The Frankston RSL Blues dismantled the Canberra Gunners in Round 4 of the 2018 SEABL season to register their much-anticipated first win of the season by 24 points.
Powered by a team effort, the Blues received quality scoring production from their star trio Bennie Lewis (24 points), Aaron Ross (15 points and 11 rebounds) and Sam Muldrow (26 points) to shoot down the Gunners at their home court. Opening up a 5 point first-term lead, the Blues won every quarter, overpowering Canberra 30-15 in the third period before closing strongly to avoid a repeat of the final quarter capitulation to Dandenong on ANZAC Day.
It was Muldrow yet again who set the tone for the Blues early, opening the game with a massive dunk as he scored at will both inside and out as the Gunners quickly discovered they would have their hands full. For the visitors, it was Daniel Joyce who was on target from beyond the arc, combining well with Ben Allen from long-range to keep the Gunners in the contest, but Muldrow’s 11 first quarter points had the Blues in command.
After the first break, it began raining three-pointers. Lewis drained a step-back triple to get things moving before Joyce responded with one of his own. Jarryd Moss and Lewis continued to fire from deep with success, while Canberra’s Jarrod Fenwick also got in on the action. Muldrow capped a massive block at one end with a trey of his own at the other to put the Blues ahead by 11. The Gunners continued to fire from deep, with Fenwick, Joyce and Adam Gavranich all dialing long distance. While Lewis would strike again from deep, Joyce ended the half with his 5th trey of the game to close the margin back to 7 points, as the Gunners (6-8 3PT) and the Blues (5-5 3PT) combined for 11 three-pointers in a hot-shooting period.
The Blues lifted to another level after half time, shutting down the Gunners perimeter shooting while Muldrow, Ross and Lewis continued to shoulder the bulk of the scoring for the home side. A massive Muldrow dunk had the crowd on their feet and the Blues in front by 20 points and in total control of the game. Muldrow and then some late scoring by Jake Macauley pushed the margin out to 24 heading into the home stretch.
Desperate to avoid another fourth quarter collapse, the Blues showed no signs of slowing against the Gunners who continued to misfire. When the Captain swished his first triple of the game with just over 1 minute to go, the Blues were well and truly home, blowing the Gunners out in an impressive 98-74 victory.
It was a complete 4 quarter effort from the Blues who shot a sizzling hot 58.3% from inside the arc and an even better 64.7% from beyond it (11-17).
Muldrow was a standout, shooting 10-14 from the field for his game-high 26 points, including 3 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. Ross was workmanlike in compiling a 15 point and 11 rebound double-double, while Lewis was at his electric best in adding 24 points that included 5-6 from three-point territory alongside 5 rebounds and 4 steals. Macauley continued his solid season in adding 11 points and 5 assists.
Joyce’s hot first half saw him finish with 22 points (5-10 3PT) with 4 assists, while next best was Fenwick with 16 points, while Glen Morrison added 12 points and 6 rebounds and Ben Allen added 10 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
The Blues remain at home next Saturday when they host the reigning champion Mount Gambier Pioneers. With a fit and firing roster, the Blues may well provide the Pioneers with the sternest test of the season, with the game tipping off at 8:30pm.