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SEABL Round 8 Wrap Up

roybooker

After an undefeated streak of 10 wins, the Mt Gambier Pioneers dropped their first game of the season on Saturday night, against the Ballarat Miners. No, that’s not a misprint, the team that was sitting with a 4-4 record came out with the biggest scalp of the year to date and defeated the Pioneers 97-80 at the Mars Minerdome on Saturday night. Last week’s player of the week Roy Booker had his second 40 point game for the year – to go along with a handy 11 assists for the game. His 40 including 9 from 12 from beyond the arc and a field goal percentage of an impressive 82.4%. Fellow import Ken Horton was big on the boards with 19 to go with his 12 points, while Nathan Sobey suited up for the Miners for the first time this year and managed 13 points in his first appearance. The Pioneers travelled without Brad Hill, who was attending Sydney Kings teammate Tom Garlepp’s wedding. Tom Daly top scored for Mt Gambier with 24 points and 5 rebounds, Ben Allen contributing 19 points and 8 rebounds, and import Damian Johnson adding 16 points in the Mountain Men’s first loss of the season.

With the rest of the league’s mouths still open from the shock win on Saturday night, the Miners backed up on Sunday with another stellar performance from Booker to defeat the Dandenong Rangers. After Booker dropped 40 on the Pioneers, the Rangers weren’t about to let that happen to them, and double teamed the guard for much of the game, which allowed him to dish off an impressive 14 assists to go with his 18 points, and helped teammate Ken Horton on the way to 34 points to get the Miners their second win of the weekend and their 5th win in a row. The Rangers fought to come back from being down by as much as 21 in the third quarter to get back to within 2 points in the last, but despite DQ Montreal’s 28 points and Tony Lewis’ 20 points and 15 rebounds, Dandenong could not get the lead and eventual fell by 10 points, 81-91.

The second 2-0 weekend in a row for the Miners has seen them leap frog the Rangers and settle into 3rd spot on the East Conference. Dandenong remain in 4th, thanks to their 101-84 win over the Sandringham Sabres the night before. Scoring 39 points in the first quarter, the Rangers steadily outscored the Sabres in all but the final term, with Montreal and Lewis each recording a double double, Montreal with 27 points and 12 rebounds and Lewis finishing with 23 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists. The import duo for Sandringham were also the scorers for their team, Ray Goins nabbing his own double double with 24 points and 10 rebounds, and an impressive shooting percentage of 71.4%. Mike Moore added another 21 points in the Sabres only game for the round. Sandringham have now lost 4 out of their last 5 games and currently sit in 6th place on the South Conference ladder.

In the sunshine state, the Brisbane Spartans welcomed the Hobart Chargers on Friday night. Sans Scott Kenny, the Spartans team still managed to find scoring options, with CJ Massingale finally finding some shots after a mini-slump and scoring 22 points to go with 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Izzy Tueta was leading scorer for the home team with 25 points, plus 4 rebounds and 5 assists for the night. The fourth quarter was the turning point in the game, with the Chargers leading by 9 points Brisbane came out in the final term and scored 21 points unanswered before Deba George hit two free throws to get the first of the quarter points for the Hobart team at almost the 7 minute mark. From there, the Chargers managed only 4 more points for the quarter, Brisbane holding them to a total of just 6 points in the final term, to come out victorious with an 89-77 win. Hobart’s Deba George did all he could with 34 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists, backed up by import Jerrah Young with 20 points and 13 rebounds, but giving up the lead like that in the last quarter is a huge blow to the inconsistent Chargers team that can’t seem to find the chemistry they need.

Following the loss in Brisbane on Friday night, the Chargers headed to Australia’s capital to take on the Canberra Gunners on Saturday night. Trailing by 7 points at three quarter time, Hobart mounted their own fourth quarter comeback against the Gunners and managed to turn their game around and get the win they needed, defeating the home team in the end 81-77. Leading by just 2 points with 8 seconds left, Deba George iced two free throws to put his team out by 4 points and hold on for the win. It was another high scoring game for George, who managed 35 points and 6 rebounds, Jerrah Young adding another 18 points and 12 rebounds to his weekend’s totals. For Canberra it was Daniel Jackson who led their scoring with 18 points, import Garlon Green contributing 16 while Matt Staff was quiet on the scoreboard with 6 but did pull down 16 boards for the night. The 1-1 weekend for the Chargers holds them steady in 4th place on the South Conference, thanks to losses from the two teams below them for the weekend also.

Canberra also went 1-1 for the weekend – prior to their loss to Hobart on Saturday night, the Gunners visited the Kids for the Capital City Clash on Friday night. In a high scoring affair, the Gunners managed to take control in the third quarter and eventually come out with the win over the BA CoE, 111-98. With several players missing due to Under 17 National commitments, Jack McVeigh had his best game of the season for the kids, going off for 34 points and just one rebound shy of a double double with 9. Xavier Cooks was handy with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while for the Gunners it was Garlon Green with 36 points and Matt Staff with 22 who led the way. Although just the third win for the Gunners this year, they still sit only three games behind third place in the South Conference, and as we’ve seen so far already this year, any team can win on any given night.

