An impressive first half by the Frankston RSL Blues was not enough as the Diamond Valley Eagles took control in the third period to register a commanding 99-80 Round 13 SEABL win.
Dan Trist racked up another 23 point and 12 rebound double double, Bennie Lewis went close to a triple-double in gathering 14 points, 8 rebounds and 11 assists with 5 steals, and Sam Muldrow drained 4 three-pointers for 17 points, but the Blues fell in a scoring hole in the third term from which they never recovered.
The opening period saw both teams in blistering form from beyond the arc. Muldrow drained back-to-back triples for the Blues to get the early ascendancy, but Joel Spear returned fire at the other end. But the Blues were in front, and through some great interior moves from Trist, managed to old a slim advantage.
Trist continued to dominate in the paint in the second, forcing Eagle’s star big man Michael Best into foul trouble and onto the bench on his way to 18 first-half points. Rhys Carter’s defence was outstanding, and with Bennie Lewis having a hand in seemingly everything, the Blues were on track to take a half time lead. But almost inexplicably, the Blues were caught napping to end the term. The Eagles first took the lead, and then with 1 second left scored on a full length baseball pass to score on a fall-away jumper at the buzzer to take a 4 point lead and all the momentum heading into the main break.
Diamond Valley’s packed zone in the second half proved highly effective, forcing Trist and Muldrow away from their natural games. It also allowed for Dyson King-Hawea to assert his influence on the game as he helped push the margin out to double-digits in favour of the visitors, all done with Best sitting on the sidelines with 4 fouls. Daniel Camps’ speed and play making was also starting to cause problems for the Blues, as the Eagles took a commanding lead into the final change.
With Best back on court, Diamond Valley continued to push the lead out to more than 20 despite Linton hitting a big three and Lewis’ savvy play. The final quarter became a case of trying to keep the scoreboard looking respectable, as the visitors strolled to a 19 point win.
Outside of Trist, Lewis and Muldrow, the Blues received 16 points from Linton. But from there the cupboard was bare. Lucas Walker continued his return from injury but added just 5 points and 1 rebound, with Carter 4 points, 6 assists and 4 steals.
Diamond Valley were paced by Best who delivered a game-high 25 points with 10 rebounds. King-Hawea finished with 24 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists, and Spear fired in 16 points with 6 rebounds and 7 assists.