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SEABL Round 6 Wrap

Deba_George

After starting their season 6-0, the North West Tasmania Thunder suffered two losses on their Melbourne road trip in Round 6 to finally give the Mt Gambier Pioneers, who defeated the Knox Raiders on Friday night, undisputed first place at the top of the South Conference ladder and remain the only unbeaten team with a 9-0 record.

Down by 20 points at three quarter time at the Ice House, the Knox Raiders fought valiantly in the fourth to close the gap but could not surmount the lead the Pioneers had built over the first three quarters, going down in the end 101-92. Tom Daly led the scoring for the home side with 31 points, while Ben Allen recorded a double double with 22 points and 15 boards before fouling out in the fourth. For Knox it was import Delwan Graham with the double double, grabbing 16 rebounds to go with his 21 points, while Simon Grant and Rhys Carter added 16 points each.

With a big loss and a long trip home ahead of them, the Knox Raiders had to back up on Saturday night against the Hobart Chargers at the State Basketball Centre. With a close win over Kilsyth under their belts from the weekend before, the Chargers went in the contest with a bit more confidence, and came out victorious in the first of their two game road trip to the mainland, winning 75-65. Deba George led from the front as usual, with 24 points and 6 rebounds, while import duo Jerrah Young and Khalil Hartwell continued to show improvement, each recording double doubles for the game – Young with 22 points and 17 rebounds and Hartwell 16 points and 10 rebounds. For the Raiders, Delwan Graham added another double double to his stat line for the weekend, with 20 points and 16 rebounds – the next closest scorer for the Raiders was Rhys Carter with 13. With only two wins under their belt for the season that is already almost a third of the way through, the Raiders have a tough road ahead of them.

Hobart backed up their win against Knox on Saturday night with a clean sweep of their road trip by defeating the Sandringham Sabres on Sunday in another thriller, final score 92-90. The last time these two teams met, Deba George went off for 39 points, and this time around he went one better and scored 40 on them, before fouling out of the game with just over two minutes left in the game. Imports Young and Hartwell recorded two more double doubles for their team, with 18 points 11 rebounds and 17 points 10 rebounds respectively. Mike Moore led the scoring for the Sabres with 26 points while Ray Goins had a double double of his own with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Alistair McDonald had his best game to date with 17 points, but it wasn’t enough to get the Sabres over the line.

As their Tassie rivals were sweeping the Victorians, the North West Tasmania Thunder were locked in a fierce battle against the Bendigo Braves on Saturday night. The Braves welcomed former Sandringham player Josh Wilcher into their team for the first time, returning from a season over in England. Bendigo held a 1 point lead at the final break, and controlled the final quarter to come out with the 88-82 win and handing the Thunder their first loss of the season. Perth Wildcats development player Michael Vigor led the way for the Braves with 21 points and 8 rebounds, while imports Zach Atkinson and Dustin Salisbury added 20 and 19 points each. Thunder imports BJ Jenkins and Tyrone Lee each scored 19 points for the visiting team, Lee also pulling down 13 rebounds, while Jenkins had 4 assists – but also 8 unfortunate turnovers. Nathan Wilson also recorded a double double with 14 points and 11 rebounds for North West Tasmania.

After dropping their first game of the season, the Thunder faced an imposing Nunawading Spectres side on Sunday. Prior to taking on the Thunder, the Spectres gave the Frankston Blues a touch up on Saturday night, defeating them 91-77 on the Blues home court. With Adelaide 36ers player Mitch Creek into the Nunawading side for the first time this year, Creek came out firing and led the Spectres scoring with 19 points off the bench. With just 46 points at three quarter time and down by 33 points, the Blues, like Knox in Mt Gambier, lifted in the last quarter to make the score line a bit more respectable, holding the Spectres to just 12 points to their 31. Nunawading suited up 12 players for the game, with all 12 hitting the court and all but one getting on the score board, Matt O’Hea and Simon Conn each adding 12 points to the team’s total. For Frankston, it was Brandon Polk and Matthew Wilson who each scored 14 points, with Ryan Tindel adding 12 and Chuck Long 11. After enjoying 4th place with their 2 win weekend last week, the Blues now slip to 6th on the South Conference ladder.

After easily accounting for Frankston, the Spectres turned their attention to the Thunder on Sunday. With Bendigo proving that the giant was not unbeatable, Nunawading came out strong to lead at the first break, but were down by 9 at three quarter time. The home team outscored the visitors 30-16 in the final quarter to take the 86-81 victory. Simon Conn was at his best with 32 points, although not quite the usual double double with come to expect with only 8 rebounds to go along with it. Mitch Creek added 11 points and 7 rebounds in his second game of the season, Jon Shepherd the catalyst with 14 points in just 14 minutes for the Spectres – including 4 from 8 three pointers. For the Thunder Tyrone Lee managed a double double with 20 points and 12 rebounds, Brad Simpson also contributing 13 points and 20 rebounds while it was Mason Bragg who led the scoring with 18.

