– Where Basketball never stops

SEABL Round 7 Wrap Up


Grass is green, the sky is blue, and the Mt Gambier Pioneers won another game in SEABL.

Kicking off Round 7 in Pioneers country, the bearded men claimed another big scalp by defeating the Nunawading Spectres at the Icehouse on Friday night. Brad Hill led all scorers with 28 points for Mt Gambier to go with 8 rebounds, his NBL Sydney Kings teammate Ben Allen contributing 20 points and 11 rebounds to the 87-78 win. Tom Daly rounded out the double figure scorers with 23 for the game, while for the Spectres it was Adelaide 36ers player Mitch Creek with 22 points and 9 rebounds along with Simon Conn who added 17 points and 11 rebounds who kept the team in it. 2013 joint SEABL MVP Shane McDonald was the only other Nunawading player to reach double figures with 13 points and 5 rebounds, with captain Tommy Greer pulling down 16 boards to go with his 8 points as the Spectres lost just their second game for the season to a well drilled Mt Gambier side.

Meanwhile in Bendigo, the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence were kicking off a three game road trip with a visit to Braves country. After experiencing the highs of their first win of the season last week, the Kids were brought back down to earth with a 17 point loss to Bendigo, going down to the home side 93-76. Jack McVeigh led the scoring for the Kids with 20 points, George Blagojevic adding 15 points and 6 rebounds to the game as well. Braves import Zach Atkinson was dominant at both ends of the floor, finishing with 21 points and 17 rebounds in his team’s victory, fellow import Dustin Salisbury adding another 21 points followed by Michael Vigor and Josh Wilcher with 19 points each.

After a tough loss in country Victoria, the Kids headed to Sandringham on Saturday night to face the Sabres. Having lost four games in a row from two weekends, the Sabres were looking for a win to re-settle their so far inconsistent season. The home team managed to outscore the Kids 27-14 in the third quarter to set up their 104-91 eventual win, Alistair McDonald continuing to show his improvement with 20 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Mike Moore led the scoring for the Sabres with 25, while Ray Goins pulled down 15 rebounds to go with his 21 points. Nathan Crosswell was back in form with 8 assists plus 17 points for the game. For the Kids, it was once again Jack McVeigh out in front with another 21 points, Xavier Cooks adding his own double double to the mix with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Dejan Vasilejevic, recently named in the Under 17 Men’s Australian team that will tour China later this week, contributed 14 points and 4 rebounds to the team’s totals.

With two losses under their belt already, the BACoE Kids had one last challenge on Sunday as they came up against the Nunawading Spectres. After losing to Mt Gambier on Friday night, the Spectres were not about to let the Kids get one over on them, and started strongly to lead by 9 points and the first break. The Kids pushed back though – and despite by down by 13 points with 6 minutes left in the game, kept fighting and managed to peg the lead back to just 2 points inside 2 minutes. They couldn’t quite get past the Spectres at the Spookhouse and eventually lost their third game of the weekend by just 3 points, 88-85. Dejan Vasilijevic was huge for the Kids with 28 points for the game, Jack McVeigh adding another 23 points to round out his impressive scoring weekend. Shane McDonald led the Spectres scoring with 24 points and 6 assists, Simon Conn racking up 18 points to go with his 14 rebounds and Mitch Creek handy with 14 points and 5 assists for the game.  After enjoying one week in seventh place on the East Conference ladder with their win over Brisbane last week, the Kids now slip back down to 8th after their 0-3 weekend.

While the Kids were taking on Sandringham on Saturday night, the Bendigo Braves travelled to Albury/Wodonga to meet the Bandits at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre. In one of the shock upsets of the round, the Bandits (who had won just one game to date) managed to get up over the Bendigo Braves and pull out a surprising win 95-86 win on their home court. Down by 5 points at halftime, the Bandits came out in the third quarter and outscored their opponents 29-15, and held on for the win in the final term. Bandits import Jamar Briscoe led the way for Albury/Wodonga with 25 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists, while MoMo Ntumba managed 14 points and 8 rebounds in just under 20 minutes of playing time. Nick Payne added 17 points to his team’s win, while for Bendigo Dustin Salisbury led the scoring with 28 points and 7 rebounds. Zach Atkinson managed just 11 points but pulled down 10 boards to go with it, while Perth Wildcats development player Michael Vigor scored 14 points in the Braves loss. It would have been a long drive home for the Braves team, who could have sitting in third place in the tough South Conference had they got the win over Albury, but instead remain in 5th place.

In the Apple Isle, the Hobart Chargers and North West Tasmania Thunder welcomed the Ballarat Miners for their Tassie road double, starting with Hobart on Friday night. After a very rough start to the season, and a thrilling overtime win over Albury/Wodonga last weekend, the Miners needed SOMETHING to get their season back on track. That something was Roy Booker – who turned his clutch gene on for both games on the weekend to help his team get the 2-0 sweep down south. Friday night’s game saw the Miners down by 15 points at three quarter time,  before a come back led by Booker’s 14 fourth quarter points  evened up the score line with just one minute left to play. A three pointer from Ballarat import Ken Horton put the Miners in front for the first time of the game with just 22 seconds left, and a subsequent turnover by the Chargers allowed Booker to get to the line to make two free throws and seal the three point victory for the visitors, 92-89. Booker finished the game with 24 points and 5 assists, Horton managing 18 points and 14 rebounds in the close win. For the Chargers, import Jerrah Young was quiet on the scoreboard, managing just 4 points and shooting at a mere 20%, but came up big on the boards with 15 rebounds. Tom Wright led all scorers with 25 points, while the Chargers second import Khalil Hartwell added 20 points and 7 rebounds. Last week’s POW Deba George contributed 21 points in his team’s loss.

