QBL Game Previews – Round 14



Gold Coast Rollers v South West Metro Pirates

The Rollers have kept their slim playoff hopes alive after a 29-point thumping of the visiting Cairns Marlins in round 13. Deon Mitchell was one of six Gold Coast players to reach double figures as he led the team with 23 points on 69% shooting. Rhys Martin was close to a rare triple double with 12 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists. The Pirates inconsistent season continued as they suffered a 19-point home loss to the 9th placed Ipswich Force. Despite leading by 5 points heading into the final quarter, South West were outscored 8-32 in the final term. This was the first time that the Pirates have given up over 100 points in 2018. The loss now sees the Pirates only one game clear of 9th and with a trip north in Round 15 to face the Meteors and Rockets this is a must win. A do or die match between 7th and 11th will be on display Friday night at the Gold Coast Sport & Leisure Centre with the loser most likely dropping out of the playoff race. We are picking the Rollers to keep their playoff dreams alive in a close one.


Mackay Meteors v Ipswich Force 

The Meteors returned from their Sunshine Coast double with a 1-1 record. Mackay did not come to play Friday night against USC falling behind by 18 points at the first break and eventually going down by an embarrassing 36 points. They were able to bounce back the following night against a struggling Sunshine Coast team as they won 124-114. Todd Blanchfield was massive with 39 points and 10 rebounds, whilst Chris Cedar wasn’t too far behind with 27 of his own. Ipswich kept their playoff hopes alive with a 19-point victory over South West at Hibiscus Sports Complex. A huge final quarter saw the Force outscoring the Pirates by 24 and running away comfortable victors. They backed up with another dominating performance on Sunday, knocking off the Seahawks by 27. With Townsville winning both of their games on the weekend, the Meteors are now tied with Townsville on the ladder and are at risk of losing home court for the entirety of the playoffs if they happen to drop one of their last two. With both sides having plenty to play for, this game is massive in the overall scheme of the playoff race. We expect the Meteors to be too strong at home and put a major dent into Ipswich’s playoff aspirations.


Townsville Heat v Brisbane Capitals

Townsville were able to win both games on the road in Round 13, with double figure victories over Gladstone and Rockhampton. Josh Wilcher was the star of the weekend with impressive averages of 33.5 points and 8 assists to see him awarded the QBL Player of the Week. Froling was also dominant with 25.5 points and 14 boards across the two victories, whilst Justin Baker pulled in a massive 18 rebounds against the Rockets. The Capitals made light work of the last-placed Spartans leading at every change on their way to a 32-point win. Anderson and Carter led the squad with 32 and 21 respectively, as well as a combined 15 assists. The victory was their fourth in a row and eighth of their last ten, which sees them move up to 5th position on the ladder. Despite having a top 3 position locked in, the Heat still have a lot to play for with Mackay dropping to USC and falling back to level with Townsville. Another Meteors loss will see the Heat in prime position for home court throughout the playoffs. This shapes to be arguably the match of the round, but Round 13 may have proven that the Heat are back to their best and we are picking them to just get the better of the Capitals on Friday night.


North Gold Coast Seahawks v USC Rip City 

After five impressive performances in a row the Seahawks suffered a blowout 27-point loss at the hands of the inspired Force in Round 13. North Gold Coast jumped out to a 10-point quarter time lead before Ipswich flipped the switch and outscored the Seahawks 35-14 in the second quarter. Quinton Campbell still managed 20 points in the loss, whilst Jamerson had 18 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists although on 29% shooting. USC were able to break a stretch of four straight losses with an impressive 36-point thumping of the first-placed Meteors. Lance Hurdle was huge for the home side with 36 points on 63% shooting including 6 made three-pointers. This win will give Rip City the much-needed confidence that they still have what it takes to knock off the competitions best teams and also ensures that they are only one win away from locking in a top 4 playoff position. USC look a much stronger team with McAlister in the lineup and we expect them to get the victory over the 14th placed Seahawks.


