QBL Game Previews – Round 15

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Gold Coast Rollers v Ipswich Force 

We open up the final round of the QBL regular season with a genuine do-or-die battle between the 10th placed Gold Coast Rollers and the 8th placed Ipswich Force. A force win will cement a playoff berth and a likely trip up north to play Mackay or Townsville, whilst a Rollers win will set up a fascinating match against Toowoomba on Sunday to decide their playoff fate. The Rollers led from start to finish against the Pirates in Round 14 to keep their season alive. Jack McVeigh finished with 24 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists as the Rollers shut down the Pirates down the stretch to run away 17-point victors. Ipswich split their northern road double with a Friday loss to Mackay backed up by a huge 22-point thumping of Rockhampton the following evening. After a poor individual performance against the Meteors, Kyle Harvey bounced back with a massive 37 points and 16 rebounds over the Rockets. The Force dominated on the offensive end shooting 54% for the contest. The Rollers only loss in July was to the Force by a single point back in Round 12 and we think they might turn the table around in front of their home crowd and all but end Ipswich’s season.

 

Mackay Meteors v South West Metro Pirates

The Meteors made light work of the resurgent Ipswich Force winning by a comfortable 28-points. The Mackay defense was dominant and kept the Force to their lowest score of the season. Blanchfield and Tragardh scored a quick fire 28 and 20 points respectively before emptying the bench in the final quarter. The win ensures Mackay a top-2 finish, whilst a Round 15 victory over the Pirates will lock in home court for the entirety of the playoffs. South West were unable to stay in touch with the Gold Coast Rollers in Round 14 as they fell by 17-points. The Pirates only managed a dismal 71 points for the match and committed a horrible 22 turnovers whilst only recording 8 assists. The loss puts South West at major risk at missing the playoffs considering their challenging Round 15 schedule. Depending on other results the Pirates are likely to need to win one more victory to keep their season alive. With home court on the line for the Meteors they will prove too strong which will set up a winner takes all game in Rockhampton on Saturday.

 

Townsville Heat v Sunshine Coast Phoenix

The Heat were able to lead from start to finish against the 5th placed Brisbane Capitals as they finished 9-point victors despite leading by as much as 21 points in the third quarter. Harrison Froling had another massive match finishing with 24 points, 17 rebounds and 6 assists as he stretched his streak of 20+ point performances to six. Justin Baker scored an efficient 17 points to go along with 12 rebounds on 8/9 shooting. The Heat will be praying for a shock Mackay loss to the Pirates which would give them home court throughout the playoffs. Sunshine Coast were able to snap a 7-game losing streak with a 15-point win over the last-placed Spartans.  CJ Massingale turned back the clock in the absence of team leading scorer Roy Booker with a whopping 40 points which included 9 made three-pointers. The scoring outburst saw Massingale receiving Player of the Week honours. With Townsville peaking at the right time of year they will make light work of the visiting Phoenix as they lock in a top-2 position entering the business end of the season.

 

USC Rip City v Southern Districts Spartans

After losing 4 in a row Rip have now recorded two straight victories and have secured home court in the first week of the playoffs. USC ran away 17-point victors on the road against the Seahawks as their defense only gave up 66 points for the contest. Josh Tueta was the high man for the visitors with 24 points to go along with 12 rebounds in only 24 minutes of action. Despite a first week meeting against the Capitals all locked in, USC will have to get through the last-placed Spartans who would like one more final scalp to finish off their disappointing season. The Spartans were unable to contain CJ Massingale and the Phoenix as they fell by 15-points whilst giving up 109 points. The previous night they also fell to the Mountaineers by 15-points despite both games being at Rowland Cowan Stadium. One of Southern District’s two victories on the season was against USC back in Round 10, although we believe USC are back on track and will enter the playoffs after recording their third victory in a row while the Spartans lock in bottom spot for the season.

 

Cairns Marlins v Sunshine Coast Phoenix 

The Marlins their third straight defeat after a Round 14 loss to the Brisbane Capitals at Early Settler Stadium. The Marlins were limited to only 73 points on the offensive end as they again struggled to put the ball in the hoop. The Capitals only shot 38% for the game but 20 Cairns turnovers contributed to +17 field goal attempts for the winning team. Fabijan Krslovic starred for the home side with 21 points and 15 rebounds in what was easily his best game of the season. With a top-4 spot out of the picture this is the perfect opportunity for the Marlins to get back onto the winners list heading into the first week of the playoffs. Cairns will be looking for Captain Anthony Fisher to find his form of a month ago after a few quiet games over the losing streak. The Phoenix will be on the second game of a back-to-back and with more injury blows to Sunshine Coast the Marlins should win this comfortably with a likely trip south to play Logan in the first week of the playoffs.

