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SEABL Round 18 Wrap Up

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While Mt Gambier cemented first place in the South Conference with a win over the North West Tasmania Thunder on Friday night, and Kilsyth locked up third place with the Thunder safe at 2nd, the battle for 4th place raged on between Frankston, Bendigo and Sandringham.

Mt Gambier hosted North West Tasmania on Friday night in the 1 vs 2 battle, and in a close encounter came up with the win thanks to their third quarter where they broke the game open. The 87-79 win came on the back of Erik Burdon’s 24 points and 5 assists and Damian Johnson’s 21 points, 14 rebounds and SEVEN blocks. For the Thunder, import duo Tyrone Lee and BJ Jenkins finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 24 points, 4 rebounds respectively.  Last week’s standout, Nathan Wilson, left the game in the second quarter with a foot injury. The win for the Pioneers has secured first place, and the all important first home final – where Mt Gambier still have not lost a game this season.

The Thunder had to back up on Saturday night against a Sandringham side that was struggling with injury to their newest import, Junior Hairston, who played just 5 minutes for the game. North West Tasmania had their own injury woes with Wilson also ruled out of the game against the Sabres due to the foot injury sustained the night before. Despite 29 points form Tyrone Lee and 28 points from BJ Jenkins, the Thunder fell short of the Sabres and dropped their second game of the weekend, going down 94-86. Sandringham’s Ray Goins has been consistently good for the Sabres and contributed 22 points and 15 rebounds to the win, while Alistair McDonald led the home team’s scoring with 23. Nathan Croswell finished just 1 assist off a double double, the veteran dishing 9 dimes to go with his 19 points. Despite the loss, the Thunder will finish no lower than 2nd place, thanks to the Dandenong Rangers knocking off the third placed Kilsyth Cobras on Saturday night.

Dandenong notched up their 11th win in a row with a close 81-79 win over the Cobras at the Snakepit. Down by 4 points at three quarter time, the Rangers fought back in the fourth and scores were locked level with two and a half minutes to play. The teams traded missed basket after missed basket until Owen Odigie finally made a shot, and drew a foul, with 7 seconds remaining in the game. Odigie missed the bonus but Tony Lewis came up with the rebound to hold on to the ball and keep the Rangers winning streak alive. Tim Lang led all scorers with 24 for the home teamto go with 5 rebounds and 7 assists, with Kyle Adnam and Joel Naburgs adding 17 points each and Auryn Macmillan registering a double double with his 13 points and 10 rebounds. For the winning team, it was Tony Lewis beasting again with 21 points and 15 rebounds, Brent Hobba and DQ Montreal each adding 13 to the team total.

While Dandenong and Kilsyth were battling it out, across town the Knox Raiders were hosting the Ballarat Miners at the State Basketball Centre. Luckily for Knox, both imports managed to show up at the right venue this time around. Unluckily for Ballarat, they were without star import Ken Horton, who was nursing a fractured thumb. The game was a see-saw affair, with Knox having all the momentum in the first quarter and holding the Miners to just 7 points, Ballarat then switching gears in the second quarter to outscore the home team 32-13. The Raiders again had the upper hand in the third winning the quarter 24-12, but a fourth quarter fight back from the Miners saw them storm home to snatch a 77-70 victory on the road. In the absence of Horton, Nathan Sobey exploded with 28 points and 10 rebounds, with Chris Smith also registering a double double with his 16 points and 10 rebounds. Adam Doyle led the scoring for the home side with 18 points, import Delwan Graham adding 15 points and 13 rebounds.

After grinding out those two games, the four teams got together again on Sunday – this time for Dandenong vs Knox and Ballarat vs Kilsyth.  After winning three out of four games prior to Round 17, Knox dropped their second game 88-74 for the weekend against a hotly favoured Dandenong team who made it 12 straight to stay atop the East Conference ladder. Tony Lewis backed up his Saturday night performance with another monster game, scoring 30 points and grabbing 11 rebounds to help guide his team to victory. Newly inked 36er Montreal had 20 points and 7 rebounds in 23 minutes of playing time, while for Knox the highest individual score was 13 points, coming from both Adam Doyle and Delwan Graham.