Southern Districts Spartans v Toowoomba Mountaineers

The Spartans suffered a blowout loss to the revamped Brisbane Capitals going down by 32 points at NAB Stadium in Round 13. Southern Districts only managed to shoot 40% from the floor to go along with 24 turnovers which largely contributed to the huge loss. All starters still managed double figures with Mitch Philp leading the way with 17. The Spartans will see Round 14 as a winning possibility with Toowoomba coming to town a week after going down to the Thunder at home on Friday night. Harold Ridgeway put in 23 points to along with a massive 16 rebounds with league top scorer Damon Bozeman only playing 13 minutes. The mountaineers only managed to convert on 2 made three-pointers from 27 attempts in the loss. With both sides shooting sub 40% for the game the offensive numbers were low and both teams rebounding numbers were through the roof. With a playoff berth still a mathematical possibility for Toowoomba this is a must win and Bozeman’s availability will be pivotal in this. The Mountaineers may just get over the line to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.


Cairns Marlins v Brisbane Capitals 

The Marlins had a weekend to forget in Round 13 losing to Logan and Gold Coast by a combined 61 points. Cairns now find themselves down to sixth spot on the ladder and a mathematical possibility to miss the playoffs all together. Their offense has somewhat struggled all season long and Round 13 was no different being kept to under 70 points in both contests. Christian Jurlina was the only player to hit double figures in both contests averaging 15.5 across the weekend. The Capitals will play their second massive game in as many days after a contest against the joint ladder-leaders in Townsville the previous night. With Brisbane leap frogging the Marlins at the conclusion of Round 13, this is the perfect opportunity for Cairns to jump back on top of the Capitals and make a last-minute push for a top 4 finish. Despite playing the second game of a road back-to-back, Brisbane are playing significantly better basketball than Cairns in recent times and we expect them to return back south with at least one victory under their belts.

Rockhampton Rockets v Ipswich Force

The Rockets are holding on for the dear life at the bottom of the top 8 after falling at home to the Townsville Heat by 14 points on Sunday afternoon. Rockhampton were facing a tired Heat side who were on the second game of a back-to-back but were ran over the top of in the last quarter despite entering the final term with a 3-point lead. The Rockets shot an impressive 54% from the field for the match but were -15 on the offensive glass which allowed Townsville multiple second chance opportunities. The Force will be backing up after a hit out against the Meteors in Mackay on Friday night and they will have a much better perspective of their playoff hopes after Friday. Regardless of Friday’s result we think that Rockhampton might prove to be too strong at home, although we are backing in Ipswich to be more than competitive and be within reach right until the final buzzer.


Southern Districts Spartans v SC Phoenix

The Spartans will be playing in front of their home crowd for the second time in Round 14 as the struggling Phoenix come to town. This will feature 12th and 15th on the ladder and Sunshine Coast will enter with the league’s longest current losing streak of 7 games. The Phoenix went down by 10 points to the visiting Meteors in a shootout in Round 13 as they gave up 124 points. This is the largest margin they have given up all season and the tenth time conceding over 100 points. The Phoenix still have no difficulties putting the ball in the basketball behind the scoring and playmaking abilities of Roy Booker who is second in the league for both points and assists. Booker had a remarkable stat line of 38 points, 8 assists and 4 steals on 61% shooting. Jamaal Robateau also put in 31 points. Despite the ongoing losing streak, the Phoenix still somehow find themselves a mathematical chance of making the playoffs. We expect another high scoring affair considering Sunshine Coast’s subpar defense but believe their scoring ability might be enough to get them back on the winners list. Phoenix just.


Logan Thunder v Toowoomba Mountaineers

The Mountaineers will come up against the Thunder for the second straight weekend, but this time looking to turn the table around on last weekend’s loss. Toowoomba will be playing the second game of a back-to-back after a match against the last-placed Spartans on Saturday night. Logan on the other hand will be fresh after their 2-0 weekend which also saw them belting the Marlins by 32 points to keep their undefeated home season alive. Young and Kyei were again the standouts with both bigs averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds across the two victories. Despite the win over the Mountaineers last Friday night, they will be looking for a much more efficient game on the offensive end as they only shot at 38% for the game and committed 21 turnovers. These two victories have now locked in a top 4 finish and a guaranteed home final in the first week of the playoffs. Wins by Logan across the final two rounds will continue to add pressure to both Mackay and Townsville who currently sit one game clear of the Thunder. As competitive as Toowoomba has been to this point in the season they won’t be a match for Logan at Cornubia Park Sports Centre.




