Round 7 of the 2018 SEABL saw the Frankston Blues men’s and women’s sides drop both legs of their back-to-back games against Ballarat and Melbourne.
On Saturday night both sides made the trip up to Ballarat, yet both returned home empty-handed.
The Carrum Downs Laser Electrical Blues women finished with a flurry against the Rush, yet the home side held on for a narrow 82-78 win largely thanks to a 34 point second quarter onslaught [Box Score]. Stacey Barr and Toccara Ross were sensational for the Blues, yet 31 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists from Barr and 24 point and 17 rebounds was not enough as the Blues were unable to cover for the absence of Shereesa Richards who had to sit on the sidelines and watch after suffering a concussion at training earlier in the week.
While the performance against the Rush on the road was admirable, nobody could have predicted what would happen next when they hosted the Tigers on Sunday.
Melbourne’s WNBL star duo of Rebecca Cole and Monique Conti unleashes a devastating half of basketball that all but put the result beyond a doubt at half time courtesy of a 56-25 half time score line. Cole was brutal early, scoring at will as she racked up 17 first-quarter points. Not to be outdone, Conti exploded in the second term to drain four straight three-pointers to have the Blues reeling. With Sammie Simmons and Milica Ivanov looking restricted due to niggling injuries and with Richards still watching on from the sidelines, the scoring burden was placed on Barr and Ross’ shoulders. Ross was restricted to just 5 points on 2-11 shooting and with 5 turnovers, leaving Barr to play an almost lone hand.
The combative guard was gallant in defeat, compiling a team-best 25 points including 5-10 on three-pointers alongside 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals, moving up to third in the league in scoring with 24 points per game. Shannon Perret was serviceable in adding 10 points and 4 steals, while Emma Nankervis worked hard for her 9 points and 11 rebounds.
For Melbourne, Cole was the standout. The league’s scoring leader pouring in a game-high 27 points with 5 assists and 5 steals. She was well supported by Conti who drained 5-13 from beyond the arc on her way to registering 21 points and 6 assists; while her Melbourne Boomers team mate Louella Tomlinson added 12 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 6 blocks. With Katie Bugden also chipping in 17 points, the Blues were unable to find a way of slowing the Tigers scoring as they their 11th straight game in going down 65-108, and still in search of a breakthrough win [Box Score].
On Saturday night, Dan Trist amassed 27 points and 9 rebounds, Bennie Lewis 23 points and 7 rebounds, but the Blues were unable to prevent a 115-95 road loss to the Miners [Box Score].
The Blues opened strongly despite having lost veteran point guard Rhys Carter with a injury. Yet while they were able to find the bottom of the net regularly enough, they were unable to find a way of slowing down Ballarat’s scoring which was led by import duo Davos Usher (33 points) and Marvin King-Davis (26 points) as they gave up more than 100 points. Yet things would go from bad to worse for the Blues back at home on Sunday afternoon against the Tigers.
While the home fans were looking forward to seeing new Melbourne United recruit Trist in action for the first time and hopefully a second win for the season, what they saw early was a perimeter shooting onslaught from Cairns Taipan signee Dexter Kernich-Drew and Sydney King’s sharpshooter Tom Wilson.
Kernich-Drew and Wilson were on fire from beyond the arc, combing for 8-12 three-pointers for the term as the Tigers raced to a 35-19 first quarter lead. The NBL duo continued to score at will in the second period as they clocked up 62 first half points, while the Blues managed a respectable 44.
Trist was doing a mountain of work against 7-foot centre Deng Acuoth (12 points and 14 rebounds) and would go on to finish with a team-best 20 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Sam Muldrow added 20 points and 8 rebounds, but the Blues could not overcome the early deficit to fall short 87-105 [Box Score].
Bennie Lewis added 15 points and 5 assists, while Aaron Ross could only muster 11 points in the big loss. The Blues gave up 100 points for the fourth time in 5 games as the Tigers shot 17-38 (44.7%) from three-point territory, and need to find a way to restrict opposition scoring, especially from the perimeter and in transition.
For the Tigers, Kernich-Drew was outstanding in scorching the net for 38 points (14-21 FG) with 5 assists, while Wilson compiled 30 points with 9 rebounds and 5 assists. They are now fourth and third in the league in scoring respectively.
The Blues men and women will head to Australia’s capital where they will next take on the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence on Saturday night, with both sides seeking to reverse their fortunes and come away with a pair of long overdue wins.