The 2017 SBL season has officially ended. Congratulations to the North Gold Coast Women’s team and the USC Rip City Men’s team! Here is the 2017 SBL Season Review!
At the completion of the Regular Season, the Gold Coast Rollers had cemented themselves as the ladder leaders and the team to beat going into the Playoffs. The Rollers finished with a 12-2 record, which included a 10-game win streak between Rounds 3 and 12. The teams only losses came at the hands of USC Rip City and North Gold Coast, both of which made the SBL Semi-Finals. James Whitby was a star for the Rollers as he scored a league leading 30.2 points per contest. Northside Wizards finished with equal best record in the league also going 12-2. The reigning SBL Champions jumped out to a strong 5-0 start, before going down to the Phoenix in a nail biter and then getting a touch up from Gold Coast the following week. They have managed to pull off a 7-game win streak to finish off the season. Chol Muorter has led from the front all season for the Wizards, scoring a team-leading 22.1 points per contest.
The Brisbane Capitals, North Gold Coast Seahawks, Logan Thunder and USC Rip City rounded out the Top 6. The Capitals were able to finish the regular season dropping only 3 games, behind Riley Martin’s 14.5 points per game. The squad was able to regroup after a disappointing loss to Redlands at home in Round 2, with their only other losses coming to the two teams above them. North Gold Coast were able to win their way to a home quarter final finishing with a 10-4 record. The Seahawks best win of the season was in Round 2 over the Rollers by a whopping 20 points. Andrew Lomakin has had a huge year for the Seahawks averaging 29 a game, which is good enough to be second in the league. Logan managed a 9-5 record for SBL season 2017 giving them a Playoff berth. In a year where Logan was unable to defeat any of the sides above them, Matthew Wilson was able to put in 13.3 points per game in a very even Thunder team. USC rounded out the Playoff contenders finishing as the 6th seed going into August. USC had a variety of contributors for the season, although Sean Murphy was the top point man with 13.1 a game.
Phoenix Clippers finished just outside of the playoff hunt, finishing the season with 8 wins. Disappointing loses early in the season to Toowoomba and Northside 2 cost the Clippers a Playoff berth. Hayden Reed was able to put in 16.7 points per game for the Clippers. Caboolture finished with an even 7-7 record for the season. Luke Pittle had 25.8 a game, yet only played 9 games for the season. The team lost their last 3 games to finish their season and diminish all Playoff aspirations. South West Metro also finished on an even 7-7 record for 2017. Sebit Ajang scored 15.8 a game in a down year for the Pirates after winning 11 games in 2016. Despite finishing outside the Playoff hunt, South West still managed an impressive overall percentage of 105.54. Rounding out the 2017 SBL Men Top 10 is Redlands who won 5 games, equal with their 2016 output. Daniel Cornwell managed 14.1 a game for the Pride. Redlands best win of the year came in Round 2 over the Brisbane Capitals, who only lost three games for the season.
The bottom five teams in the 2017 SBL Men’s Competition were the Cyclones, Spartans, Force, Mountaineers and Northside 2. Phoenix Cyclones finished the season with a 4-10 record. Their four victories were against all four sides below them on the ladder. James Farrelly averaged an impressive 19.2 points per game, which tallied 27% of his teams total score for the year. The Cyclones were extremely competitive, with five of their losses coming by 10 points or less. The Spartans only managed a disappointing 4 wins in season 2017, a year after winning 11 games. Wesley Rowe put in 16.4 a game, although wasn’t enough to convert into consistent victories. The Spartans had no issues scoring the ball, yet were the worst defensive team in the competition, giving up 90 points per game. Ipswich finished equal 13th with a 3-11 record. Kane Bishop still scored at a high rate averaging 19 per game, with teammate Kobe Robinson right on his tail averaging 16. Ipswich’s best game of the season was a 1-point loss against the reigning champion Northside Wizards in Round 10. Toowoomba started the season 3-1, before losing their last 10 games. William Mitchell was the only player on the team to average over 10 points per game (11.8), besides Marshall Adams who only played in 4 matches. Therefore, it is to no surprise that Toowoomba scored the lowest total points in the whole competition. Northside Wizards 2 finished the season as the bottom-placed side. Their only victory in 2017 was in Round 5 over the Phoenix Clippers. Josh Potter was the team’s highest scorer, netting 13.9 a game.
Quarter Final action saw USC Rip City upsetting the Brisbane Capitals at NAB Stadium in convincing fashion 75-58. Sean Murphy and Felipo Eliseo combined for 43 points in the upset and guided them to a Semi Final matchup against the top placed Gold Coast Rollers. North Gold Coast escaped with a narrow 2-point victory over Logan cementing their place in the Semi Finals. Andrew Lomakin scored a massive 30 points for the home side, whilst Matthew Wilson kept his side close with 24 of his own.
USC kept their dream run alive by knocking off Gold Coast Rollers 90-84 in the first SBL Semi Final. James Whitby scored an incredible 37 for the favoured Rollers, but that was not enough to get over the hump against an even USC side, led by Michael Jenkin’s 21. Rip will have to travel to Northside for the SBL Final, after the Wizards were victorious against the Seahawks. Chol Muorter put in a team-high 28 for Northside, whilst Lomakin again starred with another 30 points.
In the SBL Grand Final we had the Northside Wizards, looking to repeat as competition Champions, up against the USC Rip City. USC jumped out to an early 25-17 after the first quarter and extended that to 19 points by the major break. Despite the lead getting out to as much as 23 in the initial stages of the fourth quarter, before a quick 17-0 run for the Wizards had them back within 6 with 2 minutes remaining. USC were able to hold on and run out 11-point victors and SBL Men’s Champions for 2017. Sean Murphy was awarded the Grand Final MVP, finishing with 27 points, as did Northside’s Chol Muorter.
