QBL Game Previews – Round 2

 

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Townsville Heat v Mackay Meteors

The Heat will open their 2018 QBL season unveiling their championship rings to their home crowd against the team who they were successful against in last year’s 3 game Grand Final Series, the Mackay Meteors. With most of the Heat roster staying intact, they will definitely be one of the teams to beat again in QBL 2018. Grand Final MVP Josh Wilcher will be looking to lead his team back to the promise land and will no doubt lead from the front as he did last year. The Mackay roster has been revamped after losing QBL MVP Shaun Bruce and fellow All-Star 5 member Lucas Walker. New Meteor Todd Blanchfield was huge for the team in Round 1 putting up 21 points and 14 rebounds in a 20-point rout over Logan at home. Mackay might take some time to adjust to their major roster changes in 2018 and might come up just short against the settled Townsville squad.

 

North Gold Coast Seahawks v Brisbane Capitals

The Seahawks were welcomed into the QBL with two highly competitive losses against the two Sunshine Coast squads in Round 1. Imports Jerron Jamerson and Quinton Campbell carried much of the load over the first weekend averaging 29.5 and 26.5 points respectively. North Gold Coast will host their first home game for 2018 against a Capitals outfit who will travel to the Gold Coast for consecutive weekends. Brisbane went down to the Rollers by 15 points in Round 1 after having to adjust to life without Dusty Rychart who suffered a season ending injury in the preseason. The Capitals’ were also missing Aaron Anderson who they will be hoping to get back onto the court as soon as possible. Despite the losses in Round 1, this Seahawks group will be confident of notching their first QBL victory and depending on Brisbane’s lineup might be favoured to do so.

 

USC Rip City v Gladstone Port City Power

USC Rip City were able to split their opening weekend by defeating North Gold Coast after dropping a close one to Sunshine Coast Phoenix on Friday night. The positive to come out of the weekend was the strong play of Isiah Tueta and Lance Hurdle, who proved they will again be the two leaders for the Rip going into 2018. Despite Tueta’s 1/11 shooting against the Seahawks he still managed 8 assists highlighting his willingness to get his teammates involved. Gladstone will be playing their first match of the season under new coach Brady Walmsley. It will be hard to gauge where the Power are at entering the season due to the large turnover from last year’s roster. We are looking forward to seeing the play of imports Casey Walker and Taylor Young, but USC at home in this one.

 

Toowoomba Mountaineers v South West Metro Pirates

The Mountaineers are coming off a disappointing start to season 2018 being blown out at home by 26 points against the Marlins. Defensively Toowoomba managed to keep the Marlins under 40% shooting for the game, but their inability to keep them off the offensive glass proved pivotal. Getting to the free throw line and converting these opportunities should be a key for the squad entering Round 2, after only attempting 7 for the game in Round 1 and connecting on 1 of these. South West split their opening weekend with a 9-point victory over Southern Districts, followed by a narrow 2-point loss to Cairns. Coach Mick Downer would be pleased with the even scoring spread in both games with 4 players reaching double digits. The Pirates shot a horrendous 2/27 from downtown against the Marlins, a number which is unlikely to be repeated by any side for the remainder of the season. The team did well to nearly steal the W away from the Marlins despite the terrible shooting. Unfortunately, it looks as though it might be another lean year for the Mountaineers. Pirates comfortably.

 

Cairns Marlins v Mackay Meteors

The Marlins are coming off 3 massive victories in Round 1 and will be looking to continue on their winning ways in front of their home crowd at Early Settler Stadium on Saturday night. After two convincing victories over Toowoomba and Ipswich, Cairns were able to survive against SWM Pirates with a Kuany Kuany basket inside the final seconds to break the deadlock and give the Marlins the 2-point victory. This was the final touches on a great weekend for Kuany Kuany who finished the weekend with impressive averages of 18 points and 11 rebounds across the three wins. Mackay will be coming off a massive game on Friday night in the Grand Final rematch, in which they will be desperate to get revenge against Townsville. Despite their opening weekend triple header, Cairns will be the fresher team heading into this matchup and should be able to hold on at home.

