The Frankston RSL Blues did something that they have not been able to do previously in 2018: win two straight games!
Against the visiting Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence, the Blues made it back-to-back wins courtesy of a 94-68 demolition in SEABL Round 10. The Blues controlled the contest from the outset, pulling away in the third period to register their third win of the season to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Doing most of the damage was Melbourne United star recruit Dan Trist. The forward was a model of scoring efficiency in compiling a game-high 33 points on 11-14 shooting, including 2-3 from beyond the arc and 2-2 from the free throw line. Bennie Lewis put on a show in the second period before finishing with 23 points, while Sam Muldrow added a 19 point and 10 rebound double-double to continue his impressive debut season with the Blues.
Trist was in threatening form early, scoring the game’s first 6 points on his way to 13 for the term, to ensure the hosts gained the early advantage. Illawarra Hawks signee Daniel Grida was also in an aggressive mood, combining with Hunter Goodrick for consecutive CoE three-pointers to get things going for the visitors. While Muldrow was imposing himself at both ends, Alex Ducas put the CoE up by 1 on the back of another triple. Muldrow and Trist would then combine for the Blues’ next 12 points to open up a 4 point lead, and little did anyone know at the time, but they would never trail again.
After a scoreless opening period, it was Lewis who literally exploded in the second period. The athletic wing flushed home two monster dunks – including one in busy traffic – on his way to a 13 point quarter as the home side threatened to blow out the game. Rhys Carter was back from injury and was on song from deep, draining triple late to push the half time margin out to 12.
Under immense pressure, the CoE were struggling to find a way to score while having trouble containing Frankston’s versatile forwards who were dictating terms to their younger opponents.
The Blues gave the CoE no respite in the third period, forcing 7 turnovers with their full court pressure and picking up 4 steals as they racked up 30 points for the term. A Trist score inside as bookended by Muldrow and Robert Linton treys before Kyle Bowen slashed through the paint for a clean flush. Trist was making a living from the free throw line, while Lewis and Muldrow were doing as they pleased, with the Blues heading into the final quarter up by 24 after another Lewis dunk.
Courtesy of some brilliant perimeter shooting from NBA Global Academy rising star Hyunjung Lee, the CoE were not going away quietly. Lee piled on 8 points for the quarter, but the combination of Trist, Lewis and Muldrow proved too much for the rising stars, with head coach Andrew Harms clearing his bench for much-needed court time down the stretch before prevailing by an impressive 26 points.
The Blues trio of Trist, Lewis and Muldrow provided 75 of Frankston’s 96 points, providing match-up nightmares for the CoE who were led by Lee’s 19 points. Grida was the only other CoE player to score in double figures in adding 13 points, while his team shot just 39% from the field despite firing up 5 more shots than Frankston.
Next week the Blues head across Melbourne to Geelong where they will look to extend their winning streak three games. Since going down to the Blues in Round 9, the Supercats now find themselves on a 2 game losing streak. A victory by the Blues will see them return home the following week for a chance to continue a late-season run against Albury-Wodonga.