Over at the Mars Minerdome, Ballarat were proving that they can still win tough games without Ken Horton, handing a 92-79 loss to the Kilsyth Cobras. Nathan Sobey was huge again for the home side, adding 28 points and 10 rebounds to his weekend totals to put himself in contention for player of the week. Import Dyricus Edwards, who was brought in to replace MVP favourite Roy Booker after his season ending Achilles injury, also managed 28 points for the Miners. Tim Lang was again the standout for Kilsyth, scoring 21 points to go with 11 rebounds for the game. Despite the loss, Kilsyth can take comfort in the fact that even if they were to lose their final two games, they have the head to head advantage over all three teams below them, and so can finish no lower than 3rd on the South Conference ladder, guaranteeing them one home final.  Ballarat of course had previously secured their fourth place position in the East, but the two big wins for them this weekend without Horton will give them great confidence in the rest of their team to step up in the import’s absence.

Geelong were hoping for a Nunawading loss up in Brisbane to try and reclaim 2nd place on the East ladder, but despite a strong first quarter from the Spartans they faded early and gave the Spectres the 100-85 win at Carina. In the absence of Scott Kenny, CJ Massingale had his best game since May, knocking down 21 points to lead the Spartans scoring. Dean Brebner was next with 20 points but turnovers were costly for the home side. 2013 SEABL MVP Shane McDonald had one of his best games of the year with 25 points and 9 assists, while Tommy Greer continued his recent good form with 17 points and 16 rebounds.

Meanwhile in the nation’s capital, the Canberra Gunners and the Albury/Wodonga Bandits were locked in a close battle that came down to the wire. With several lead changes in the final quarter, it was Bandits Nick Payne who levelled the scores with just 12 seconds left to play. A timeout to the Gunners  saw them get the ball to Daniel Joyce, who made the hero shot to give the home team the 2 point lead with 4 seconds left in the game. Another time out to the Bandits this time, but Nick Payne’s hail mary 3 point attempt fell short, giving the Gunners the win 81-79. Canberra import Garlon Green led all scorers with 26 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists, while Daniel Joyce scored 16 for the game. Nick Payne finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists for Albury/Wodonga, with both Cristan Lamar-Mallory and Alex Opacic also registering double doubles, the former with 10 points, 10 rebounds and the latter with 18 points 12 rebounds.

In the all important South Conference clash between the Frankston Blues and the Bendigo Braves, the Blues kept their play off hopes alive with a thrilling one point win on their home court in OT. It was Chuck Long (who appears to have been given the nickname “Clutch Long” according to the Frankston twitter page) who iced two free throws with less than 2 seconds remaining to tie the scores up at the end of regulation and send the game to overtime, where again it came down to the wire – the Blues getting the 83-82 win over the Braves. Long finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds for the game but it was Brandon Polk who shone with 30 points and 13 rebounds for the victors. Braves import Zach Atkinson put up some impressive numbers too, with 24 points and 15 rebounds, with Dustin Salisbery and Kevin Probert each contributing 13 points.

The win for Frankston, and the loss for Bendigo, means that the Blues, Braves and Sabres are locked in a three way battle for the last spot in the South Conference playoffs. All teams could potentially finish on the same win/loss record, with an all important match up this weekend between Frankston and Sandringham that could decide a lot.

After losing to their conference rivals, Bendigo returned home on Sunday to take on the Hobart Chargers, but before heading to Braves country the Chargers travelled to Geelong to face the Supercats. After 3 losses in a row, Geelong were keen to get back on the winners list and continue to push for a top two finish. Hobart were outscored in every quarter, despite five 3 pointers from Deba George to finish with 28 points, the Chargers went down 99-83 at the Geelong Arena.  Anthony White Jr had his best game since joining the Supercats as a replacement for the injured Mike Mercer, finishing with 31 points and 8 rebounds. Nathan Herbert contributed 21 points and 6 rebounds to the team totals with Eric Gaff solid for the Supercats with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Chargers import Khalil Hartwell was big for the visitors, scoring 24 points and grabbing 14 rebounds for the game. The Chargers starting five played the majority of minutes, with George and Hartwell playing the full 40 each.

Tiredness was clearly a factor in their second game of the weekend against Bendigo on Sunday, with George going 0 from 10 from beyond the arc and managing just 9 points for the game after 28 the night before. Khalil Hartwell had a big 21 rebounds to go with 18 points while Tom Wright led the Chargers scoring with 21. It wasn’t enough to knock off Bendigo, who had a lot to play for after losing to Frankston the night before, and the home team took the W 91-83. Josh Wilcher led the way for the Braves with 21 points while Dustin Salisbery added another 20 points and 11 rebounds for the weekend.

With just two rounds left to play the battle rages on for fourth spot in the South, and for top three positioning in the East. Who will snare the last play off berth? Who will get the all important home final and double chance to make the Conference final? All will be revealed, stay tuned!

Image: WP 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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