Knox Raiders, Bulleen Boomers, Keilor Thunder and the Geelong Cats all finished the Preliminary Rounds undefeated, each holding a 5-0 record and announced themselves as the teams to watch in the first Finals Matches.
For all the Schedules and Results from the tournament go to the Official Championship Website.
Game reports from Day 5 of competition:
Game 61 – Dandenong Rangers (2-Pool B) vs Keilor Thunder (1-Pool C)
The first quarter final saw both Keilor and Dandenong come out strongly. Keilor hit the opening score, and continued to put pressure on the Rangers defence, resulting in foul trouble. Keilor finished the quarter with a 5 point lead, but Dandenong managed to work their way back into the game through some great defence and team play. Kane Annersley hit 6 straight points towards the end of the 2nd, giving the Rangers a 1 point lead at half time. The Thunder set about re-establishing their height, with Simmons and De Leur starting to take control under the basket. The Rangers were hampered by fouls, losing Corey Mackie half way through the 3rd, but still managed to lead by 4 points at the last break. In a see-sawing final term, both sides battled hard. The Rangers looked gone trailing by 6 with under 2 minutes remaining, but managed to hit 2 long range bombs, however Keilors’ Ben Simmons iced the game from the line and the Thunder forced a final play turnover to hold on to win by 3. Marcus De Leur led Keilor with 20 points, while Ben Simmons scored 16. For Dandenong Tim Harmer has a great game with 24 points, while Kane Annersley had 17.
Final score: Keilor 69 defeated Dandenong 66
Game 62 – Logan Thunder (5-Pool A) vs NT South (6-Pool D)
12 points to the Thunder at the beginning of this game set up a very dominant performance. NT got their first score through Chrae Tawhai, but found themselves behind by 20 points. Logan continued on their way in the 2nd quarter with Mitch Brackenbury having a big influence. The Thunder continued to dominate at both ends of the floor but the NT South players never stopped trying throughout the game. Mitch Brackenbury finished with 23 points for Logan, and Patrick Ross had a good 2nd half to score 18. For NT South Chrae Tawhai and Lachlan Dodd-Watson each had 5 points.
Final score: Logan 122 defeated NT South 18
Game 63 – Townsville Heat (5-Pool B) vs NT North (6-Pool C)
Townsville took advantage of their scoring opportunities to take a double figure lead. NT North were playing good basketball, but just unable to capitalise and the Heat continued to dominate the second quarter, with only 3 points scored by NT North. Trent Myles was proving a handful for the NT defence, with 11 first half points. NT North put up a very good 3rd quarter, but Townsville increased their lead by 11 points, and went on to win comfortably. Trent Myles finished with 19 points for Townsville while Brodie Bulman had 16. For NT North Lionel Lai and Lanjce Schmidt each had 8 points.
Final score: Townsville 80 defeated NT North 32
Game 64 – Diamond Valley Eagles (2-Pool A) vs Geelong Cats (1-Pool D)
Geelong and Diamond Valley fought out a very tough and intense quarter final. The Eagles got on the board first in the opening term, but the Cats began to settle better, with Harrison Dolley connecting on 2 long bombs to give his team a 10 point break at quarter time. Geelong’s defence was a factor in the second quarter, with Diamond Valley struggling to find an easy avenue to the basket. Turnovers began to pile up as Geelong established a 12 point half time advantage. The Cats extended their lead in the3rd quarter, with the Eagles starting to tire on defence, and making errors with the ball. The Eagles kept battling away in the final term but the Cats had too many weapons and will now move into the semi finals with plenty of confidence. Top scorers for Geelong Harrison Dolley with 19 points, George Blagojevic with 18, meanwhile for Diamond Valley James Reid and Abiola Akintola each scored 10 points.
Final score: Geelong 67 defeated Diamond Valley 44
Game 65 – Stirling Senators (6-Pool B) vs Runaway Bay (5-Pool C)
Stirling got their game going early in this one; however Runaway Bay took the honours with a 13 to 6 lead at quarter time. Runaway Bay led this game at every change, with a very even contribution from several players. Matthew Hosking was the key player in the Runaway Bay lineup, with a very good second half effort, while Zach Levey and Ashley Litterick worked hard for Stirling. Leading scorers for Runaway Bay Matthew Hosking with 15, 9 points to Jonathon Odlander. For Stirling Zach Levey and Ashley Litterick each scored 8 points.
Final score: Runaway Bay 53 defeated Stirling 33
Game 66 – Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (6-Pool A) vs Rockingham Flames (5-Pool D)
Rockingham began this game very well, applying plenty of pressure on the Manly team. Justin Beard got the Flames going with 8 points in the opening term, giving them a 12 – 7 lead. Manly began to execute in the second quarter, with Daniel Pitcher starting to find his way to the basket and convert from the line. The Sea Eagles reduced the margin by 1 point at half time. Rockingham got going again in the 3rd quarter, with Christopher Tudor scoring 6 points in the term, as the Flames outscored Manly 12 to 5 to lead by 11. The final term was fairly even, but Manly showed some signs of fatigue, and Rockingham finished well to win by 12. Justin Beard top scored with 16 for Rockingham, while for Manly Daniel Pitcher scored 20 points, and Tom Savage 8.
