with 25 and 23 points respectively on extremely efficient shooting. There were contributors all over the court for this side, demonstrated by their 96 points coming with only two double-digit scorers. There were not many impressive performers for the Lions in this convincing loss, with April Rummery Lumb the leading performer with 10 points and eight rebounds.

Woodville Warriors (75) def by. Norwood Flames (79)

In the closest game for the round, the Flames escaped with a four-point victory over the Warriors, credit to a strong last quarter. The lead went back and forth all game in extremely entertaining basketball action. The game was all square after the first term, with the Warriors taking slim leads into the third and fourth quarters. The Flames would gain the lead midway through the last term, but their opponents did not give up, and the game was not decided until the final 10 seconds were counting down. The seesawing affair could have gone either way, and Norwood will be thrilled to walk away with the win.

Norwood’s win was inspired by the marvellous performance of Genna Anderson who dropped 26 points, 11 rebounds (seven offensive boards), two steals and two blocks. Anderson also finished the game with her side’s final field goal to put them in a winning position. Paige Kennihan (17 points) and Georgie Garrard (13 points and 11 rebounds) were also impressive for the victors. Woodville’s Emily Winter delivered arguably the strongest individual performance of the game, with 28 points and 13 rebounds as she did all she could to drag her side over the line. She received handy assistance from teammate Chloe Purvis who poured in 17 points of her own.



Forestville Eagles (104) def. Eastern Mavericks (77)

The NBL1 Men’s competition kicked off with a clinical performance from the Eagles as they took down the Mavericks by 27 points on Saturday night. A nine-point lead at the end of the first quarter would prove to be the writing on the wall as Forestville went on to win all quarters and never let their opponents get even a sliver of a comeback. With strong performers all over the court, the Eagles began their 2021 campaign in style and will be looking to carry the momentum into next week’s match, while the Mavericks would have found plenty to improve on.

The standout performer was clearly Forestville’s Michael Harris who stuffed the stat sheet with 37 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in a staggering showing. Harris also connected on seven three pointers showcasing his ability to score from nearly anywhere. Fellow Eagles Gregory Mays (27 points and 13 rebounds) and Brandon Brine (19 points and nine rebounds) also contributed strongly. The Mavericks might not have performed to their desired standard, but Nathaniel Koko tried all night, and can be proud with how he played, ending the game with 23 points.

South Adelaide Panthers (92) def. North Adelaide Rockets (71)

In a battle of cross-town rivals, South Adelaide showed their class across the board, taking down North Adelaide by 21 points. Despite the convincing margin, both sides won two quarters each, but the first and third quarters from the Panthers proved too much for the Rockets. South Adelaide scored 64 in these quarters, while North Adelaide could only manage 31 as they were overcome by a side who could not seem to miss.

For the Panthers, Alex Starling was easily the side’s strongest performer, dropping an impressive triple double in the win. Starling ended with 20 points, 13 points and 10 assists, with his eight steals putting him only two shy of an amazing quadruple double. It was a masterful performance that was reflective of his side on the night. Fellow Panthers Todd Davies (21 points), Adam Brown (17 points) and Codey Ellison (15 points and nine rebounds) were also strong. Despite not getting the win, Rocket Verle Williams topscored with his 33 points.

Southern Tigers (62) def by. Sturt Sabres (70)

A strong team performance has led the Sturt Sabres to an eight-point win over the Southern Tigers in Saturday night’s matchup. The Tigers jumped to an early six-point lead after the first quarter, but the Sabres were able to weather the storm and win the remaining three quarters. The Tigers were still able to keep themselves right in the game but could not muster a strong enough comeback in the last, with the Sabres doing enough to remain in the lead.

The Sabres win came from a terrific all-around performance, with no Sturt player topping Sam Daly’s 13 points, as three other teammates hit double digits. Joel Spear (12 points and 11 rebounds), Nik Fassos (11 points) and Keanu Rasmussen (11 points) were all key for their side’s win. For the Tigers, Cameron Coleman battled hard with his 24 points to try and conjure a win. 

West Adelaide Bearcats (76) def by. Central Districts Lions (83)

In the closest game of the round, the Lions survived a last quarter Bearcats comeback to run out the game seven-point winners. Trailing by 14 points late in the third term, the Bearcats dragged themselves to within three points late in the final quarter, but Lual Diing was ice cold in the final two minutes, sinking clutch free throws to seal the result and break the hearts of his opponents.

