Putting aside the past and focusing on the present has brought the best out of Daniel Joyce and on Saturday night it worked a treat for his Canberra Gunners.
Coming off two losses to open their season, the Gunners went into Dandenong Stadium facing the prospect of losing a third-straight game and adding more doubt to their newly-formed team.
But something happened to the Gunners as the game went on - they didn’t breakdown on defence and their patchy, inconsistent offence suddenly began to click.
Joyce as a starting guard and team captain said his team worked all week on sticking to their offences and changing up their defences.
By doing both on Saturday night they created multiple double-figure scorers and ran up 88 points, way more than their previous two efforts which didn’t reach 60.
“We knew our defence was coming along from our game against Mt Gambier on Friday night but we also knew we had to mix up our defence more,” Joyce said.
“Our offence worked a lot better as well - we have a centre who can shoot in Ben Allen and we have a guy like Daniel Jackson in our side as well so we played inside and out and made use of both of them.
“We have got sets we just had to have faith in running them.”
With less than 30 seconds to play Rangers import Chuck Long tied scores at 86-86 then the Gunners worked down the clock before Joyce left the ball to Gunners import Nnaebuka Anyaorah who drove to the basket then made a floater which gave them their final lead with nine seconds to play.
The Rangers couldn’t score from their final play giving the Gunners a desperately needed win.
Joyce was listed with an assist but said he had no real part in the play.
“We just got Nnaebuka the ball and he made a nice drive to the rack - I’d like to say I had a part in it but I didn’t,” Joyce said.
“After two really tough losses against two good teams - we were pretty happy with that win.
“Actually we were ecstatic - that would be one of the biggest wins we have had since I’ve been in Canberra.”
Joyce finished with a team-high 21 points and six assists while Allen added 19 points, Luke Jamieson 18 points and Anyaorah 16 points.
Jackson’s six points, five boards and four assists belied an invaluable performance as the link man between the inside and outside elements of the offence.
Now a 27 year-old established SEABL player, Joyce said he was benefitting from taking a more balanced approach to his life after being too desperate to be a professional basketballer.
After impressing with the Gunners last season and impressing further while on trial with the Sydney Kings, Joyce made the club’s NBL roster for this past season.
As a backup point guard and defensive stopper, Joyce gave regularly gave the Kings an energetic presence off the bench and has come back to the Gunners looking to add more strings to his game this winter.
He is also fast closing in on completing a degree in human resources which he is studying at university in Wollongong.
Joyce drives from his home in Wollongong into Canberra for Gunners’ commitments and did the same for his Kings’ commitments during the summer.
“Studying was exactly what I needed - I’m focusing on that now and I’ve almost finished my degree,” Joyce said.
“It’s something I can focus on besides basketball.
“I said last year that the NBL is there and if it happens it happens but I’m not going to put pressure on myself - I’m going to go out on court, play the game and have fun.
“Not putting that pressure on is the key.”
As for the Gunners, they will have little time to savour their win over Dandenong as they suit up again on Tuesday night to face cross-town rivals the Centre of Excellence squad at Belconnen Stadium.
“They have some very good kids like Harry Frolling and Jack McVeigh so we will have to be ready,” Joyce said.
“It’s good playing against those kids and I’m sure the COE kids like having a game instead of more training."
*Kilsyth Cobras’ guard Kyle Adnam was on fire against Frankston Blues on Sunday scoring 27 points and adding five rebounds, five assists and two steals.
*Canberra Gunners’ centre Ben Allen had a dominant weekend with 14 points and 18 rebounds against Mt Gambier then added 19 points and seven rebounds in his club’s win over Dandenong on Saturday night.
*Dandenong Rangers star Daequon Montreal again was a force on offence with 26 points and six rebounds against the Gunners.
*Gunners’ captain Daniel Joyce didn't miss out on the action against the Rangers with 21 points, four rebounds and six assists.
*Hobart Chargers’ Kyle Hunt scored 23 points and pulled 11 rebounds in his club’s loss to Geelong on Friday night.
*Geelong Supercats’ import Kimmani Barrett led his side in both away matches in Tasmania with 21 points, seven rebounds against North West Tasmania on Saturday night and 18 points and 11 rebounds in his club’s win over Hobart on Friday night.
*Once again Albury-Wodonga Bandits’ import duo of Donte Nicholas (29 points, eight rebounds, eight steals) and Cory Dixon (19 points, 16 rebounds) fronted their club’s win over Bendigo on Friday night.
*Nicholas (22 points, eight rebounds) and Dixon (21 points, 12 rebounds backed up with another impressive game against Nunawading Spectres on Saturday night.
*Spectres big man Delwan Graham was a force inside against the Bandits with 18 points and 18 rebounds.
*Bendigo Braves’ import Tony Lewis was excellent for his new club with 24 points and 10 rebounds against the Bandits.
*Kilsyth Cobras’ mainstay Tim Lang was a force against Sandringham Sabres on Saturday night scoring 16 points and15 rebounds.
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*Border Mail’s Steve Smith (@stevesmithffx) reports on Albury-Wodonga Bandits’ close win over Bendigo Braves on Friday night. Report: http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/3019791/albury-wodonga-bandits-hold-on-for-second-straight-win/?cs=10
*Geelong Advertiser’s Wes Cusworth (@WesCusworth) writes the Supercats men split their road trip to Tasmania. Report: http://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/sport/local-sport/seabl-supercats-split-trip-to-tasmania/story-fnjuhs0b-1227310661664
*Ballarat Courier’s Melanie Whelan (@Melanie_Whelan) reports on Basketball Australia chief executive Anthony Moore’s presentation on the game’s future and she also wrote an opinion piece on her impressions from his speech. Report: http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3017701/back-to-basketball-basics/?cs=63 Opinion: http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3020019/from-the-press-box-basketballs-bid-to-be-nationally-relevant/?cs=63
*Ballarat Courier also created a gallery from Basketball Australia’s under-18 national championships which were in Ballarat last week. Gallery: http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3005621/basketball-australia-under-18-championships-days-1-4-photos/?cs=70#slide=26
*Leader newspapers' Megan Hustwaite (@MeganHustwaite) put together this story on Gerard Leonard's 300th game in round one. Story: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/sport/veteran-guard-gerard-leonard-played-his-300th-seabl-game-with-kilsyth-last-week-but-a-championship-with-the-cobras-is-the-biggest-goal/story-fnglemo4-1227306191480
- Roy Ward (@rpjward) is a freelance sports writer who has covered the NBA, NBL, WNBL, SEABL and Big V during his career. He will be filing weekly columns on the SEABL men’s and women’s competitions this season. For feedback or suggestions send Roy a tweet or email him email@example.com