– Where Basketball never stops

SEABL Round 5 Wrap Up


Every year it seems like we talk about how tough the SEABL is, and how even the competition seems. This year is no exception, with half of Round 5’s twelve games producing results that were decided by 4 points or less, including one game that went to OT.

Starting off Friday night with two games, the first of which saw the Hobart Chargers hosting the Kilsyth Cobras and the second featuring the Frankston Blues taking on the Dandenong Rangers, both games came down to the wire. Having lost three games in a row and coming up against a tough Kilsyth Cobras outfit, the home team Chargers were desperate to get their season back on track. The two imports have been under pressure from coach Paul Davie who was less than pleased with their output so far this season, however a 17pt 17 rebound game from Khalil Hartwell culminating in a Chargers 74-72 win may have just saved the American from the chopping block. Fellow import Jerrah Young was less effective, however is still suffering from a hamstring injury. Deba George was consistent as always, leading his team with 23 points. The Kilsyth Cobras were without local star Joel Naburgs, who is recovering from a broken finger, and also missing import Dain Swetella, but welcomed Melbourne Tigers player Auryn Macmillan back for the first time this year. Macmillan was valiant with 19 points 11 rebounds in his first game back, ably assisted by Tim Lang’s 21 points and 10 rebounds, while youngster Jackson Brazier (who as well as being pretty handy with a basketball is also somewhat of a YouTube sensation – I swear to God, check it out, he’s like the Kilsyth version of Justin Bieber with teenage girls going crazy over him) relished the opportunity for more minutes with 15 points. In a nail biting finish, scores were tied with just over one minute left to play, when a foul on Deba George when attempting a three pointer put him at the line. Missing the first but sinking the next two, the Chargers were up by 2 points, and with a couple of turnovers and missed shots, the home side once again found themselves at the charity strip with 16 seconds left on the clock. This time it was Tiri Masunda taking the shots – but Masunda missed both, giving the Cobras once last chance to go for the win or send the game to OT. It was Jackson Brazier who took the three point attempt for the Cobras, unfortunately falling short and giving Hobart their first win on their home court for the year.

Backing up on Saturday night, the Cobras had to face the juggernaut that is the North West Tasmania Thunder. The weary Cobras were no match for the unbeaten and well rested Thunder, who outscored the visitors 32-12 in the second quarter to set up their eventual 90-72 win. BJ Jenkins continued his run for SEABL MVP with 21 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals, while fellow import Tyrone Lee added 21 points and 8 rebounds. Nathan Wilson contributed a double double to the Thunder win with 10 points and 11 rebounds. For the Cobras, returning Tiger Auryn Macmillan led the scoring with 22 points and 7 rebounds with Tim Lang adding 15 points and 9 rebounds.

The Blues vs Rangers match up on Friday night was an OT thriller, with 2013 SEABL Grand Final MVP  Daeqoun Montreal back to his best, with a massive 44 points to go with 7 rebounds for Dandenong. Unfortunately for the visiting team, who were without captain and former Blues player Andrew Harms, it wasn’t enough to get the win over the Frankston Blues, with the home side holding on for a 94-90 victory at the end of overtime. DQ carried the scoring load for the Rangers with only two other players making it to double figures, Tony Lewis with 12 points to go with 8 rebounds and Owen Odigie in his second game back from Melbourne Tigers NBL duties scoring 11 points. Frankston’s no-longer-an-import Chuck Long led the Blues scoring with 23 points to go with 16 rebounds, Mitch Chapman adding 18 points while Mike McInnes and Brandon Polk each contributed 15, the latter also pulling down 9 rebounds. The win was a welcome one for the Blues, who after beating the Supercats in Round 4 were keen to show some consistency and continuing their winning ways.

Both the Blues and the Rangers had a second game to turn their attention to for the weekend, with Frankston travelling to the Mars Minerdome on Saturday night to face the Ballarat Miners. Having only won one game to date, the struggling Miners needed to get a win on their home court to get their season back on track. But the Blues were here to spoil the party, riding high after their win against Dandenong the visitors managed to get the Miners team in some serious foul trouble in the second half. Scores were all tied up at halftime, and the Miners held a slim six point lead at the final break, and with just 27 seconds left on the clock the Blues had the lead by 5 points. A three point made by Anthony Fisher cut the lead to just two, but the Miners were forced to foul and put the Blues on the charity stripe, with first Mitch Chapman icing two to extend the lead to four, and then a missed three point attempt by Miners import Roy Booker and a defensive rebound form Brandon Polk saw him also heading to the line to sink another two to give the visiting Frankston team another win for a 2-0 weekend. Miners import Ken Horton was impressive with 24 points and 14 rebounds for the home side, while Roy Booker managed 20 points in his limited foul trouble minutes. For the Blues this time it was Brandon Polk leading the charge, scoring 27 points with 6 rebounds, Chuck Long adding 14 points and 7 rebounds to his weekend totals. Mitch Chapman added 19 points to the Frankston team totals. The two wins for Frankston see them move up from 7th to 4th on the South Conference ladder, with the same 4-3 record as the Kilsyth Cobras in 3rd.