Diing was his side’s strongest performer, finishing with a huge 27-point and 15-rebound game and was instrumental in leading his side to the narrow victory. His teammates Kelani Sapwell (13 points) and Makok Manyang (11 points and nine rebounds) also caught the eye with their ability to create a shot. Despite the tough loss, Bryan Michaels scored a game high 28 points and continued to create havoc for defenders despite the deficit. Earnest Ross also battled his way to 21 points and five rebounds.

Woodville Warriors (75) def by. Norwood Flames (90)

In an outing closer than the score suggests, the Woodville Warriors could not keep up with the firepower of their Norwood Flames opponents, eventually falling by 15 points. A tight first half saw Norwood lead by the smallest of margins, as Woodville found themselves within one point at the main break. The Flames began to find their rhythm in the third, taking a seven-point lead into the final quarter. A 22-14 last term sealed the win for Norwood, as Woodville continued to struggle to contain the scoring of their opponents.

Norwood were well served by CJ Turnage and his 36-point performance. This led all comers for the game as he continued to find space to put up shots from both around the paint and behind the three point line. Teammate Moses Nuangki finished with 16 points in a solid start to the season. For the Warriors, James Boonstoppel (22 points) and Julian Jacobs (19 points, eight rebounds and seven assists) tried hard all game to get their team’s scoring going while Joe Jackson pulled down 20 rebounds.

Melbourne weathers the Lightning, 21-point victory over Adelaide

AFTER their 76-55 win over the Adelaide Lightning, an impressive Melbourne Boomers roster has regained the third seed in the WNBL standings to kick off the fifth and final round of the season. The win also sets the tone for the rest of their final week with two more games still yet to be decided for one of the competition’s favourites.

Melbourne looked to do damage early, following a triple from Ashleigh Karaitiana on the opening play. However, Ally Wilson answered back with a mid-range jumper of her own to commence proceedings in Cairns.

Trading buckets early, both sides put up consistent numbers for the majority of the first quarter and remained within earshot of one another in that time. But a 10-0 run from the Boomers, allowed the purple and gold to take a superior stance with a double-digit advantage early in the game.

A three-pointer off the inbound pass to Cayla George would drop, as the opening quarter buzzer went off, giving Melbourne a huge 17-point lead at the first break. Now being down 14-31, Adelaide head coach Chris Lucas pleaded with his side to make some changes and talk to one another for the remainder of the contest, a focus point that would do little good.

Despite holding a 20-point buffer approaching the second intermission, the Lightning were able to construct a 7-0 scoring run of their own to ultimately win the second term exclusively, narrowly cutting the deficit to 13 at halftime.

The Lightning’s main issue to address at half-time was George’s accuracy, as she converted 66 per cent of her shots (compared to her team’s 48 per cent) which translated to 14 points, seven rebounds and a couple of assists up to the halftime stoppage. Meanwhile, Stephanie Talbot was accumulating statistics as per usual, with 10 points and four rebounds for her side after 20 minutes.

The efforts in the third quarter from the likes of Ezi Magbegor, Maddie Garrick and Kalani Purcell was enough to maintain a lead over 10 points at the conclusion of the period, but Adelaide’s efforts in the middle quarters was enough to keep the Boomers within striking range with just 10 minutes left to play, especially with sharpshooters Abbey Wehrung and Taylor Ortlepp starting to find their range.

To the Lightning’s credit they worked their way to just an 11-point defici early in the fourth, but Guy Molloy’s roster depth grounded down a struggling Adelaide side, piling on and continually enlarging the lead for the remainder of the meeting.

A massive credit to their work inside the paint, the Boomers totalled 42 points in the key which completely dwindled the Lightning’s 16 points in this area of the game. Such a difference in an extremely important facet of the contest ultimately led to Melbourne’s convincing 21-point win and bumped up the side to third in the WNBL standings as a result.

One of the by-products of Melbourne’s dominance inside the key was their resulting 45 per cent shooting overall, and with Adelaide barely making a quarter of their total attempts (27 per cent) the Boomers made the most of their passing, out assisting the Lightning 25 to 12.

Perfectly fitting for the veteran and future hall of famer, George’s double-double effort (22 points, 11 rebounds and four assists) led the way from start to finish for her side. While supporting frontcourt acts on the night like Magbegor (14 points and 10 rebounds) and Purcell (11 points, nine rebounds and four assists) made her job a little easier in securing the side’s eighth win of the campaign.

