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SEABL Round 4 Wrap Up

SEABL 2

With a mid-week game between regional powerhouses Ballarat and Bendigo, Round 4 of the SEABL 2014 season kicked off in front of a sold out crowd at the Mars Minerdome on Wednesday night.

Despite the home crowd support, the Ballarat Miners could not get up over the visiting Bendigo Braves, getting outscored in all but the last quarter to be eventually defeated 81-73. Despite the Miners outrebounding the Braves 41-27, turnovers were costly for the home team. Import Ken Horton managed a double double with 13 points and 13 rebounds, while fellow American Roy Booker top scored for the Miners with 22 points. Bendigo’s import Dustin Salisbury lead all scorers with 24, and Perth development player Michael Vigor added a handy 16 points and 7 rebounds to the Braves winning totals. The loss for Ballarat puts them with a 1-3 record going in to the Easter break – but they remain in fourth position in what appears to be the weaker East Conference.

The mid-week matchup was Ballarat’s only game for the weekend, while the Braves still had to face the juggernaut of the Mt Gambier Pioneers back in Bendigo on Saturday night. But prior to that showdown, the Pioneers hosted their own home game on Friday night, welcoming the Brisbane Spartans to the Ice House. Fresh off their two win road games last weekend, the Spartans travelled to Mt Gambier sans Scott Kenny, who was unavailable due to Townsville Crocs end of season commitments. While their teammate Brendan Teys was locking down James Ennis in Game 2 of the NBL Grand Final series in Adelaide, the Brisbane team were struggling against a focused Mt Gambier team. Jumping out to an early lead, the Pioneers comfortably defeated the Spartans 84-59, with Brad Hill having his best game to date scoring a game high 32 points to go with 7 steals. Ben Allen and Damien Johnson both grabbed double doubles, the former registering 15 points and 12 rebounds and the latter 10 points and 15 rebounds. Brisbane on the other hand struggled for scoring options, Dean Brebner top scoring with 21 points, with CJ Massingale registering just 14, hitting just 2 of 7 three point attempts for the game.

After disposing of the Spartans and picking up their fifth win on the trot, Mt Gambier headed to Bendigo to take on the Braves on Saturday night in both team’s second game of the round. Factoring in travel time for Mt Gambier, the short turn-around of their game the night before, and the fact that Bendigo had an extra two day’s rest, the Pioneers first loss would not have been unexpected. But the Beard Gang were not deterred, keeping their winning streak alive by defeating Bendigo 77-69. The beauty of the Pioneers deep roster is that they have a number of players who can step up on any given night, and it was Tom Daly who did so in Bendigo, scoring 24 points to go with 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Brad Hill contributed another 13 points and 7 rebounds, while for Bendigo it was again Dustin Salisbery and Michael Vigor leading the scoring – both pulling down 7 rebounds and Salisbury adding 19 points to Vigor’s 18. A disappointing loss for Bendigo but all was not lost for Vigor, as he travelled to Perth the next day to see his Perth Wildcats team take out the NBL Championship in the deciding Game 3. Meanwhile, the Mt Gambier Pioneers remain one of only two teams to be undefeated going in to the Easter break.

Meanwhile, the Brisbane team that had also suffered a loss to the Pioneers on Friday night headed to Melbourne on Saturday to take on the Kilsyth Cobras, welcoming Scott Kenny back into the team along the way. The Spartans held a 6 point lead at the main break, before Kilsyth turned it on in the third quarter to swing the momentum. A nail biting final quarter ensued, with Brisbane leading by 2 points with less than a minute remaining, a foul on Izzy Tueta sent the Spartans to the line. Tueta made just one of his two free throws to put the Spartans in front by 3 points, but a rebound from Gerard Leonard and subsequent three pointer from Tim Lang tied the scores up with 33 seconds left on the clock. The Spartans found Scott Kenny with 11 seconds remaining, who missed his three point attempt, the Cobras getting the rebound and a huge three from Gerard Leonard sealing the victory for the Snakes. Leonard finished with 13 points and 7 rebounds for the game, Tim Lang top scoring with 27 points and 8 rebounds and Joel Naburgs adding 19 points for the home side. For Brisbane it was Izzy Tueta leading the charge with 25 points, import Zach Henifin registering a double double with 15 points and 16 rebounds in the close encounter.

Down south the Sandringham Sabres were on their Tasmanian road trip, along with some Sabre juniors for their annual “Sabres on the Road” journey. Friday night was another thriller for Round 4, with Hobart getting out to as much as a 12 point lead early in the second quarter, but Sandringham continuing to chip away and the lead changing several times in the third quarter. It came down to the wire once again, with Sabres import Michael Moore hitting a three point shot with less than 10 seconds to play to put the visitors in front by two points. Deba George had one last shot for the Chargers to try and snatch a win with two seconds left, but his long range shot from downtown fell short, giving Sandringham the 92-90 victory. A season high 39 points for George wasn’t quite enough to get his team over the line, with Chargers import Jerrah Young sitting out with an injury. Moore led the scoring for the victorious Sabres with 25 points while fellow import Ray Goins contributed a double double to his stat line with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Captain Nathan Crosswell was reliable as always with 19 points and 7 assists.