The North Gold Coast Seahawks have finished undefeated and on top of the ladder after the regular season winning 12 straight games. The Seahawks dominated the competition with the most amount of points per game and allowed the fewest amount per game all season. Emily Allen and Lauren Jansen were the two top scorers with the Seahawks with 20 and 15 per game respectively. The Seahawks finished a clear two games ahead of the Northside Wizards who finished with a 10-2 record. The Wizards only two losses came against the Seahawks in Round 1 and a surprise loss at home to the Phoenix Clippers in Round 7. After that loss, the Wizards went on a 7-game winning streak to finish the season in second place. The Wizards were led by Grace Amey who averaged 14 points a game and had support from Lauren Mua, Chloe Coughlin and Regan McCarty who all averaged over 10 points a game. The Logan Thunder finished third after a 9-3 record and were able to win the head-to-head matchup against the Capitals who finished fourth. The Thunder’s Aijah Pepe finished the season with the most points per game scoring an average of 22. After a 2-3 start, the Thunder went on to win their last 7 games of the season and assure themselves of a home final in the opening week of the playoffs.
The Capitals managed to put the second most amount of points up each game but were dogged by inconsistent play after a great start to the season. The Capitals were flying opening with a 5-0 start before a loss to Logan Thunder at home in Round 8. The Capitals then suffered 2 more defeats in their next 3 games to the top two ranked sides. The Capitals had many of their squad involved with the QBL team for most of the season and only three players managed to score more than 100 points in the season. The South West Metro Pirates finished 5th on the ladder with an 8-4 record and were impressive defensively allowing just the third most amount of points per game in the competition. Siteri Vodo-Rasova and Gvanii Taufua led the team in scoring with 10 a game and both had season high scores against the USC Rip in Round 5. The Pirates were good enough to knock off the Spartans in Round 8 to finish above them on the ladder despite an identical 8-4 record. Much like their Brisbane rivals, the Spartans started their season with a 5-0 record, however lost 3 of their last 4 to scrape into the finals in 6th spot. Their final round loss against the Capitals hurt their final position with a win giving them a home final in the first week of the playoffs. The Spartans had many scoring contributors throughout the season with Campbell, Acdol, Watkinson and McMullen all putting in big efforts.
The Gold Coast Rollers finished out of the playoff hunt with a 6-6 record. The Rollers failed to string together more than 3 wins in a row for the season and were dependent on Lauren Sculley and Sarah Glazebrook for points. Both Sunshine Coast teams, the Clippers and the Cyclones finished with 5 wins for the season. Dustie Obah was a standout for the Clippers averaging 17 points a game. Ashlee Hannan, Courtney Murphy and Haylee Cotter all had impressive seasons for the Clippers. The Cyclones suffered some big losses earlier in the season, however, they were able to defeat local rivals the Clippers in the final game of the season to earn bragging rights on the Sunshine Coast. Beatrice Sciacca and Chelsea Reiffel were the leading point scorers for the Cyclones in 2017.
Toowoomba had a rough start to the season but ultimately finished with a 3-9 record. Their best win came against the USC Rip away from home in Round 10. Jasmine Gardiner and Charlie Kiehne were the go to girls for the Mountaineers with each player scoring over 120 points in the season. USC lost their last 6 games to finish the season at 2-10. Their two wins came against Caboolture and Redlands who both finished below them on the ladder. No player managed to score more than 100 points in the season, however there were good contributions throughout the year from Nyssa Boardman, Taisha White and Ronelle Kriss. The Redlands Pride managed just one win for the 2017 season all the way back in Round 1 against the Caboolture Suns at home. After that it was all downhill as the Pride dropped 11-straight to finish one off the bottom of the ladder. Olivia MacGinley was the leading point scorer for Redlands averaging over 13 a game. Her best performance came against Toowoomba in May in which Redlands scored their highest total for the season. Caboolture went without a victory all season long to finish with the wooden spoon in 2017. The Suns were competitive in a few games and almost started the season with a win against Redlands, however, their biggest loss of the season came against the league leading Seahawks who thrashed the Suns 122-12 at Runaway Bay in May. Despite a tough season there were good signs from players such as Tyra-Lee Link and Jorden Worthington-Ford who led the team in scoring.
In week one of the playoffs, the Brisbane Capitals had a strong 36-point win over the South West Metro Pirates to advance to the semi-finals. Grace Champion top scored for the Caps with 22 points, whilst Adelaide Fuller had 13 and Jessie Cooke scored 12. In the other game, the Brisbane Spartans upset the higher placed Logan Thunder by three points thanks to Ayla Louise Acdol who top scored with 22 points. Logan saw big games from Jaymie Lynch (26) and Monika Faerber (20) however they couldn’t stop the Spartans from qualifying for the semi-finals.
The semi-finals saw the undefeated North Gold Coast Seahawks take on the Spartans and win convincingly 74-58 at Runaway Bay. Steph Newbold and Emily Allen combined for 27 points for the Hawks, whilst Annaliese Watkinson top scored for the Spartans with 16. In the other semi, the Wizards were too strong at home against the Capitals winning 67-43. Grace Amey scored 19 points and Katie Druery had 13 of her own, however the Wizards lost their captain Lauren Mua to injury forcing her to miss the Grand Final.
In the SBL Grand Final, the North Gold Coast Seahawks went in as heavy favourites and it showed with a comprehensive 46-point win over the Wizards at the Nest. The Seahawks got off to a fast start thanks to a brilliant first half performance from eventual Grand Final MVP Lauren Jansen who went on to score a game-high 27 points. The Wizards fought bravely in the second half, but without their captain Mua, they were no match for the Seahawks. Regan McCarty was the only Wizard to score 10 points or more as the Seahawks claimed back-to-back championships.