Unsurprisingly it was the Lightning’s main two threats that were the team’s only double-digit producers on the scoreboard, with Wilson accumulating 14 points on the night, along with three rebounds and two assists, whereas Talbot finished with 11 points and six rebounds – a more quiet outing than usual for the MVP candidate.

While Adelaide has essentially lost their ability to make a run at the postseason, they need to recover quickly if they are to bounce back tomorrow and topple the Bendigo Spirit, as more of the team’s secondary unit will have extended runs in the last round of the fixture. For the Boomers, they will look to consolidate a precarious third seed when they face off with the Spirit two days later, in what will be a favourable matchup for the title contenders.

Flames snatch victory from Lynx AND halt Perth’s winning streak 


WITH neither the Sydney Uni Flames or the Perth Lynx eligible for the WNBL Finals, it did not stop both sides from playing with a sense of urgency and determination when they collided in the second of last night’s two games, as the former escaped with the win by a mere three points, 71-68.

In the infancy stages of Tuesday’s closer, both teams were able to display formidable tactics defensively throughout the first 10 minutes of play. Evidently this was the case purely based on the fact that both sides would only combine for 23 points, with Perth harbouring the narrow 13-10 lead heading into the first break.

The subsequent quarter to follow proved fruitless in terms of one team taking control over the game, as the Flames outscored the Lynx 20-19 in a more offence-filled second period, putting the half time deficit at just two points.

But with both teams shooting the ball at a rather poor rate, it seemed like just a matter of time before one of the two sides would start to get going. Nevertheless, Flames’ center Lauren Scherf was rejecting the status quo in those regards, compiling 12 points and five rebounds on 44 per cent shooting in her productive first half. Meanwhile, no Perth players on the other side managed to get quite as hot in the first half as Scherf, but Katie Ebzery gave it a red-hot crack with seven points of her own.

Ebzery continued her efforts on the scorecard, doubling her totals in the next 10 minutes while Sydney Uni continued to hang in there and close the distance. With rebounding superstar Anneli Maley continuing her dominance on the glass, as well as 150-gamer Nat Burton and Alison Schwagmeyer providing supplementary supports elsewhere, Katrina Hibbert’s side found themselves a single point the lesser at the final break, 45-44, and looked to get a running start at the turn of the fourth period.

This aim would be fulfilled as the Flames knocked down the opening two baskets of the final term, momentarily holding a one-point lead over the in-form Lynx. But a return three from Alex Ciabattoni 80 seconds in handed back the lead to Ryan Petrik and his side, further prolonging the Flames’ comeback efforts.

Even though Perth managed to hold onto the lead for essentially the whole last term, the Flames would just not go away, tying things up with two and a half minutes remaining and then regaining the lead a minute later off of a Schwagmeyer triple. Known for her shooting, Funda Nakkasoglu put Sydney Uni up by four with 55 seconds left, where Ebzery answered back with a three of her own with 24 seconds to play, putting Perth behind by just a point. But Scherf’s two made free throws with just 10 seconds on the clock iced the game and end the Lynx’s three-game winning streak.

Both teams shot at a surprisingly low efficiency, where Sydney Uni converted on 36 per cent, which was slightly higher than Perth’s 34 per cent. The Flames held the higher ground in a number of categories to name a few. Particularly noticeable was the side’s plus-11 in rebounding (52-41) and superiority off the bench (30-14), while also winning statistically in areas such as assists, second chance points and three-point shooting.

Schwagmeyer (four assists and three rebounds) and Scherf (11 rebounds and five assists) each scraped away with 19 points apiece, whereas Burton (10 points and two assists) and Maley (eight points, 14 rebounds and four assists) were also instrumental in the win.

Despite the Lynx’s best efforts last night, only two individuals managed over 10 points. Ebzery showed off her scoring abilities at the point guard position, with a game-high 24-point performance, as Alex Sharp fought for her 11-point and 12-rebound double-double last night. A major downfall for the side was Darcee Garbin’s lack of impact, as the Opal only managed nine points and seven rebounds in her 37 minutes of court time.

Perth returns to Townsville Stadium on Thursday to try and emerge victorious for the fourth time in five games against the Canberra Capitals, while the Flames will take the court directly after when they try to upstage a Southside Flyers outfit that has not been defeated since the 23rd of November.

