This is another 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.’
2012-13 Season Week Fifteen: Farewell to the Masters.
- The newly ensconced Rudd Government points to a touch first Budget after the yearly inflation rate rises to 3.6% in the December quarter, well outside the comfort zones of Treasury and the Reserve Bank. With an interest rate rise now seen as inevitable, Treasurer Wayne Swan warns the country of at best 18 months of economic pain before the good times come again. The sharp rise is attributed to fuel costs, which shoot up by 7.3%.
- The darkening economic outlook for Australia is matched and in many cases dwarfed by the scene globally. The virus of a collapsing market in sub-prime mortgages in the United States is spreading across the planet with the toll of greed rising ever higher. The latest scandal comes from France’s Société Générale bank, who reveals that a former employee has cost them A$8.2 billion in a series of fraudulent trades. What is more frightening is that but for a slight accounting error, the final sum could have been ten times that amount!
- With such an ugly landscape coming into view, it is surprising that the race for the office of President of the United States is so heated. Insurgent Illinois Senator Barack Obama claims a fine victory in South Carolina’s Democratic primary but it is overshadowed by some unfortunate comments by former President Bill Clinton that more than hint it was Obama's race that won him the state.
- Closer to home an era in Australian letters is brought to a close with the publication of the final edition of The Bulletin magazine. For over a century writers of the calibre of Henry Lawson, Donald Horne, Trevor Sykes and Laurie Oakes had made history in its pages. The combination of falling sales and the struggles of a news-magazine to remain relevant in the Internet age meant that now The Bulletin would become part of that history.
- Six months after finally entering 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister, Gordon Brown is forced to smother another outbreak of the ongoing scandal concerning political donations to the Labour Party. Work and Pensions Secretary Peter Hain resigns when the late declaration of £100,000 donated to his campaign for the deputy leadership of the Party is referred to the Metropolitan Police. The golden summer of 2007 seems a long way away.
- Fashion designer to legends Valentino departs on a high with his final haute couture show, held on the grounds of the Rodin Museum in Paris. A star-studded audience of 800 guests, including many of ‘Val’s gals’ sees a final flourish from the master, as the show ends with 30 models strutting the stage in identical red dresses.
- The Adelaide Oval plays host to an unforgettable Fourth Test in the battle for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Indian batting genius Sachin Tendulkar scores a glorious 153 in what is believed to be his final test in Australia (he would return); on the opposite side Australian wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist stuns the cricket world by announcing his retirement mid-way through the match. The match finishes in a draw and Australia wins the series 2-1.
- Notable deaths during the week included the former Indonesian President Suharto (at the age of 86), one time First Daughter and future mystery novelist Margaret Truman (at the age of 84), president of the Mormon Church Gordon Hinckley (at the age of 97), Palestinian terrorist leader George Habash (at the age of 81) and self-styled irritant to the bombastic Padriac Pearse McGuinness (at the age of 69).
NBL Round Nineteen, WNBL Round Sixteen
Wednesday 23rd January 2008
NBL Game One: Melbourne Tigers @Adelaide 36ers
Final score: Tigers 113-36ers 108
Julius Hodge’s 13 points in the fourth quarter were not enough to drag the 36ers over the line in a game they had to win if they wanted to make the play-offs and reportedly save Phil Smyth’s job. Though glad with getting the victory, members of the Tigers squad expressed their disquiet after the match that the margin was not bigger, that they had not done more to decimate their opponents. They pledged that this would change; starting on Saturday against the Slingers.
NBL Game Two: South Dragons @Sydney Kings
Final score: Kings 106-Dragons 72
Sydney improved their home record to 11-1 with a thumping triumph over the struggling Dragons. After a first quarter which saw the two teams combine to shoot 13/42 (31%) from the field the home side ramped it up in the second period with an 18-3 run that ended the match as a contest. Those NBA scouts who had travelled to the Emerald City to see South’s wunderkind Joe Ingles went home disappointed: Ingles scored 13 points (most of those in ‘garbage time’) and turned the ball over six times.
Thursday 24th January 2008
NBL Game Three: West Sydney Razorbacks @New Zealand Breakers
Final score: Breakers 109-Razorbacks 95
New Zealand’s basketball community was starting to get excited as the Breakers continued their march towards a first-ever ANBL play-off appearance with a comfortable victory over the Razorbacks. Despite an extraordinary differential in free throw attempts (48 to 17) the home side rode the hot hands of Phill Jones (22 on 8/13) and Derrick Alston (21 on 8/11 along with 11 rebounds) to cement eighth position on the ladder.
Milestone Alert: Paul Henare plays his 150th NBL game.
Friday 25th January 2008
NBL Game Four: Cairns Taipans @Townsville Crocodiles
Final score: Crocodiles 120-Taipans 113
Few ‘Reptile Rumbles’ had been more important than this one with the prize of a possible home final in the first week of the play-offs on the line. In a high-quality contest where both teams shot over 50% from the field, a 42-23 second quarter by the Crocs gave them an advantage they would never relinquish. Kelvin Robertson led Townsville’s score-sheet with 37 points that included 7/10 from beyond the three-point line.
NBL Game Five: South Dragons @Wollongong Hawks
Final score: Hawks 91-Dragons 89
A three-pointer by Dragons reject Kavossy Franklin with fifteen seconds left in the game condemned South to their twelfth straight defeat and further loosened Shane Heal’s grip on his position as player-coach. Following a pair of three-pointers from Jacob Holmes that had dragged the visitors to a one point lead, Franklin’s long bomb gave coach Eric Cooks something to smile about in what had been a tough season.
Milestone Alert: Wollongong’s Mat Campbell plays his 400th NBL game.