Gold Coast Rollers v South West Metro Pirates 

Gold Coast were unable to upset the visiting Dolphins who were on the second game of a back-to-back going down by 24 points. Kate Hewett was the only Roller to reach double figures, whilst teammate Alicia Carline had a team-high 9 rebounds. With two upcoming games against top-4 teams in the Pirates and Force, the Rollers will realistically be looking at their last game of the year against the Mountaineers as their next winnable opportunity. Without Seekamp and Purcell the Pirates suffered a 13-point loss at the hands of the second-placed Ipswich Force. South West took a narrow two-point lead into the major break but ultimately couldn’t stop Amanada Johnson who had another huge game with 29 points and 17 rebounds. The Pirates struggled to get going on the offensive end shooting only 33% for the game compared to 47% by the Force. The Pirates will have no trouble bouncing back in this one as they will make easy work of the struggling Rollers.


Mackay Meteorettes v Ipswich Force

The Meteorettes split their Sunshine Coast road double with a Friday night win over USC before falling to the talented Sunshine Coast Phoenix the following night. Mia Loyd had a sensational weekend with averages of 27 points and 12.5 rebounds and 6 assists over both games, whilst her partner in crime Ruvanna Campbell averaged 20.5 points and a massive 15.5 rebounds. The one win has ensured that Mackay has secured a playoff berth as they now hold head to head over the ninth-placed USC Rip City.

Ipswich were able to get one step closer to locking in a home quarter final after knocking off fellow top-4 team the Pirates on Saturday night. Amanda Johnson put in another dominant performance with 29 points, 17 rebounds and 6 assists. The win now sees the Force in outright second on the ladder with three games to play. This match up will be the first of a difficult road double for Ipswich as they will face Rockhampton in their second match. With both the Meteorettes and Cyclones securing playoff positions they will also be pushing hard for the best position possible. Despite being on the road we think Ipswich might have too much firepower in this one.


Townsville Flames v Brisbane Capitals

The undermanned Flames were able to split their road double 1-1 in Round 13 with a tough win over Gladstone before falling to Rockhampton on Sunday. Meila Goodchild was unstoppable against the Power with 34 points and 12 rebounds, whilst Micaela Cocks had a near triple double with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists. The Flames were able to jump out to a half time lead before the Cyclones rallied to outscore Townsville by 14 in the third quarter to break the game open. The Capitals were no match for the Southern Districts Spartans in Round 13 as they fell by 33 points at NAB Stadium. Brisbane were kept to only 46 for the entire match which was their lowest total of the season. Diana Neves and Akilah Bethel combined to shoot 61% of their team’s total points despite only connecting on 31% and 25% on their individual shot attempts. The Flames now only find themselves one game clear on top of the ladder but will be too strong at home as they lock in home court for the entirety of the playoffs.


North Gold Coast Seahawks v USC Rip City

The Seahawks have now suffered four straight defeats after going down to Ipswich on the road in Round 13. Despite being the fresher of the two teams, the Seahawks allowed the Force to jump out to a 13-point half time lead and were unable to get back into the contest as they went down by a whopping 28 points. Aimee Durbridge put in an efficient 13 points off the bench in the contest. Their latest loss now sees them fall to 8-8 on the season with only two games remaining. USC have now lost 5 of their past 6 after going down to the Meteorettes in Round 13. Rip were unable to win a single quarter against the travelling Mackay team as they fell by 16 points. Leah Scott was still able to stuff the stat sheet as she finished with 21 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists whilst playing all 40 minutes. This contest is a battle of 8th vs 9th, with the winner gaining head to head over the other and securing the final playoff position entering the last week of the regular season. A very difficult game to pick but we will take the home side narrowly.