Languishing at the bottom of the South Conference ladder, the Canberra Gunners travelled to Brisbane on Saturday night to take on the Spartans. Brisbane welcomed Brendan Teys back into their line up after his Adelaide 36ers NBL duties, who managed 13 points and 4 rebounds in his first game back, but shooting at just 26.7%. Import CJ Massingale had an off shooting night as well, ending up with just 10 points at 25%, including going 1 from 7 from beyond the arc. With a plethora of scorers available to them, it was Izzy Tueta who stepped up for the Spartans against the Gunners, scoring 21 points at 61.5%. Townsville Crocs guard Scott Kenny added 19 points and import Zach Henifin 16 as the home side defeated the visiting Gunners 91-80. Both Canberra imports managed a double double with Garlon Green scoring 26 points to go with 10 rebounds and Matt Staff adding 16 points to his 12 rebounds. New player Reece Kaye also contributed 16 points to the Canberra total.

Meanwhile at the State Basketball Centre, the Knox Raiders had a bit of a scare from the Kids. The Basketball Australia CoE team, who were yet to win a game this season, had their first Melbourne road trip of the year and faced the Raiders first up on Saturday night. Much to many people’s surprise, the Kids exploded out of the blocks and led Knox by 14 points at the first break. They held steady until half time, but the third quarter turnaround saw the Kids scoring just 8 points to the Raiders 24, putting the home team back in the driver’s seat. The CoE team never regained the lead after that, the Raiders coming out eventual 3pt winners 77-74. Knox welcomed Rhys Carter back into the fold for the first time this year, but like his Adelaide 36ers teammate Teys, Carter found it hard to find the basket, shooting at just 27.8% including 2 from 11 from downtown. Still managing 14 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists for the game, the Raiders will be ahppy to have Carter back for good. Meanwhile Carter’s other teammate from the 36ers, youngster Adam Doyle, continued his impressive shooting form with 22 points for the game to go with 5 rebounds. Import Delwan Graham managed a double double with 13 points and 13 rebounds while fellow import Jeff Jones had a night to forget with just 2 points. For the Kids, it was Isaac Humphries leading their scoring with 16 points and 6 rebounds before fouling out in the final quarter. Dejan Vasiljevic  contributed 11 points and 4 rebounds while Xavier Cooks, son of Wollongong Hawks assistant coach and former Ballarat Miners player Eric Cooks had 9 points and 9 rebounds for the game.

After the loss to the Raiders, the Kids travelled to Dandenong on Sunday to take on the reigning champs, fresh from the defeated by Frankston on Friday night. Once again the youngsters started well, leading the home side by 1 point at the first break. But the experienced Rangers soon put a halt to that, outscoring the Kids in each subsequent quarter to eventual win by 20 points, 101-81. DQ was instrumental once again, scoring 24 points in just 24 minutes, while Tony Lewis led the way with 25 points and 9 rebounds. Brent Hobba seemed back to his usual self with a 21 point game. Geelong product George Blagojevic was the leading scorer for the Kids with 13 points, although in keeping with BA CoE tradition of the leading scorer fouling out, he too left the court in the last quarter. Isaac Humphries contributed 11 points and 9 rebounds, with each of the BA CoE players registering on the scoreboard for the game.

Close games don’t get much closer than a one point win, and the Geelong Supercats managed to scrape over the line on their home court on Saturday night by just that against the Sandringham Sabres. It’s been a pet peeve of mine for years that Sandringham have never had an alternate set of uniforms – only orange – so it was great to see the Sandy men out there in blue uniforms at the Arena. (Side note – I think they look great!). Despite being up by 9 points at three quarter time, it came down to the final three minutes for the Supercats, with some sensational shooting from Sabres import Michael Moore getting the Sandringham side back to within 1 point. Another three from Melbourne Tigers development player Alistair McDonald saw the Sabres take the lead for the first time in the last quarter, before a shot made by Eric Gaff tied the scores up. A huge block by Gaff on the other end made it tough for Sabres import Ray Goins, but he managed to come up with the offensive rebound and make the shot in the end, plus draw the foul on Gaff and make the bonus to put the Sabres up by 3 with 2 minutes remaining. Two made free throws by Mike Mercer cut the margin to 1 once more, before two consecutive turnovers by the Sabres managed to give the Supercats a 3 point with one minute remaining. A foul on Alistair McDonald saw him sink two to once more put the margin at one point, in favour of Geelong, but a shot clock violation by the Supercats gave the Sabres the ball with 24 seconds left and the chance to win the game. A costly error by Mike Moore forced him to pass the ball off quickly, and Alistair McDonald jacked up a late three that fell short and gave Geelong the 87-86 win. Mike Moore led all scorers for the game with 36 points and 9 rebounds for the Sabres, fellow import Ray Goins with 17 points and 8 rebounds.  Alistair McDonald finished with 10 points for the game. For Geelong, it was once again an even spread of scoring, with all starting five players hitting double figures. Mike Mercer led the way with 19 points, Nathan Herbert adding 18, Ash Cannan finished with 16 points while Nick Owusu and Eric Gaff each contributed 11, the former also adding 5 assists and 5 rebounds and the latter with 10 rebounds for a double double. Both Geelong and Sandringham had to back up on Sunday with games against Bendigo and Mt Gambier respectively.