 

Southern Districts Spartans v Gold Coast Rollers

The Spartans are coming off a single-digit defeat at the hands of the Pirates in Round 1, in which they only managed a disappointing 6 points in the opening term. Over the remaining three quarters the Spartans were able to outscore the Pirates by 12. Coach Thomson will be wanting a more aggressive start to the game this weekend to prevent falling in another deep hole early. Will Magnay was a shining light in the loss putting up 20 and 9 to go along with 5 blocks. The Rollers will be pleased with the start of their season, after recording a 15-point victory over Brisbane in Round 1. Jack McVeigh led the way with 21 and 11 boards, although from 21 field goal attempts. Five Gold Coast players managed to record double digits, which is a positive note for Coach Conlon. This is one of the tougher games to predict for the weekend, but with Gibson possibly still out of the lineup we are leaning towards the visiting Rollers.

 

Ipswich Force v Logan Thunder

Ipswich suffered a home defeat at the hands of the Cairns Marlins in Round 1. Ipswich were unable to contain the Marlins as they scored at ease and put up 106 points on the Force on 44% shooting. Ipswich will be looking to avoid a similar story to 2017 where they were arguably the league’s worst defensive side. On a positive note, Kyle Harvey and Garrett Hall scored with ease putting in 28 and 22 respectively. Logan are coming off a pair of losses on their north road double against Rockhampton and Mackay. The Thunder will be ruing a slow start on Friday against the Rockets, falling behind by 17 at the major break. Mitch Young and Michael Cedar were dominant, but the team’s inability to guard the three-point line largely resulted in them conceding 60% behind the arc. The squad also gave up an early lead on Saturday, falling behind by 14 at half time. It will be a major focus for the Thunder to jump out of the blocks fast against a Force team who we all know can score with ease. We are predicting the Thunder to bounce back and record their first W of the season.

 

Sunshine Coast Phoenix v Gladstone Port City Power

Sunshine Coast Phoenix have started their season off in style with two strong wins over cross-town rivals USC and the competition newbies the Seahawks. Against USC Jamaal Robateau put in 19 points off the bench in only 20 minutes for the Phoenix, while Tom Fullarton managed 19 of his own off only 10 shots. Against the Seahawks on Sunday, Roy Booker was the star of the show putting in a whopping 38 points including 7 three pointers, to go along with 9 assists. Gladstone will be coming off a tough match against USC the previous night and will come up against a fresh Phoenix squad who have had 7 days’ rest. This Sunshine Coast team will be too strong in this one.

 

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Townsville Flames v Mackay Meteorettes

 The Flames begin their 2018 season against rivals Mackay on Friday night. Townsville lost in the quarter finals last year and have revamped their squad with Mackay veteran Micaela Cocks heading north. She will be joined by last year’s leading point scorer Darcee Garbin and young guns Alexandra Fowler and the Carey sisters for 2018. The Meteorettes had a strong opening win against Logan at home last Saturday. Ruvanna Campbell and captain Jacqui Zelenka top scored with 17 and 15 respectively. Campbell was also dominant in the paint with 14 defensive rebounds and 2 steals. This will be the first of two games for the Meteorettes as they travel north to Cairns the following day to take on the Dolphins. It should be a close game with a slight advantage to the Flames at home.

 

North Gold Coast Seahawks v Brisbane Capitals  

Saturday night is an historic occasion for the Seahawks as they host their first QBL game against the Brisbane Capitals. The Seahawks had dominated the SBL in previous years and now have the chance to stamp their authority on the biggest stage in Queensland basketball. The Seahawks began their 2018 QBL with an impressive win over USC Rip City on Saturday night. Bridget O’Brien top scored with 18, whilst Lauren Jansen had 10 rebounds in the 10-point win. The Seahawks suffered a tough loss to the Phoenix in their second game however going down by 18 points. Casey Samuels led the team with 15 points and 2 blocks, whilst Emily Allen had 4 assists. The Capitals started their 2018 campaign with a win over the Rollers on the Gold Coast on Sunday. Diana Neves had 20, Amy Lewis picked up 19, whilst Akilah Bethel registered 15 rebounds and 4 assists in the win. In front of a raucous home crowd, expect this to be the game of the round.