Two big wins for Nunawading moves them to a 7-1 record and firms up second place on the East Conference ladder, just one win behind the Geelong Supercats. Geelong held on to top spot this week by defeating the Kilsyth Cobras at the Arena on Saturday night, winning 81-73. With news earlier in the week that the Cobras had lost their import Dain Swetella for the rest of the season with a foot injury, it was always going to be a tough task to face the Supercats on their home court. With the Cobras also still missing Joel Naburgs through a broken finger, Geelong’s star power overcame the visitors. The third quarter was the turning point for the game, with the Cobras scoring just 8 points for the term. Local start Nathan Herbert shone for the Supercats with 23 points and 6 rebounds, while Eric Gaff continued to play the role he was recruited for with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Nick Owusu also added a double double with 12 points and 11 rebounds while Ash Cannan contributed 14 points. Tim Lang led the scoring for Kilsyth with 22 points, while Melbourne Tigers player Auryn Macmillan has his own double double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Adelaide 36ers development player Kyle Adnam also added 13 points to the Cobras scoreline.

Perhaps the most surprising game of the round, even more surprising than North West Tasmania Thunder dropping both of their Victorian road games, was the Kids getting their first win of the season over the Brisbane Spartans on Saturday night at the AIS. Despite the scoring power on the Brisbane team, they managed just 10 points in the final quarter to give the Basketball Australian Centre of Excellence the 92-80 win. Tanner Krebs led all scorers for the BA CoE with 25 points and 8 rebounds, Xavier Cooks with 18 points and 6 rebounds and Jack McVeigh had 14 points and 8 rebounds. The Brisbane team’s highest scorer was Dean Brebner with 16 points, followed Adelaide 36ers player Brendan Teys with 15. I guess it was inevitable that the Kids would at least win one or two games this year, but I for one didn’t think it would be against a team with two NBL players and an import.

Meanwhile across town, the Canberra Gunners were welcoming the Dandenong Rangers (can someone tell me why we had two interstate teams in the ACT at the same time playing two different teams and not doing a road double?). It was a fairly even contest until the last quarter, when Dandenong outscored the home team 21-12 and came up with the 10 point win, 85-75. After last week’s 44 point display, DQ Montreal calmed down a little bit with 25 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists, while fellow import Tony Lewis is having a brilliant season, adding another 27 points and 8 rebounds to his totals. Gunners import Garlon Green led the way for Canberra with 25 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists, while his American counterpart Matt Staff managed 14 points and 8 rebounds. It’s the fourth loss in a row for Canberra who have won just one game for the season, and currently sit firmly on the bottom of the South Conference ladder. Meanwhile Dandenong have crept up to third in the East Conference with just their third win of the season.

The final game played on Saturday night was another overtime thriller, this time taking place at the Mars Minerdome between the Ballarat Miners and the Albury/Wodonga Bandits. Ballarat were up by as much as 17 points with just 7 minutes remaining in the game, before the Bandits went on a 17-0 run to level the scores with just 25 seconds to play. A 3 pointer from import Roy Booker out of a Miners timeout gave the home team the lead again with 6 seconds left, but Alex Opecic was the hero for the visitors, knocking down his own shot from downtown in the dying seconds to send the game to overtime. Once again Ballarat came out with the lead, knocking down the first shot and getting up by 7 points with 1.24 left on the OT clock, but once again Albury/Wodonga fought back to peg the lead back to just 1 point with 5 seconds remaining. A foul on Mick Watson sent Roy Booker to the free throw line, who iced his two from the charity stripe to put the Miners up by 3 points and seal the win for the home team.  Booker was sensational for the Miners, with a round high score of 41 points to go with 6 assists, while his fellow import Ken Horton had a monster night with 30 points and 17 rebounds, also dishing 5 dimes. For Albury it was Alex Opecic who deserves the majority of the credit, his 29 points and 10 rebounds including 7 in the comeback run were instrumental in the hard fought game. Import Jamar Briscoe added 32 points for the Bandits with MoMo Ntumba contributing 20 points and 9 rebounds.

After the exhausting and nail biting loss against the Miners on Saturday night, the Bandits headed to the Snakepit to face the Kilsyth Cobras, who were licking their own wounds after suffering defeat at the hands of the Supercats. Scoring 40 points in the first quarter, the Cobras came out to show the Bandits who was boss, and outscored the visitors in all but one quarter – even holding the Bandits to just 7 points in the second. 36ers development player Kyle Adnam backed up his form from the night before with another 27 points, leading all scorers for the game and also adding 4 assists and grabbing 6 rebounds. Jackson Brazier also had his best game to date with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Tim Lang added 19 points and 9 rebounds. Alex Opecic was nowhere near as effective for the Bandits in their second game of the round, but Alex Bogart-King stepped up and led the scoring with 20 points and 11 rebounds, Jamar Briscoe the only other Bandit in double figures with 18 points. The win for Kilsyth sees them slip from third to fourth on the South Conference ladder, but the Bendigo Braves are hot in their heels in fifth place. Meanwhile, the 0-2 road trip for Albury, plus the first win for the BA CoE, means that the Bandits are once again dwelling in the cellar of the East Conference ladder.

There were some outstanding performances across the weekend, Roy Booker’s 41 points and 6 assists deserves a special mention, but my ATF POW award this week has to go to Deba George. Leading the Chargers to a 2-0 weekend on the road, and averaging 32 points and 6 rebounds, including 40 points in the second game of a weekend is pretty impressive. Deba gets the nod this week – your t-shirt is in the mail.*

*May or may not be true, ATF are not held accountable for any claims of free t-shirts made in these articles.

By Beth Davis

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Nat Where You At

Nat Where You At

Basketball Junkie
Basketball junkie living in the real South Beach (Wollongong!). I talk too much about basketball, eat too much bacon and reminisce about the Seattle SuperSonics almost everyday.
Nat Where You At

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