2020 WNBL Round 1 weekday preview: Mackay and Townsville hubs tip-off as all eight teams commence

IN 2020 the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) is a little different compared to usual, with the rounds stretching over more days with extra games. At Draft Central, we will preview the weekday games, followed by the weekend games separately to ensure the permutations in the second half of the round are as accurate as possible.

We tip-off Round 1 with all eight sides competing in the North Queensland hubs, starting in Mackay on Wednesday, and then heading to Townsville on Thursday in what should be a blockbuster opening round of action.

* Game times are local/AEDT

Wednesday, November 11, 5/6pm (Mackay)

Opening the new season is 2019/20 finalists, Adelaide Lightning going up against reigning premiers, UC Capitals. The Capitals will be keen to retain their title in the 2020 shortened season despite losing a couple of key imports over the off-season. In the absence of volume shooter and league Most Valuable Player (MVP) Kia Nurse, and Grand Final Series MVP Olivia Epoupa, the Capitals will have a slightly different starting five heading into the season.

The quartet of Australians crucial to the success fo the Capitals all re-signed with co-captains Kelsey Griffin and Marianna Tolo, and rising stars Keely Froling and Maddison Rocci all rejoining the side. Sydney Uni Flames’ Tahlia Tupaea was tipped to be the fifth member of the starting side for coach Paul Gorriss. Along with Tupaea, the Capitals have also brought in former Lightning talents Hannah Kaser and Ashley Taia to add some spice to the mix, as well as up and coming youngster Jade Melbourne.

While the Capitals largely have a known list, the Lightning will be vastly different to the team that fronted up last season. Chelsea Brook, Steph Talbot are the only two expected starters who got on court last season, with Jasmin Fejo predicted to play a key role in 2020. With veteran Lauren Nicholson heading north to Townsville and captain Nicole Seekamp retiring, the Lightning have brought in key player Marena Whittle, and had added talented college graduate Alana Smith but unfortunately injury has ruled her out for the year. Others who have joined returning back to the country include Taylor Ortlepp, Ella Batish and Carlie Smith, as well as WNBL talents Alex Wilson (Sydney Uni Flames), Louella Tomlinson (Southside Flyers) and Abbey Wehrung (Bendigo Spirit).

The UC Capitals will head in as favourites for the clash coming in as reigning premiers and with more stability in their line-up, but the Lightning will be an exciting team to see how they gel.

Wednesday, November 11, 7/8pm (Mackay)

Two sides that will be keen to build on their 2019/20 season will be Perth Lynx and Townsville Fire who missed out on the post-season finals. The Fire will be no stranger to the weather conditions in the far north, but find themselves the visiting team in this encounter with the Lynx. The Fire have made a number of changes to invigorate their lineup with both young stars and experienced heads joining the team. The Lynx will also look largely different after some off-season changes, including assistant coach Ryan Petrik stepping up to replace outgoing head coach Andy Stewart.

The biggest intrigue of the match will be the changing of colours of Nadeen Payne and Darcee Garbin who effectively were involved in a trade with the players switching allegiances. Payne went from Perth to Townsville, whilst Garbin joined the Lynx from the Fire. Young gun Shyla Heal was the huge signing of the off-season for the Fire, with up-and-comers Megan McKay, Lara McSpadden and Courtney Woods all strengthening the outfit. Steph Reid crossed from Southside Flyers for more court time and enjoyed a strong QSL season, whilst Lauren Nicholson’s arrival from the Lightning added that experience needed at the Fire around the young talent.

The Lynx did not waste any time by announcing veteran and former Lynx star Sami Whitcomb back for the season, but unfortunately she was mutually released for family reasons. The re-signing of Katie Ebzery was as important as any, whilst Garbin was a welcome inclusion. The omissions are going to hurt, with not only Payne going, but Lauren Mansfield and Alison Schwagmeyer heading to Sydney Uni, and Marena Whittle joining Adelaide Lightning. Perth also brought in some local players with Kayla Steindl, Ashleigh Isenbarger and Mackenzie Clinch-Hoycard all joining the fray, while Jessie Edwards signed on from the Lightning among a number of other re-signings.

It seems the two sides are at the opposite ends of the off-season success with Townsville bringing in a host of big guns, whilst Perth has lost a number of key players making it tough for the Lynx. With the home state advantage, expect the Fire to start off strongly here.