NBL Game Six: Perth Wildcats @Brisbane Bullets
Final score: Wildcats 105-Bullets 95
At the post-match press conference Brisbane coach Joey Wright was steaming: “We let them be bullies, they pushed us around and they beat it out of us.” In a hard-nosed and physical contest, Perth out-muscled their opponents in the final term 34-22 and locked down fourth spot on the ladder. The only cloud on the Wildcats’ horizon was a possible trip to the Tribunal for forward/centre Alex Loughton after he threw a crude elbow at Dylan Boucher in the final period.
WNBL Game One: Bulleen Boomers @A.I.S
Final score: A.I.S 75-Boomers 71
WNBL Game Two: Sydney Uni Flames @Christchurch Sirens
Final score: Flames 71-Sirens 56
The Flames became only the second team in the 2007-08 season to grab a victory across the Tasman. MVP candidate Natalie Porter led the way for the visitors with a game high 24 points. The win assured the Flames of at least a share of second place on the League ladder and a double chance at finals time.
WNBL Game Three: Adelaide Lightning @Bendigo Spirit
Final score: Lightning 101-Spirit 76
Meanwhile at the Schweppes Centre Sydney Uni’s oldest enemy sealed up the minor premiership with a demolition of the Spirit. Jessica Foley hit four three pointers to get the show started; Renae Camino then racked up 12 of her 22 points in the third quarter to finish the job. The minor premiership was a significant achievement for a team who had been in crisis at the start of the season following the shock sacking of head coach Chris Lucas and the resulting fall-out. Vicki Valk’s charges were now warm favourites to claim the club’s fifth WNBL championship.
WNBL Game Four: Perth Lynx @Canberra Capitals
Final score: Capitals 89-Lynx 56
Canberra was also rolling towards yet another appearance in the play-offs: their comfortable victory over the Lynx was their sixth in a row. Capitals coach Carrie Graf took the opportunity to give several of her bench players extended court time and they responded well to the challenge. Abby Bishop led the way for the home side with 19 points, giving her plenty of reasons to enjoy the next week in her then role as a part-time nanny.
Milestone Alert: Kellie Abrams plays her 200th game for Canberra.
Saturday 26th January 2008
NBL Game Seven: Singapore Slingers @Melbourne Tigers
Final score: Tigers 115-Slingers 82
The Tigers were not troubled by a woeful Slingers team and won at a trot. David Barlow led the scoring for the home side with 24 points while Chris Anstey had a comparatively quiet night scoring only 12 points. Despite the relatively easy nature of the victory, it was important in that Melbourne’s chances of a top two finish to the season were still very much alive. The Tigers and Brisbane had second spot between them with Sydney almost assured of their fourth minor premiership in six seasons.
NBL Game Eight: Perth Wildcats @Gold Coast Blaze
Final score: Blaze 88-Wildcats 84
Perth’s plan to sweep their trip to South East Queensland came a cropper as the Blaze worked towards a home final with a hard-fought victory at the Gold Coast Convention Centre. Shaun Redhage’s 24 points was not enough to grab the win for the Wildcats. The main point of interest post-match was a complaint by the Gold Coast that Perth’s Alex Loughton should have been penalised for a fracas with Ben Melmeth that saw the Blaze centre hit with an unsportsmanlike foul. With Loughton set to face the Tribunal over the clash with Boucher the previous night Perth was relieved that no further action was taken over the incident.
NBL Game Nine: Adelaide 36ers @Cairns Taipans
Final score: 36ers 111-Taipans 105
The 36ers gave thanks that Julius Hodge, Adam Ballinger and Darren Ng were on their side after this triple threat came together to shred the Cairns defence. Hodge achieved a career high in scoring 39 points (on 15/24 from the field) , grabbing ten rebounds and dishing five assists; Ballinger had 36 points and ten rebounds (on 14/25 shooting) while Ng garnered 24 points and six rebounds. They set an NBL record for the longest period with only three scorers: 32:20 or over two and a half quarters (12 minute quarters were then in use.)
WNBL Game Five: Dandenong Rangers @Townsville Fire
Final score: Rangers 64-Fire 60
WNBL Game Six: Perth Lynx @A.I.S
Final score: Lynx 76-A.I.S 73
In the first game of a double-header at the A.I.S Arena a great night was had by the Lynx players as they ended a twelve-game losing streak with a fine victory over the Students. Sam Richards showed the value of her recruitment to the West leading all scorers with 28 points and strengthening her credentials for consideration for the Olympic squad, to be named after the WNBL season. Mia Newley was the top-scorer for the Institute with 19 points.
WNBL Game Seven: Bulleen Boomers @Canberra Capitals
Final score: Capitals 83-Boomers 67
The match that the disappointing crowd of 980 had come to see was the meeting of Bulleen and Canberra. They went home happy after Abby Bishop torched the Boomers for 25 points and 14 rebounds while guaranteeing the Capitals their fifth win in succession. Canberra coach Carrie Graf felt after the match that the margin of victory flattered her team with Bulleen proving to be much more competitive than was indicated.
Monday 28th January 2008
WNBL Game Eight: Dandenong Rangers @Sydney Uni Flames
Final score: Flames 73-Rangers 61
This match had originally been scheduled for January 18th, but a thunderstorm just prior to tip-off rendered the court at Sydney Uni Sports and Aquatic Centre unplayable due to its slipperiness. Dandenong officials had in fact argued to the League that the Flames should have been forced to forfeit the game but the request was denied. In the end it was the strength and presence of Natalie Porter that determined the result; while scoring 27 points at one end, Porter’s defence blotted out the Rangers’ inside game.