All seemed peaceful, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaching a record level (11,722.98 on the 14th of January).
The aftershocks of the announcement that Time Warner and America Online (AOL) were to merge were still spreading across the business world. This combination of old and new media companies would create a behemoth built upon a mountain of debt. Little wonder then that Alan Greenspan, testifying to his nomination for a fourth term as Chairman of the US Federal Reserve Board, hailed the ‘new economy’ as the path to ever-lasting riches for all. Across the Atlantic, two major legal stories:
1. Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet is ruled as unfit to stand trial in Spain on charges of torture and assassination during his 17 year hold on power. The decision causes outrage and various human rights groups begin moves to have the decision reversed in the International Court of Justice.
2. Historian (and Holocaust denier) David Irving’s case for libel against Penguin Books and American author Deborah Lipstadt commences in London’s High Court of Justice. The trial begins sensationally when counsel for Penguin Books, Richard Rampton QC, says of Irving ‘To put it bluntly, he is a liar.’
In other news and notes:
-The future of music consumption is unveiled as MP3.com unveils their latest range that allows users to take their music anywhere.
-Sydney’s Kingsford-Smith Airport celebrates its 80th birthday.
-Three key participants in the greatest World Series ever played (1975) are elected together into Baseball’s Hall of Fame: Boston Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk and Cincinnati Reds first baseman Tony Perez, along with Perez’s manager Sparky Anderson.
- First Lady of the United States Hillary Clinton makes a notable appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman as her campaign for a U.S. Senate seat gathers momentum.
-Two notable deaths:
*Betty Archdale, the former headmistress of Abbotsleigh, one of Sydney’s most exclusive private schools for girls (and captain of the first English women’s cricket team to visit Australia in 1933).
*Zeljko Raznatovic (known as ‘Arkan’), one of the most ruthless leaders of Serbia’s paramilitary forces in the Yugoslav Civil War, is assassinated in the Inter-Continental Hotel in Belgrade.
-The NFL’s New York Jets is sold for US$635 million, the third highest amount ever paid for a professional sporting franchise in the United States at the time.
-Pakistan pace bowler Shoaib Akhtar is reported to be only days away from returning to international cricket following a month-long ban for an illegal bowling action. It is reported that Pakistan cricket officials threatened to sever all ties with the ICC (International Cricket Council) if Shoaib was not reinstated.
- I Try, What a Girl Wants and The Masses against the Classes are stationed at the pinnacle of the music charts.
- Three Kings, Snow Falling on Cedars and The Cider House Rules play to appreciative Australian cinema-goers.
So that’s what was happening outside the courts. We now turn our gaze towards the action inside the lines...
In the NBL (home team first):
Adelaide 124 - Sydney 99
Sydney kept it close in the first quarter by only being down by four. Then Adelaide turned on the jets in the second quarter (37-19) and the door was shut. Brett Maher with 33 points (including 6-of-9 from beyond the arc) was in command as the Sixers recorded their ninth straight victory and confirmed their status as clear championship favourites.
Townsville 102 - Melbourne 97
Townsville edged closer to an appearance in the playoffs with an important win at home. Robert Rose was in magical form scoring 22 points, garnering 16 rebounds and handing out 7 assists. Mark Bradtke manfully carried the load for the Tigers on this night, scoring 29 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.
Brisbane 99 - Wollongong 90
In a game without any playoff implications, the Bullets collected their second successive win against the higher-ranked Hawks, who had now lost three in a row.
Cairns 82 - Melbourne 109
The Melbourne Tigers are able to split ‘The Sunshine Swing’ with a comfortable victory over the lowly Taipans. Andrew Gaze rips off a game-high 39 points and is supported by Lanard Copeland with 28. This is the Taipans’ third loss in a row.
Perth 106 - Sydney 91
A bad weekend for the Kings only becomes worse as they are swept aside by the Wildcats, who are almost unbeatable in the Perth Entertainment Centre. Paul Rogers is magnificent for Perth, with 32 points at a 72% clip from the field. There is a further boost to the Wildcats hopes for a fourth NBL championship, with the signing of import Marcus Timmons in the run to the playoffs.
West Sydney 95 - Townsville 102
The two previous meetings between these two clubs had been close, hard-fought affairs with their share of controversies. Despite the scoreline, it would not be the same here. Pat Reidy scores 13 of his 28 points in the third quarter as Townsville coast to victory. Crocs coach Ian Stacker reckons that with one more win, they’re in the playoffs for the first time in club history.
In Round 13 of the WNBL:
Adelaide 51 - Dandenong 61
A fast start and fanatical defence guarantees Dandenong their first ever win against the Lightning in Adelaide. Jessica Bibby led all scorers with 15 points, but the real star for the Rangers was Allie Douglas. Her defensive job on Carla Porter (holding Porter scoreless) combined with 13 points and 13 rebounds was a major factor in Dandenong’s success.
AIS 53 - Melbourne 85
Melbourne continued the Students’ season of woe with an assured victory at the Training Hall. Import Kristen Folkl was again the star for the Tigers with 25 points.
Perth 68 - Dandenong 73
Teenage sensation Penny Taylor kept the Rangers’ playoff hopes alive with a game-high 26 points as Dandenong completed a sweep of their ‘Doomsday Double’. Tully Bevilaqua’s 25 points was not enough to save the Breakers, who had now joined a five team dog-fight, with two games between 2nd and 7th.
Canberra 61 - Melbourne 66
This was the upset of the round, as the league-leading Capitals were knocked off on their home floor. Kristen Folkl scored 25 points for Melbourne, polishing her credentials for a place in the League’s All-Star Five. The Tigers also had some luck, with Canberra superstar Lauren Jackson spraining her left thumb at training and playing at less than 100 per cent efficiency.
The ladders at the end of the week were:
Adelaide 16 and 3
Perth 14 and 5
Townsville 13 and 5
Victoria 12 and 5
West Sydney 10 and 9
Melbourne 9 and 9
Sydney 9 and 11
Wollongong 6 and 12
Canberra 5 and 12
Brisbane 5 and 14
Cairns 2 and 16
Canberra 11 and 5
Adelaide 9 and 6
Perth 9 and 6
Sydney 8 and 7
Bulleen 8 and 7
Dandenong 8 and 7
Melbourne 7 and 8
AIS 1 and 15
This is the fourteenth in a regular series of articles that will take note of the historic events of the modern era of Australian basketball (1979-today). If you have memories to share, or topics that should be discussed, send an email to Nicholas.Way@Basketball.net.au and put in the subject line ‘Back in the Day.’