 

USC Rip City v Gladstone Port City Power 

The Rip are searching for their first win of the season after losing a home double-header to neighbours Phoenix and newcomers Seahawks in Round 1. Leah Scott was outstanding for the Rip averaging 34 points and 11.5 rebounds playing every minute of both games on the weekend. Scott will need more help from the rest of her team when they take on the Power at home on Saturday night. Gladstone had a bye in Round 1 and will be looking to get their season off to a great start in the first of two games on the Sunshine Coast. The Power will need to fill the big shoes of 2017 QBL MVP Tabatha Richardson Smith who left the club at the end of the season. Gladstone have recruited Amanda Frost and Jennifer Mathurin in the hopes of reaching the semi-finals again in 2018.

 

Southern Districts Spartans v Gold Coast Rollers

 The Spartans went through 2017 undefeated and claimed the Championship in emphatic fashion back in September. Last Saturday however the Spartans suffered their first loss since 2016 to the Pirates. Aja Parham led the team with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in the defeat to South West. The Rollers had a tough start to the season going down by 10 points to the Capitals at home. Alicia Carline scored 21 points shooting at 63% whilst also grabbing 16 boards. She was supported by Siarn Woods with 15 points and Christine Obermeier who had 14 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Expect the Spartans to come back firing at home in Round 2.

 

Cairns Dolphins v Mackay Meteorettes  

Cairns faced a massive triple-header in Round 1 to begin their 2018 season. After a strong opening night win over the Mountaineers in Toowoomba, the Dolphins suffered losses to Ipswich by 7 and South West Metro by a whopping 33 points. Robin Perkins led the Dolphins in scoring with 18.7 points over the weekend, followed by Rachel Pryor with 15.7 and Myra Donkin with 12.7, whilst Jade Kennedy averaged 13 rebounds and 4 assists a game for Cairns. Mackay will play their second game of a double-header and will need to cut down on their turnovers having committed 18 last week to the Thunder. With plenty of big positional matchups in this one it should be a great contest in Cairns.

 

Toowoomba Mountaineers v South West Metro Pirates

The Mountaineers suffered a massive 48-point loss to Cairns on Friday night scoring just 34 points in the process. The Mountaineers’ shooting percentage of 17.8 was the lowest over the weekend. Just one player managed to reach double digits with captain Malena Washington scoring 11 points. Taylor Valach led the team with 16 rebounds, but the Mountaineers will need every ounce of strength to take on a red-hot South West Metro Pirates on Saturday. The Pirates were tremendous in their opening double-header of the season destroying both the reigning champs Southern Districts by 17 and Cairns by 33 at home. Steph Bairstow top scored with 24 against the Spartans and Nicole Seekamp led the team with 23 against the Dolphins on Sunday. There were many contributors on both sides of the ball for the Pirates over the weekend and these results should have them as one of the early favourites to go the distance in 2018.

 

Ipswich Force v Logan Thunder  

The Ipswich Force got off to a good start on Saturday with a 7-point win over Cairns on their home court. Rachel Mate and Amanda Johnson both top scored with 21, whilst Johnson chipped in with 12 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks. The Force will need to work on their accuracy this week as they shot under 30% from the field. Logan faced a tough road trip to start the season with a double-header in the north against Rockhampton and Mackay. The Thunder opened their season with a hard-fought 67-61 win over the Cyclones in Rocky. Zitina Aokuso led the way with 24 points and 13 rebounds and Logan were able to score half their points in the paint thanks to Aokuso. Cassie Carroll also had a strong hand in her 50th game for the Thunder scoring 14 points and 10 boards. Logan were unable to go back-to-back against Mackay falling by 7 points in a tight contest at the Crater. Aokuso again led the way in scoring and rebounds with 20 and 7 respectively. The 8-day break will help Logan this weekend against an improved Ipswich team in 2018. Expect this one to be a tight contest. 

 

Sunshine Coast Phoenix v Gladstone Port City Power

The Phoenix appear to be one of the biggest improvers in the QBL this season, thanks to the recruitment of Abby Bishop and Natalie Hurst. Bishop was named QBL Player of the Week in Round 1 on the back of 29 points, 18.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists in their two wins against Rip City and Seahawks. Hurst provided excellent support in the 1-2 punch registering 27.5 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists. If the duo keeps this up the Phoenix will be one of the toughest sides to beat in 2018. Gladstone will need to hope they can shut down Bishop and Hurst in the second game of their Sunshine Coast double-header. The Power will need big minutes from recruits Frost and Mathurin in a team without much depth. Phoenix should be far too strong at home.

 

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