Before travelling to Sandringham to take on the Sabres, Mt Gambier began their weekend in Albury on Saturday night against what has so far been a dismal Bandits outfit.  MoMo Ntumba does not seem to be the same player that we saw in the championship winning 2012 team, and the Bandits need him to get back into form to have any chance of winning some more games this year. The unbeaten Pioneers easily accounted for the Bandits, defeating them 95-76 in the end. Bandits import Jamar Briscoe top scored with 26 points while Ntumba managed just 7 to go with 7 rebounds. Jack Duck had his best game to date for the Albury side with 16 points, Alex Opacic the only other player in double figures with 10 points. For the Pioneards it was captain Matt Sutton and import Damian Johnson leading the way with 18 points and 7 rebounds each, Brad Hill contributing 17 points with 4 rebounds and Ben Allen adding 16 points and 8 rebounds.

After disposing of the Bandits, Mt Gambier had the long trip to Melbourne to take on the Sandringham Sabres. Still stinging from their close loss to Geelong the night before, Sandringham started the game in front but were unable to keep up with the visiting Pioneers team, eventually going down 108-79. Mike Moore once again led the scoring for the Sabres team with 18 points, Ray Goins adding 16 and Alistair McDonald 14. For Mt Gambier it was Brad Hill, Ben Allen and Tom Daly who formed the formidable trio, Allen picking up a double double with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists, Hill managing 26 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists, and Daly adding 23 points to the team’s 109 total. The 2-0 road trip for the Pioneards sees them move to an 8-0 record, although simply because of the way the ladder system is set up on SEABL they still sit behind the 7-0 NW Tasmania in the South Conference due to percentages. For Sanrdingham, going 0-2 has seen them slip from 5th to 7th in the South, with the only team below them the one win Canberra Gunners.

Before hosting the Geelong Supercats on Sunday, the Bendigo Braves travelled to Nunawading to take on the Spectres on Saturday night. In another one of the Round 5 nail biters, the Nunawading Spectres were down by 6 points at three quarter time before mounting a come back in the final quarter. The home side managed to level the scores with two minutes remaining in the game, and a missed shot by Braves Dustin Salisbury allowed Spectres Tommy Greer to come up with the rebounds and subsequent score to put Nunawading in front for the first time in the quarter just over a minute remaining. Yet another missed three point attempt by Salisbery and another rebound from Greer gave the Spectres possession again, but a travel called on Simon Conn gave the Braves a lifeline. A massive block on Kevin Probert’s shot attempt by Andrew Steele could very well have saved the game for the Spectres, with Dustin Salisbery taking the final shot for the Braves with 7 seconds left – another three point attempt – that once again did not fall, Simon Conn coming up with the rebound and the Spectres coming up with the 85-83 win. Conn was superb as always for the Spectres, finishing with 24 points and 15 rebounds. Matt O’Hea finished the game with 17 points while Tommy Greer added 16 points and 8 rebounds. For Bendigo it was import duo Zach Atkinson and Dustin Salisbery who carried the scoring load, the former scoring 25 points and pulling down 7 boards and the latter with 23 points and 8 boards. Kevin Probert and Perth Wildcats development player Michael Vigor each added 11 points to the game.

Backing up on Sunday for a home game against the Geelong Supercats, the Braves steeled themselves for what is always a tough rivalry. Outscored in every quarter by the visitors, Bendigo dropped their second game of the weekend while Geelong secured their 2-0 weekend with a 97-76 win. Ash Cannan has been outstanding for Geelong all year and continued this form with 20 points and 10 rebounds to go along with Nathan Herbert’s 20 points and 6 rebounds. Eric Gaff added another 17 points and 5 rebounds to his totals while Mike Mercer also had 18 points. For the Braves, Michael Vigor led the way with 21 points and 6 rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth. Zach Atkinson contributed 20 points while fellow import Dustin Salisbery had just 12 for the day.

The loss for Bendigo sees them move from 4th to 6th in the tough South Conference ladder, while for Geelong another win cements their spot in first place in the East with w 7-1 record, just above Nunawading who are 5-1.

Some stand out performances by a lot of players this weekend, with DQ’s 44 points a season high so far, and his 24 points in the Rangers win on Sunday also effective. I struggle with giving individual award’s to players whose teams don’t come up with the win – but a 1-1 weekend and a VERY close game against the Blues on Friday night make this an exception. So he gets my nod for PoW. It’s great to have DQ back in form after his injury prone start to the season, and I for one looking forward to seeing more 40 point games!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT – The Mt Gambier Pioneers are hosting their own weekly half hour show online – hosted by Matt Sutton and Ben Allen, it’s pretty good value! Check it out the pilot here – you can view it live on Wednesday nights on Pioneers TV.

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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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