Final score: Rockingham 50 defeated Manly Warringah 38
Game 67 – Knox Raiders (1-Pool B) vs West Adelaide Bearcats (2-Pool C)
The Knox Raiders booked a spot in the semi finals with an all the way victory over West Adelaide in their quarter final matchup. In a fairly low scoring opening term the Raiders held a 13 – 5 advantage. Knox began to lift their intensity in the second quarter, with their shooters beginning to find their range, as well as hitting Marek Toman inside for some easy baskets in the key. The Raiders kept the Bearcats to just 3 points in the 2nd quarter, shooting 16 points to open up a sizable gap. West Adelaide’s (#22) also began to fire for his team in the 3rd quarter, answering Knox’s scores with some nice shooting. Although the 3rd quarter saw both teams score the same points, Knox were well in control. Knox finished the game strongly with Darcy Parkinson hitting 2 quick scores and Liam Wale-Buxton also getting rewarded for some good hustle. The game was punctuated by a big block by Knox’s Isaiah Young in the final minute. Marek Toman led the way for Knox with 20 points; Jayden Hawkes was solid with 13. For West Adelaide Damion Goode was best with 14 points.
Final score: Knox 56 defeated West Adelaide 29
Game 68 – Sturt Sabres (3-Pool A) vs Southern Tigers (4-Pool D)
The Sabres and Tigers got off to a “cat and mouse” start to this contest, with both teams going with fierce intensity. The Tigers got the better of the opening term with a 10 point quarter time lead. Sturt worked their way into the game in the second term with Elliott Richardson a major factor. Both teams scored 10 points apiece in the 3rd quarter, with the Tigers still maintaining a 6 point advantage, and things remained tight all the way through the final quarter, with the Tigers managing to hold on for a very exciting 4 point victory over their intra-state rival. For Southern Tigers Cody Forman scored 18 points while Brett Turner had 13. For Sturt Elliott Richardson led with 12 points, while Jack Turnbull had 11.
Final score: Southern Tigers 49 defeated Sturt 45
Game 69 – North Tasmania (4-Pool A) vs Canberra Nationals (3-Pool D)
Both teams played out a very even first team, the Nationals managed to edge ahead by 2 at the first break. Canberra began to set up their win in the second quarter, scoring 20 points to North Tasmania’s 10. Jimmy Willett had a very impressive quarter; with 7 points to give his side a 34-22 lead. The 3rd quarter saw North Tasmania make a really strong comeback, trailing by just 3 points at the final change. Canberra finished the game strongly with a 17 to 6 final term, led by Jimmy Willett and Riley Habraken to record a 14 point victory. Jimmy Willett top scored for Canberra with 17 points, supported by Andrew Nguyen with 12. For North Tasmania Lachlan Young had 16 points.
Final score: Canberra 65 defeated North Tasmania 51
Game 70 – Bulleen Boomers (1-Pool A) vs Illawarra Hawks (2-Pool B)
With the final place in the semis on the line, both teams were keen to come out at the peak of their game. Illawarra got the scoring underway in a fairly even opening term. Mitchell Naumovski was having a good quarter for the Hawks, as was Reece McKenzie for Bulleen. The Boomers took a 4 point lead, but the Hawks began to work their way back and took a 2 point half time lead. Illawarra’s great play saw the Boomers respond at the start of the 3rd quarter, led by Reece McKenzie. The Boomers’ pressure forced a number of turnovers, resulting in easy baskets as the Boomers put on a scoring run that Illawarra were not able to withstand. The Hawks could only manage 5 points for the quarter as the Boomers were able to rest key players in the final minutes with the game well in hand. Callan Ansell had a huge final quarter, finishing with 28 points, while Reece McKenzie had 17. For Illawarra Nicholas Bagaric top scored with 18 points and Luke McGuire had 9.
Final score: Bulleen 71 defeated Illawarra 51
Game 71 – Albury Cougars (3-Pool B) vs Wanneroo Wolves (4-Pool C)
A slow start to this game, both teams taking some time to work their way into it. The Cougars took the lead at quarter time through Jacob Cincurak. Kale Somers had a strong impact in the second term for Wanneroo, scoring 6 points, but the Cougars again extended their lead to 6 points at the half. Both teams continued to battle hard in the third quarter, with Wanneroo winning the quarter by 2 but Albury remained in front. The scores remained tight in the fourth with Albury relying on Cincurak and Dempsey to get them across the line. Jacob Cincurak led the Cougars with 18 points, while Nick Dempsey had 11. For Wanneroo Kale Somers led with 19 points.
Final score: Albury 45 defeated Wanneroo 40
Game 72 – North West Tasmania (4-Pool B) vs Hills Hornets (3-Pool C)
Honours were shared between both the Thunder and the Hornets, with both teams locked at 12 points after the first quarter. The Thunder were able to edge ahead in the second quarter, taking a 3 point lead at the half. Both teams continued to battle it out in the third, with neither team giving an inch. In a close and exciting finish, North West Tasmania managed to hold on in the final stages to record a 4 point victory. Leading the way for North West Tasmania was Cameron Brown with 14 points, while for Hills Alexander Colli and Ben Schacht each had 11 points.
Final score: North West Tasmania 43 defeated Hills 39