Gladstone Port City Power v Brisbane Capitals

The Power will finish their season with two home games against two visiting playoff bound teams in the Capitals and Thunder. Gladstone are coming off a Round 14 bye but now hold the leagues longest losing streak which sits at 7 games after going winless in July. Despite the losing streak, guard Taylor Young has been a shining light for Gladstone with impressive averages of 23, 5 and 5 on 57% on the season. The Capitals split their northern road double with a loss to Townsville on Frida night followed up with a great start to finish win over the Marlins. Brisbane had five players score in double figures in each game with no player scoring over 20 points for the weekend. This illustrates the variety of offensive threats for the Capitals which is reassuring heading into the business end of the season. Despite the 5th position being locked in for the Capitals, they will be motivated to continue their winning ways heading into the playoffs and we see them having no troubles getting past the struggling Power.

 

Rockhampton Rockets v South West Metro Pirates

After a Round 14 loss to the visiting Ipswich Force, the Rockets have a losing record and find themselves outside of the playoff picture for the first time this season. The Rockets gave up 106 points against the Force and allowed them to shoot 54% in the 22-point rout. James Mitchell was a standout despite the loss with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists on only 6 field goal attempts. The Rockets should look for ways to get Mitchell more open shots if he continues to score the ball in such an efficient manner. After starting the season 4-1, Rockhampton have only managed 4 victories in their past 12 outings and now find themselves in a position where they not only rely on themselves to win to make the playoffs, but for other teams around them to lose. They face a Pirates squad on the second game of a back-to-back and with a likely loss to the Meteors the night before both teams will require a win to keep their playoff dreams alive. Despite a poor June and July, we expect the Rockets to scrape past the Pirates and clinch a playoff berth whilst all but ending the Pirates season.

 

Gladstone Port City Power v Logan Thunder

The Power will be backing up after a Saturday night hit out against the visiting Capitals as the hottest team in the league the Logan Thunder hit Kev Broome Stadium. The Thunder have won 6 straight and 9 of their last 10 as they hit the playoffs running. Logan backed up a Round 13 rout of the Marlins with a 12-point victory over the Mountaineers and ending their season. The win capped off a perfect home season as they finished the regular season 9-0 at Cornubia Park Sports Complex and are the only undefeated team at home entering the playoffs. A win over the struggling Power will lock in 3rd spot, whilst an unlikely Townsville loss to the Sunshine Coast could open up 2nd spot for the Thunder. Logan will get through their final regular season game with ease as they enter the playoffs a real threat to the Big 2 up north to take home the championship.

 

Southern Districts Spartans v North Gold Coast Seahawks 

The Spartans and Seahawks will face off with the loser most likely taking the last position on the ladder for 2018. The Seahawks were successful over the Spartans by 5 points back in Round 12 meaning that the Spartans will have to win by 6 or more points to hand the Seahawks the wooden spoon. Southern Districts will be backing up after a Saturday night contest against the 4th placed USC Rip before making the trip back to Brisbane to take on the Seahawks on Sunday. North Gold Coast were no match for USC in Round 14 as they fell by 17-points at home and were restricted to only 66 points for the game which is their lowest tally of the season. Jerron Jamerson scored a team-high 19, whilst Quinten Campbell recorded a massive 17 rebounds. Despite this game being a dead rubber in regard to playoff seeding, neither side will want to conclude their season on the bottom of the ladder. Regardless of their poor past fortnight we expect the Seahawks to bounce back and finish their season series with the Spartans 2-0.

 

Gold Coast Rollers v Toowoomba Mountaineers

The Rollers season will be playing their second do-or-die game of the weekend this time against the Toowoomba Mountaineers. If Gold Coast are successful over the Force on Friday night their season will still be alive with a win over Toowoomba being the final step to secure a playoff berth. After finding themselves in 8th position at the completion of Round 10 the Mountaineers have since gone 1-4 to find themselves out of the playoff picture entering the final round of the regular season. Toowoomba were 15-point victors over the struggling Spartans before backing up with a loss against the Thunder on Sunday. Bozeman put up 34, 13 and 7 against the Spartans and Harold Ridgeway had a massive 17 and 17. Ridgeway backed up with another 18 and 17 performance against Logan whilst Bozeman could only manage 5/26 shooting against the Thunder. A month ago the Mountaineers were the surprise packet of the league but have since fallen dramatically in the month of July. Regardless of Gold Coast’s result on Friday night we expect them to be too much for Toowoomba to handle on their home court.