After losing to the Gunners on Friday night, the Kids headed to Albury to take on the Bandits, who were fresh off their exuberant win over the Bendigo Braves last week. In another high scoring game (defense anyone?), the Bandits outscored the Kids 26-10 in the second quarter to set up their eventual 104-87 win at the Lauren Jackson Stadium. It was an even spread of scoring for Albury/Wodonga, with no less than 7 players scoring in double figures. Led by Jamar Briscoe with 21 points, Alex Opacic also added 19, while Alex Bogart-King scored 17 to go with a game high 9 rebounds. Gabriel Hadley was the leading scorer for the Kids this time around with 23 points, George Blagojevic adding 18 points and Jack McVeigh another 16 for the weekend. Like the Gunners, the Bandits have won just three games for the season, but sit in 6th place on the East Conference ladder above the Kids and the Knox Raiders.

Speaking of Knox, the Raiders team lost their fourth game in a row on Saturday night as they fell to the Bendigo Braves. The brilliant shooting we have seen from Adam Doyle in earlier games was absent in the 100-92 loss by the visiting Knox side, while Adelaide 26ers teammate Rhys Carter also seems to be struggling to find his form. Carter led the scoring for Knox with 19, with import Delwan Graham adding 17 points but fellow import Jeff Jones playing just 14 minutes for 6 points. The Braves import duo of Zach Atkinson and Dustin Salisbury scored 22 and 23 points respectively, the former also grabbing 18 rebounds. Josh Wilcher managed 16 points in his fourth game for his new club, while local Taylor Bell had his best game of the season  with 15 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. The win for Bendigo keeps them in 3rd place in the South Conference with a 6-5 record, but only on percentage as Hobart also have a 6-5 record in 4th place.

The Braves may have the North West Tasmania Thunder to thank for their 3rd place right now, as the Thunder defeated the Kilsyth Cobras on Saturday night to push them back down to 5th with a 5-5 record below both Bendigo and Hobart. Joel Naburgs returned to the Kilsyth side for the first time since early April after breaking his finger, and made an impact with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Tim Lang managed 17 points before fouling out while youngster Kyle Adnam continued his good form with 18 points. The Cobras trailed the Thunder for almost the entire game, and although never giving them too much of a lead they were unable to push forward and get in front at any stage. BJ Jenkins led all scorers with 27 points for the North West Tassie team, plus 5 rebounds and 4 steals, fellow import Tyrone Lee adding 20 points and 8 rebounds to the team’s win 88-81 win.

After losing their last three games in a row, the Thunder came on their Melbourne road trip determined to reclaim their winning ways. With a solid win over Kilsyth on Saturday night, they backed it up on Sunday with another victory over the Frankston Blues. Down by 10 points at three quarter time, the Blues didn’t make it easy for the Thunder to get their second win, fighting back in the fourth to get to within 1 point with just over 2 minutes left in the game. A three from BJ Jenkins gave the Thunder a little bit of breathing room, but it came down to free throws for both teams, and the Thunder pushed their lead out to 7 points before a final 3 from Brandon Polk on the buzzer made it a 4 point win for the visiting team, 83-79. Jenkins was again leading scoring for the Thunder with 23 points, but was joined by teammate Nathan Wilson who also scored 23 and also grabbed 15 rebounds. Brandon Polk finished with 18 points and 10 boards for the Blues, with Mike McInnes adding 16 and Ben Louis 10 points to go with 8 rebounds. It’s another tough loss for Frankston who stay in 7th place in the South Conference, just above the Gunners on the bottom. North West Tasmania remain in 2nd place in the South, two games ahead of the 3rd place Bendigo.

In the “nail biter of the week” (just one game this week, unusual), the Geelong Supercats pulled off a spectacular win over the Nunawading Spectres on Saturday night. Don’t take my word for it, watch the final seconds of the game for yourself here. With 25 seconds left to play and the Supercats up by 1 point, Simon Conn scored in the paint to give the Spectres a 1 point lead and just 5 seconds left on the game clock. A timeout by the Supercats advanced the ball, where Mike Mercer inbound the ball to Ash Cannan, who dished it to Eric Gaff, who nailed the long range jumper right on the buzzer to give the Supercats the win, 85-84. Gaff had gone 0-5 from the field all night but hit the winning shot right when it counted. Ash Cannan continued his form for the season with 17 points and 9 rebounds for the game, while Mike Mercer led the Supercats scorers with 22 points, Nick Owusu also adding 21 to the team total. For the Spectres, 2013 MVP Shane McDonald was instrumental with 23 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists, while Simon Conn and Tommy Greer each recorded a double double in the points and rebounds categories, Conn 22 and 12 and Greer with 11 and 11. Always a fierce contest between these two teams, Saturday night was no exception, with Geelong getting the chocolates this time around and maintaining their first place position in the East Conference, having now won five in a row. A heartbreaking loss for the Spectres who were literally within seconds of equalling the Supercats win-loss record for the season, but they remain in second place in the East.

Not really that tough to pick an ATF player of the week this week – he did get it last week as well, but you really can’t give it to any other player when a guy scores 40 one night and then dishes 14 assists the next day to lead his team to a 2-0 weekend – not to mention the fact that the 40 points he did score was on a team that up until that point were undefeated in the league. So congratulations Roy Booker, you’ve picked up your second ATF POW award, cheque is in the mail.

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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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