Southern Districts Spartans v Toowoomba Mountaineers

A dominant 33-point win over the Capitals now sees the Spartans stretch their winning streak to 5 as they enter the final two weeks of the regular season. Southern Districts jumped out of the blocks leading by 17 points at the first break and never looked back as they kept the Capitals to their lowest score of the season and only 25% shooting for the entire game.  The blowout enabled coach Lewis to share the minutes around with no starter playing over 28 minutes and all 12 players hitting the court. The Mountaineers struggles continued as they suffered a 59-point home loss to the 12th placed Logan Thunder. Donnaizha Fountain was the lone soldier for Toowoomba, finishing with 25 of her teams 52 total points. Unfortunately, another blowout is on the cards as Southern Districts will jump to an early lead to ensure their starters enough rest before the big game against the Phoenix on Sunday.

Cairns Dolphins v Brisbane Capitals

After a disappointing 13-point loss to the Thunder on Saturday night, the Dolphins were able to bounce back with an easy 24-point win over the Gold Coast Rollers on Sunday. Logan were able to keep Cairns to their second lowest tally of the season with 61 points. Robin Perkins averaged 23.5 points across the two games, including 32 on only 16 field goal attempts against the Rollers, whilst teammate Jade Kennedy pulled down a massive 17 rebounds in the same contest. The victory Sunday now puts the Dolphins into 10th position going into the final two rounds but unfortunately the loss to the Thunder has knocked them out of the playoff race. The Capitals will be backing up after a tough task against the ladder-leading Townsville Flames. With both sides out of the playoff hunt this match will now impact who claims the 10th position. With Cairns getting the win on the Gold Coast before heading back north we think they may take that momentum into Round 14 and get the home victory over the Capitals.

Rockhampton Cyclones v Ipswich Force

Rockhampton were able to give the top-placed Townsville Flames their second loss of the season as they overcame a half time deficit to run away 15-point victors. Three starters were able to hit at least 20 points each with Dowdell, Ellenberg and Boag scoring 26, 23 and 20 respectively. More impressive was their ability to all do so at least 50% shooting. The win has guaranteed the Cyclones a playoff berth with a trip down south to play the Force, Phoenix or Pirates most likely on the cards for week one. Ipswich will be backing up after a hit out against Mackay and will have the tough task of playing a Rockhampton squad full of energy after knocking off the ladder-leaders. Rockhampton will again benefit from playing a team on the second game of a back-to-back and with the rest factor being vital at this time of the season we are expecting this to contribute to helping them secure the win over the Force.

Southern Districts Spartans v SC Phoenix

The Spartans will back up after an easy win over Toowoomba as the 3rd placed Sunshine Coast Phoenix come to town. This is easily the match of the round with both teams fighting for a spot in the top 4 and home court advantage for the first round of the playoffs. The Phoenix were able to scrape home against the Meteorettes in Round 13, largely behind a massive 43 points (including 9-12 from deep) from Natalie Hurst. Hurst’s scoring outburst contributed to her receiving Player of the Week honours. Abbey Bishop starred again with 23 points, 14 rebounds and 6 assists. The big two contributed for a massive 77% of their team’s total points. You could argue that coming into this match that the Phoenix will have the best two players on the court in Bishop and Hurst, although the Spartans have proved the depth in their squad is as good as there is in the league and for this reason we are giving the home team a slight advantage.


Logan Thunder v Toowoomba Mountaineers

Logan were able to string together two wins in Round 13 accounting for the winless Toowoomba Mountaineers and the travelling Cairns Dolphins. The Thunder disposed of the Mountaineers in a big way running away with a thumping 59-point win. Captain Mikhaela Donnelly recorded a huge triple double with 19 points, 16 rebounds and 16 assists. Jacqueline Luna Castro put in a game-high 28 points to go along with 8 rebounds and was a massive +63 in her 29 minutes. The Thunder were able to cap off a perfect weekend with a 13-point victory over the Dolphins. They jumped out to a 11-point quarter time lead and never looked back as Donnelly again led her team with 22 points and 8 assists. With two very winnable games against Toowoomba and Gladstone over the final two rounds, the Thunder can finish the season on a high after failing to reach the heights of 2017. Toowoomba will be backing up after a tough match up against the Spartans on Saturday and will no doubt have another difficult task when facing the Thunder. Unfortunately, we don’t see the Mountaineers recording their first victory of 2018 in this one.

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