After such a close win against the Hobart Chargers on Friday night, the Miners travelled to Ulverstone to take on the North West Tasmania Thunder, who up until last weekend had been unbeaten in the competition. Proving that they were not unstoppable with losses to both Bendigo and Nunawading, the Thunder were looking to redeem themselves against the Ballarat side. Once again, the Miners made it hard for themselves, having to stage yet another fourth quarter comeback after being down by 17 points with 7 minutes left in the game. Once again it was Booker who led the charge, scoring 12 of his 36 points in the fourth, including the clutch 3 in the dying seconds of the game that snatched the 1 point win for the visiting Miners team, 97-96. Booker also dished out 8 assists for the game, while Ken Horton was solid again with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Anthony Fisher also added 26 points, including 4 out 5 from downtown. For the Thunder, star import BJ Jenkins led their scoring with 28 points to go with 8 rebounds, fellow import Tyrone Lee contributing 18 points and 10 rebounds, while youngster Kyle Clark added 15 points off the bench. Although remaining in 2nd place on the South Conference ladder, the third loss in a row for North West Tasmania sees them move closer to the middle of the pack, now sitting just one win ahead of third placed Kilsyth, who had a bye in Round 7 and did not play.

While the Miners were stamping their authority on the Apple Isle, the Knox Raiders were travelling to the Sunshine State for the re-match against the Brisbane Spartans. With Brisbane getting the chocolates in their first match up earlier in the year, the Raiders were keen for some pay back, and with scores tied up at three quarter time it came down to the final quarter to decide the victor. Unfortunately for Knox it was Brisbane who controlled the final term, outscoring the visitors 35-22 to come out with the 102-89 win. Spartans import Zach Henifin was impressive with 27 points along with 16 rebounds, Dean Brebner also instrumental in the win with 8 of his 14 game points coming in the fourth quarter. Izzy Tueta scored 17 to go with 5 assists for the game while CJ Massingale didn’t quite go into beast mode against his old team as he did in their first meeting, but still managed 15 points and 5 rebounds before fouling out midway through the final quarter. For the Raiders it was Simon Grant who led the scoring with 19 points, Grant also fouling out in the fourth, import Jeff Jones managing 16 points and Rhys Carter adding 14 points to the team’s total. Justin Brown registered a double double with 10 points and 14 rebounds in the Raiders loss, which sees Knox slip to 7th behind the Albury/Wodonga Bandits in the East Conference ladder.

While the Spartans-Raiders re-match was taking place in Brisbane, another rivalry re-match was happening in Dandenong. The Rangers hosted the Frankston Blues, who just a couple of weeks earlier had defeated Dandenong in an overtime thriller. In the previous matchup, Rangers import DQ Montreal went off for 44, but the Rangers lost the game. In this match up, DQ was a little quieter on the scoreboard with “just” 26 points and 9 boards, but the Rangers managed to come up with the win over the visiting Blues, defeating them convincingly, 93-71. Blues import Brandon Polk racked up a double double with 23 points and 11 rebounds, with Chuck Long the only other Blues player to manage double figures, scoring 13 points and grabbing 6 boards in the loss. For the Rangers, Tony Lewis added another 21 points 8 rebounds to his season totals, and Calvin Enge came alive with 15 points, his best game since the opening round against Hobart. Frankston’s weekend woes were not over, as they had to return home on Sunday and come up against the Canberra Gunners, who were stinging from a loss against the Geelong Supercats on Saturday night.

Saturday’s match up between the Gunners and the Supercats was one that on paper should have been easy for the home team – the Gunners having only won one game for the season and the Supercats having lost only one, it was easy to see who the tipsters would pick. But the visiting Canberra side made the Geelong team work for their win, leading from the front for most of the first half. In contrast to other games, where Geelong have led and then backed off and come close to losing, this week they re-gained composure and settled at halftime to control the second half and come up with the 96-87 win.  Nathan Herbert led all scorers with 26 points for Geelong, Mike Mercer adding 20 points and 7 rebounds and Eric Gaffe playing his usual role for the team with 14 points and 8 rebounds. For the Gunners, import Matt Staff finished the game with 25 points, after scoring 15 in the first quarter. He backed that up with 10 rebounds, with Andrew Murphy adding 15 points and second import Garlon Green contributing 14.

With both Frankston and Canberra suffering losses on Saturday night, the game on Sunday became all important for the teams, who are both in the log jammed East Conference. Canberra exploded out of the blocks in the first quarter, outscoring the home team 30-18 – with 20 of those 30 points coming from import Garlon Green, including four treys. The Blues fought back in the second quarter to be trailing by just 3 points at the main break, but the third quarter was controlled by the Gunners again and they broke away to lead by 15 at three quarter time, eventually coming up with just their second win of the season, 97-89. Green finished the game with 27 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists, fellow import Matt Staff pulling down a big 20 boards and adding 15 points to the scoreboard. Anthony Murphy once again rounded out the Gunners top three scorers with 18 points for the game. For the Blues, Brandon Polk put up some big stats with 34 points and 20 rebounds (almost half of their teams total 44 boards), Mitch Chapman adding 18 points and Mike McInnes contributing 15.

With an 0-2 weekend under their belt, the Blues now slip to 7th on the South Conference ladder, while the Gunners may see a glimmer of hope for the season with a second win for the year.

ATF POW this week has to go to Roy Booker, the guard averaging 30 points and 6.5 assists and coming up with the clutch players to guide the Miners to their crucial 2-0 Tassie double weekend. As the winner of this prestigious award, Roy receives double the prize that Deba George received for winning it last week.*

*Double of nothing is still zero, you can check it if you want, but I did pass maths in high school.

Image:  Gavin Male Photography

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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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