Men’s A grade action, with commentary from coach Brian Kerr:
The first game was College against Nomads, who once again were plagued by injury. The game started off at a reasonable clip with College making the early play. They matched up against their older counterparts and at first it went well. However they began to lose focus which allowed Nomads to push their way to a 28–21 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was poor for College as their defence went flat and the issues with their help defence continued. Nomads weren’t to miss that opportunity and attacked the rim pushing out their lead to 50–34 at the break.
In order to try and reignite the College defensive intensity, they went to a full court man to man in the third quarter to challenge the Nomads guards. They executed this well however they squandered a lot of opportunities in which to wipe out the deficit. Nomads settled and kept the damage to a minimum and increase the lead slightly to a healthy 66–49 lead.
College continued to press full court and looked to open the game up and for a part it worked, however the experience of Nomads were able to navigate the pressure to win 88–75.
For Nomads it was Tony Gilbert doing the damage inside the paint whilst Jamie Smitheram shot well for his 20 points (one 3-pointer). Pete Kirwan added 18 points with a tidy display.
For College Riley Sa led the scoring with 20 points (two 3-pointers) as he worked hard at both ends of the court. Thomas Patterson having another good game with 15 points (three 3-pointers) and Kambell Stills finishing with 12 points.
College were generally lacklustre for the first half which gave them a lot of work to do in the second half. Going to full court man to man helped, however they left a lot of points out there which could have and should have made a massive difference.
Nomads were consistently good even with a limited lineup. Experience made a big difference as they countered the pressure well.
A well-deserved win for Nomads.
The second game of the evening was Newlands against a struggling Wildlife team. The 1st quarter was a messy affair as both teams struggled to find the basket. Wildlife leading 18–9.
The second quarter was better for Newlands as they got their combinations working on offence as well as upping the defensive effort. Wildlife struggling to finish on offence. Newlands leading 35–33 at the half.
The third quarter was a good contest as Wildlife started well. Newlands countered and hit a couple of big threes at the end of the quarter to go to a 55–49 lead.
Wildlife changed up their defence and slowly it started to pay dividends as they chipped away at the Newlands lead. With two minutes to go it seemed the running was with the Wildlife team. It was a frantic as Newlands turned the ball over a couple of times to allow Wildlife to equalize at 68 apiece. Both teams had opportunities to claim the win but it didn’t happen. The first overtime for the season.
So another 5 minutes was added. Newlands started off with a big three-pointer from Nick Fechney, followed by a nice move by Randy Buenafe which pushed Newlands out by five points. Wildlife came back with a couple of plays, Newlands up by two points.
Newlands played smart and worked the ball around to create opportunities. This they did well and found another four points to lead by six points. Wildlife fired a couple of three-pointers but they went wide. Newlands defending well to hold out and take the victory 77–71.
For Newlands Nick Fechney had a top game finishing with 28 points (seven 3-pointers). He was able to hit the big shots when necessary as well as securing a number of defensive boards. Ramil Ilumin finished with 18 points and was excellent on the offensive boards in particular. Randy Buenafe with another tidy effort with 15 points.
For Wildlife Sean Hunter finished with 21 points with some good inside plays. Xavier Bartlett threatened on the drive finished with 16 points (one 3-pointer) and Sam Pearce was always a threat defensively and on the break with 14 points.
Both teams were missing a couple of key players, Marc Juntilla for Newlands and Emiliano Guerra for Wildlife so both teams had to adapt their structures slightly.
After a slow start this game ended up being a really tight contest. Wildlife came back well in the fourth quarter to tie the game and whilst Newlands played better for the most part, they nearly handed the game to Wildlife through turnovers in the last two minutes. However Newlands managed the overtime well hitting the early shots to put the pressure back on Wildlife. A good contest.