Following on from their thrilling win against the Chargers, the Sabres fronted up to Ulverstone on Saturday night for a much tougher contest against a polished North West Tasmania team. Missing young gun Kyle Clarke, who was in Canberra for the Under 18 National Championships, the Thunder barely skipped a beat, jumping out to an early lead and coasting to a 109-73 victory over Sandringham. Thunder import BJ Jenkins continued his impressive start to the season, leading all scorers for the game with 32 points to go with an impressive 12 assists and 5 rebounds. Fellow import Tyrone Lee added 17 points and 9 rebounds with Brad Simpson also contributing 19 points. Sandringham’s Michael Moore once again led the scoring for his team with 24 points, Ray Goins the only other Sabre to score in double figures with 15. North West Tasmania extended their winning streak to 5 and remain unbeaten atop the South Conference ladder ahead of the Easter break.

Coming into Round 4, the Geelong Supercats were the only other team aside from Mt Gambier and North West Tasmania with an undefeated record. The Supercats kept that record intact on Friday night with a 92-85 win over the Albury/Wodonga Bandits, although the home side trailed the visiting Bandits by 8 points at halftime. As with Knox the week before, Geelong had a bit of a scare from a team that on paper they should have defeated quite easily. Jamar Briscoe had a game high 29 points for Albury while MoMo Ntumba and Alex Opacic both registered double doubles, with 12 points 11 rebounds and 11 points 10 rebounds respectively. For Geelong, Ash Cannan once again proved his value to the team with 23 points, second year import Mike Mercer contributing 20 points to the team win.

After a win on their home court, the Geelong Supercats journeyed to Frankston to take on the Blues. In a round full of thrilling finishes and nail biting outcomes, it was this Saturday night match up that gets the nod for upset of the week. Geelong led from the front for the first half, looking to claim their sixth consecutive win, but Frankston were here to spoil the party. The Blues outscored the visitors 26-15 in the third term to take the lead into the all important final quarter. With the Blues leading by 5 points with just over a minute remaining and Geelong in the bonus, fouls to Nathan Herbert and Nick Owusu managed to cut Frankston’s lead to just 1 point with 40 seconds remaining. Two missed shots by Mitch Chapman and a defensive rebound from Mike Mercer gave the Geelong side a chance to win the game, but instead Mercer was invited to Brandon Polk’s block party as the Frankston import swatted away the shot with 5 seconds remaining. With the ball out of bounds off Polk, Geelong had one last chance to snatch a win, but with the ball in Mike Mercer’s hands again his potential game winner fell short and the Blues snapped the Supercats winning streak 79-78. Polk finished the game with 17 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, and one block – but it was that one block that saved the game for the Blues. Ash Cannan added 16 points and 7 rebounds to his weekend totals with Mike Mercer contributing 14 points and 8 rebounds.

The Albury Wodonga Bandits backed up their loss against Geelong on Friday night with a game against the winless Knox Raiders. After showing promising signs against the Supercats last weekend, the Raiders were able to finally get the monkey off their back and register their first win of the 2014 season against the Bandits 99-81. New import Delwin Graham stepped up with 21 points and 10 rebounds, fellow import Jeff Jones adding 23 points and 6 assists while sharp shooting Adam Doyle contributed 20 points to the team’s total. For the Bandits, Alex Bogart-King had his best game to date stats wise, with 17 points and 9 rebounds, import MoMo Ntumba with another double double for the weekend scoring 19 points and pulling down 14 boards. The win for the Raiders will be a welcome relief coming into Easter, especially against a team in their own conference that right now they are battling for last place (not counting the BA CoE team, who are now the only winless team as they did not play in Round 4).

While the Raiders were recording their first win of the season on Saturday night, reigning 2013 SEABL Champions the Dandenong Rangers also managed to get their first W on the board on Friday night against the Canberra Gunners. Leading at every break, the Rangers outscored the visiting Gunners 25-6 in the final term to record their first win 88-64. Tony Lewis continued his impressive form with a game high 27 points and 17 rebounds, Daequon Montreal adding 22 points and 8 rebounds to the win. Daniel Joyce led the scoring for the Gunners with 16 points, imports Matt Staff and Garlon Green adding 14 and 11 points respectively. As with Knox, Dandenong’s win comes at a welcome time for the team before a week off, with Owen Odigie still be added in to the lineup, Rangers will be glad for the break to re-group and get their season back on track.

Following the loss to Dandenong, Canberra backed up on Saturday night against the Nunawading Spectres. On the same day he announced his retirement from the Melbourne Tigers in the NBL, Tommy Greer played his first SEABL game of the year with the Spectres, and was instrumental in his team’s 97-80 win. Coming off the bench, Greer scored 15 points and pulled down 17 rebounds, more rebounds even than rebounding machine Simon Conn, who was still pretty handy with 14 boards plus a lazy 27 points. Daniel Jackson top scored for Canberra with 21 points, Andrew Martin and Garlon Green adding 16 each. The two losses for Canberra plus Frankston’s win over Geelong see the Gunners slip to last place in the South Conference, with just one win under their belt for the season so far.

Another round of close games and upsets in Round 4 of the SEABL, with some big stats recorded by individuals. Deba George’s 39 points deserves a special mention, but my meaningless Player of the Week nomination goes to Brandon Polk for his big play down the stretch to deny the Geelong Supercats a six game winning streak going in to the Easter weekend.

Who said I was biased to Geelong!

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Beth Davis

Beth Davis

The extent of my basketball playing career is 3x3 in primary school, but my passion for watching, reporting, writing and presenteering (it's a word, trust me I'm a wannabe writer) about the sport knows no bounds!
Beth Davis

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