 

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Gold Coast Rollers v Ipswich Force

The Rollers came agonisingly close to recording their 3rd win of the season but unfortunately could not get over the line against the top-4 placed Pirates falling 79-81. Dana Brown put in a team-high 21 points including 6-9 from downtown for the game. This was Brown’s highest scoring output for the season. Ipswich continued on their winning ways with two huge wins up north over the Meteorettes and the Cyclones. Amanda Johnson averaged a whopping 29 points and 10.5 rebounds across the weekend to keep a strangle hold on top of the scoring title and to close in within half a game of Mackay’s Ruvanna Campbell for the rebounding title. The Force will be praying that Sunshine Coast Phoenix knock off the Flames in order to gain home court advantage for the entirety of the playoffs. Ipswich will at worst lock in a top-2 finish with a comfortable victory over the struggling Rollers.

 

Mackay Meteorettes v South West Metro Pirates

Mackay fell to the Ipswich Force in Round 14 by a disappointing 25-points at McDonald’s Mackay Stadium. Loyd, Campbell and Freeburn combined for 53 points in the contest, with the seven other players to hit the court only combining for 10. The loss has locked the Meteorettes into the 7th or 8th position entering the playoffs with a week one matchup with Townsville or Ipswich likely on the cards. The Pirates escaped the Gold Coast with a narrow 2-point victory in round 14. Nicole Seekamp led the team with an incredible stat line of 28 points, 7 rebounds, 12 assists and 7 steals on her way to receiving QBL Player of the Week honours. South West enter the final round of the season in 3rd spot but could drop to as low as 5ht depending on not only their own results but Southern Districts and Rockhampton. Mackay will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing output against Ipswich but considering South West still have a home final on their minds they should get over the line.

 

Townsville Flames v Sunshine Coast Phoenix

Arguably the Match of the Round with 1st v 5th at Townsville 106.3FM Stadium. The Flames were able to survive the Capitals in overtime on Friday night winning 100-96. Townsville came back from a 12-point deficit inside the final 9 minutes to keep hold onto top spot. Goodchild, Cocks and Garbin all recorded 20-point double doubles in the contest. Sunshine Coast fell to the Southern Districts Spartans by 17-points in Round 14 to fall outside of the top-4. The Phoenix only trailed by 1 at the major break before the Spartans took over in the second half. Nat Hurst put in 31 points on an efficient 60% shooting, while Abby Bishop managed 23 points and 15 rebounds although on 6-21 shooting. With both teams having a lot on the line in this contest there is a lot to play for. We expect Townsville to have too much depth in this one and to get the win in front of their home crowd and set up home court advantage for the playoffs.

 

USC Rip City v Southern Districts Spartans

USC are now out of the playoffs after dropping their mini-playoff match against the Seahawks in Round 14. Rip were blown out from start to finish after falling behind by 18-points at the first change. Scott, Smith and Shaw all hit double figures for USC, but their defense was unable to limit North Gold Coast as they gave up 94 points for the night. Southern Districts were able to go 2-0 on their Round 14 home double making light work of the winless Mountaineers Saturday night before backing up with an impressive 17-point win over the Sunshine Coast Phoenix. Anderson and Taia both topped 20 points against the Phoenix, closely followed by an efficient 17 from Aja Parham. The Spartans win streak has now hit 7 games and with two winnable games in the final round of the regular season the streak could realistically hit 9 entering the playoffs. Southern Districts were able to run away 21-point victors in the only other match up between these two team in Round 10. USC will be looking to finish the season on a positive note, but we believe the Spartans are hitting their straps at the right time of year and will runaway comfortable winners.

 

Cairns Dolphins v Sunshine Coast Phoenix

The Dolphins are out of the playoff race but now find themselves in 9th position after a Round 14 win over the Brisbane Capitals. Cairns got on top in the second half over the tired Capitals outfit who pushed the Flames to overtime the previous night, as they ran away 75-61 winners. Pryor and Perkins both put in 17 for the home side, as Pryor completed a double double with 10 rebounds. Despite having nothing to play for in regard to ladder positioning, the Dolphins are in the perfect position to not only finish their season on a high but to impact the run of a playoff bound team as the Phoenix come to town. Sunshine Coast will be backing up after a tough contest against Townsville and depending on other results may still eb I the hunt for a top-4 berth. This is a danger game for the Phoenix as they face a freshened Cairns squad, but we believe with so much on the line entering the playoffs Sunshine Coast should just get over the line.