Thursday, November 12, 6/7pm (Townsville)

Tipping off Thursday nights’s action in Townsville, two sides that will believe they can go deep in the finals series go head-to-head. The Melbourne Boomers have kept a relatively strong line-up together, whilst Sydney Uni Flames have bolstered their hopes of pushing into the finals series. Given the losses the Lightning have had, the Flames are a huge chance to force their way into the top four, and alongside Townsville are the other side likely to crack into the finals.

The Boomers announced signing Tess Madgen from Townsville and quickly tied up Madeleine Garrick, Cayla George and Ezi Magbegor within the first month of the re-signing period. Kalani Purcell, Antonia Farnworth, Penina Davidson, Stella Beck and Rachel Brewster all followed, with Eliza Wright, Hope Terdich and Rachel Antoniadou stepping up from NBL1 level. Possibly the most underrated signing of the period came in late October with the announcement that Tall Black, Ashleigh Karaitiana would join the side after a big QSL season and she will only strengthen that outfit. The three losses were Monique Conti to the Flyers, Paige Price to Bendigo and Chelsea D’Angelo out with an Achilles injury, but the Boomers are still a formidable unit.

The Flames will be an incredibly different outfit in 2020, possibly four of the starting five coming from other sides. June 24 marked a big day for the Flames, announcing he recruitment of Anneli Maley from Southside Flyers, and even bigger the coup of Lauren Mansfield from Perth Lynx. Alison Schwagmeyer followed Mansfield to the Flames, while Kiera Rowe joined Maley in crossing from Southside. The inclusions replaced the likes of Tahlia Tupaea, Brittany Smart and Lara McSpadden who all departed, whilst Turkish-Australian national Funda Nakkasoglu was allowed to sign having dual citizenship being born in Melbourne. Natalie Burton also returned to her home country and will slot straight into the four spot with Lauren Scherf the other key starter for the Flames. Carly Boag (Finland) also returned home to Australia from Europe and will add to the strength of the side.

Melbourne Boomers have the known form and will be favourites in this game, but the Flames have a lot of unknown about them. That can work in their favour once they gel, and could be a dangerous team this season.

Thursday, November 12, 8/9pm (Townsville)

The final game of the first half of the round might be the most anticipated. Not necessarily due to the result, but more so to see the much anticipated starting five of the Southside Flyers. Last year’s runners-up have got enough Opals to open a jewellery shop, and they are favourites for the overall title. Some have suggested it could be the greatest line-up ever assembled, which could well be true which only adds to the pressure and intrigue. Bendigo Spirit will have the toughest assignment up first, with a much more inexperienced lineup compared to the Flyers.

The Spirit lost American Rebecca Tobin who chose to head to Romania, as well as Abbey Wehrung (Adelaide) and Shyla Heal (Townsville) who will all be big losses. They have signed up college returnee Georgia Pineau who should help provide some extra young talent to the team, as well as Amelia Todhunter and Piper Dunlop out of the NBL1 competition. Dunlop is a rising star and one to watch, whilst Mary Goulding has returned from Sweden, and Jennie Rintala crossed over from the Lightning. Paige Price adds some great young talent to the Spirit taking over from Heal, while the re-signings of Alicia Froling, Cassidy McLean and Tessa Lavey were crucial, with the latter also testing herself at AFL Women’s, but will be present in the hub.

Southside Flyers on the other hand went from strength to strength over the off-season. Losing crucial import Mercedes Russell to Turkey due to the no-imports rule, they set about re-signing everybody else. Jenna O’Hea, Rebecca Cole, Sara Blicavs, Aimie Clydesdale and Rebecca Pizzey all signed on in between a host of incredible signings. Steph Blicavs crossed from Adelaide, Rachel Jarry stepped up from NBL1, and Monique Conti came over from cross-town rivals the Boomers. But by far the biggest both physically and metaphorically was Liz Campage with the WNBA champion the biggest signing of the off-season and turning the Flyers into the standout team. The Flyers did lose a few, with Steph Reid going to Townsville, Louella Tomlinson heading to Adelaide and Kiera Rowe going to Sydney Uni, but the inclusions far outweigh the omissions.

It is hard to look past Southside in any game this season just about, and when they are coming up against an inexperienced Bendigo lineup, the Flyers are comfortably the favourites in this one.

Picture: WNBL