Gladstone Port City Power v Brisbane Capitals 

Gladstone are coming off a Round 14 bye following a competitive match against the top-placed Flames in Round 13 where they only fell by 7 points. Amanda Frost recorded her fourth straight 20+ point performance as she finished with 22 points, followed by 20 points and a massive 23 rebounds from Ashleigh Kelman-Poto. In what has been a disappointing 2018 QBL season for the Power, they have an opportunity to win only their second game of the season as the Brisbane Capitals fly north for the second straight weekend. The Capitals pushed the top-placed Flames to overtime before just falling short and were unable to leave North Queensland with a victory as they fell to Cairns the following night by 14 points. Amy Lewis was the only Brisbane player to hit double figures in each match for the weekend and averaged a serviceable 18 points across both contests. Despite a string of 5 straight losses, last weeks form shows that the Capitals may be a little closer to their next win than Gladstone and they should get over the line narrowly at Kev Broome Stadium on Saturday evening.

 

Rockhampton Cyclones v South West Metro Pirates 

After a Round 14 loss to the Ipswich Force the Cyclones are locked into the 6th seed entering the QBL playoffs. Rockhampton were unable to take advantage of a 4-point half time lead as they allowed a 14-27 third period in the Force’s favour to fall into a hole in which they were unable to erase down the stretch. Ellenberg (26 points), Dowdell (22 points and 17 rebounds) and Boag (18 points and 14 rebounds) all put up huge numbers for the Cyclones yet were unable to limit the production of Ipswich’s Amanda Johnson which ended up being the difference in the contest. The Pirates will be backing up after a Friday night match up with the Meteorettes and depending on results will still be in the hunt for a top-4 finish. Due to the importance of home court entering the playoffs we think that the Pirates will be able to find the extra motivation to get over the line in this one.

 

Gladstone Port City Power v Logan Thunder 

The Power will complete their final round home double against the visiting Logan Thunder. With two matches against the Mountaineers over the past fortnight the Thunder have been able to string together 3 games in a row, including a 13-point win over the Dolphins. Captain Mikhaela Donnelly has been unstoppable over the win streak averaging 17.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and a whopping 14 assists on 50% shooting. Zitina Aokusa put up a massive 38 points and 10 rebounds in Round 14 against the Mountaineers. In Round 12 the Thunder only fell to Sunshine Coast Phoenix by 4-points further highlighting their strong month and ability to match it with some of the competitions best on their day. Despite this game having no impact on playoff positioning we think Logan will finish their season with a fourth straight victory and Donnelly to finish with another near triple-double performance.

 

Southern Districts Spartans v North Gold Coast Seahawks 

The Spartans will be play their second game of the weekend backing up after a trip to the Sunshine Coast to play USC on Saturday night. North Gold Coast were successful in their mini-playoff game against USC in Round 14 which now sees them cementing a playoff berth and being locked into that 7th or 8th seed entering the business end of the season. The Seahawks jumped out of the block and ran to an early 18-point lead at quarter time and never looked back as they eventually won by 22-points. Casey Samuels was huge with a massive 36 points and 13 rebounds including 5 of her teams 6 made three-pointers. With the Spartans hitting the playoffs playing their best basketball of the season this will be a perfect test for the Seahawks to see where they’re at entering the playoffs. Were expecting the Spartans to get the W over USC and need to follow up with a victory over the Seahawks to clinch a top-4 seed and they should do so at Rowland Cowan Stadium on Sunday.

Gold Coast Rollers v Toowoomba Mountaineers

The Gold Coast Rollers will be playing their second game of the weekend after a Friday night match up with Ipswich. After playing one of the leagues best teams they will get a better opportunity to finish the season with a win as the winless Mountaineers come to the Gold Coast on Sunday. The Rollers were able to defeat Toowoomba by 42-points at the Clive Berghofer Rec Centre back in Round 10. In what has been a winless disappointing season for the Mountaineers, Donnaizha Fountain has been the shining light for the team averaging 20 points a night since Malena Washington has not played since Round 4. If the Mountaineers are to find a way to record their first win of the season expect Fountain to hit the scoreboard in a big way. The Rollers should prove to be the superior team in this contest and finish the season on a high as Toowoomba conclude their season to forget at 0-18.

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