QBL Game Previews – Round 4

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Rockhampton Rockets v Mackay Meteors 

We open Round 4 of QBL 2018 with the Match of the Round as the undefeated Meteors travel to Rockhampton to take on the 2-1 Rockets. Rockhampton split their difficult road double in Round 3 with a tough win over Cairns on Friday before dropping to Townsville on Saturday. Malcolm Bernard scored a game-high 31 over the Marlins, before putting up 25 against the Heat. Ray Willis and Jack Lopez also averaged an impressive 21 and 19 respectively over the weekend. The Meteors continued on their winning ways with a 43-point thumping of Toowoomba on Friday night. The easy victory ensured that all players were able to hit the court, with no player playing more than 23 minutes. Despite being away from home, Mackay may just escape with a narrow victory.

Townsville Heat v North Gold Coast Seahawks

The Heat were able to record their first victory of 2018 with a 13-point victory over the red-hot Rockets in Round 3. Josh Wilcher was able to recover after a relatively quiet first game with 24 points on an impressive 64% shooting, whilst Harrison Froling (22 and 15) and Jordair Jett (24 and 9) also had big games. The Heat connected on a massive 52% from behind the arc, which was able to shadow a disappointing 22 turnovers committed. North Gold Coast are still looking for their first win for the season after a disappointing 19-point loss at home to the Phoenix. Jerron Jamerson was huge for the Seahawks contributing exactly half of his teams point tally with 43, to go along with 6 steals. Over the opening three rounds, North Gold Coast commit the most turnovers per game at 19.8, more than 3 more than any other team. The Heat will win comfortably in this one.

Gold Coast Rollers v Logan Thunder

Gold Coast have been one of the surprise packets to start the season winning 3 of their first 4 games. The Rollers were able to bounce back after a Saturday night loss to the Pirates with a one-point victory over the Phoenix on Sunday. A great team effort led the Rollers to Sunday’s victory, with 7 players reaching double figures and no player scoring more than 15. Logan have recovered from their 0-2 start by winning their last two contests by an impressive 18 and 31 points over Ipswich and Southern Districts. Mitch Young put up another 20-point double double, whilst league assist leader Rayshawn Simmons added another 10. The Thunder lead the league in offensive rebounds and if the Rollers are able to keep Young and Kyei off the glass this will go a long way to helping them seal the home victory. Picking an upset with Logan getting a narrow road W.

South West Metro Pirates v Toowoomba Mountaineers

The Pirates recorded an impressive 11-point victory over Gold Coast before being blown out by a fresh USC outfit on Sunday. Princeton Onwas continued his strong form with an efficient 23 points against the Rollers. Onwas was a noticeable absentee from Sunday’s match, which no doubt contributed to the heavy defeat. Toowoomba suffered an embarrassing 43-point loss at the hands of the undefeated Meteors in Mackay on Friday, before bouncing back in style with a whopping 30-point victory in Gladstone the following evening. Damon Bozeman scored an incredible 49 points in the victory on an impressive 67% shooting, including 8 made three-pointers. Outside of Bozeman’s unbelievable night, four other Neers players were able to reach double figures. Depending on the availability of Onwas the Pirates will enter this contest heavy favourites and should be able to get back on the winners list.

Sunshine Coast Phoenix v Brisbane Capitals 

Sunshine Coast are coming off their first loss in season 2018, albeit by the smallest of margins at the hands of the Gold Coast Rollers. Roy Booker continues to put up impressive numbers by averaging 30.5 points and 7.5 assists across the 1-1 weekend. The Capitals suffered a disappointing 22-point home loss to the previously winless Ipswich Force. Brisbane’s defense will need to lift immediately after allowing an inexcusable 55% shooting against the Force. Despite the loss, Jacob Davis was able to put in 29 for the home side, while Kopcikas scored 16 of his own on an impressive 8/9 from the field. This match up will feature the league’s top two scoring teams, although it will most likely be defense that is the biggest factor in the game. With both sides coming off losses, we expect the Phoenix to get back on the winners list in front of their home crowd.

Cairns Marlins v North Gold Coast Seahawks

The Marlins suffered their first loss of the season going down to Rockhampton by 5 points at Early Settler Stadium. Cairns found themselves in a big hole early as the Rockets jumped to a 16-point lead at the end of the first quarter. An Anthony Fisher made layup gave the home side the lead inside the final minute before a 6-0 Rockets run all but ended the home team’s chances. Fisher continued his hot form with 25 points and 9 rebounds, whilst Kuany Kuany added 22 of his own. North Gold Coast will be playing their second game of the weekend, coming off a tough contest against Townsville on Friday. It is unlikely to see the Seahawks being able to challenge the Marlins, especially on the second night of a back-to-back. Cairns comfortably.

Gladstone Port City Power v Mackay Meteors

The Power are coming off an embarrassing 30-point home loss against the previously winless Toowoomba. Gladstone were still able to put up 90 points of their own, largely due to Taylor Young’s and Matt Hancock’s hot shooting, but their inability to defend the Mountaineers was their biggest downfall. Toowoomba shot at an incredible 61% clip for the match. Unfortunately for the Power they have the ladder-leading Meteors coming to town. Mackay will be coming off a tough opening match in Rockhampton and Gladstone will have every opportunity to take out their tired opposition. The Meteors will be motivated to finish off their road trip in style and will more than likely go back to Mackay with their second victory of the weekend.

USC Rip City v Brisbane Capitals

USC will enter Round 4 full of confidence after a 26-point road victory over the Pirates. Nathan Arousi’s men kept South West to a season-low 69 points on 36% shooting. Lance Hurdle top scored for the visitors with 21, followed closely by Eric McAlister and Isaih Tueta’s 19 and 16 respectively. Brisbane will be playing their second game in as many days following a Saturday night hit out against the Phoenix. Rip City are sitting comfortably with only the one loss from their opening four matches and we expect them to continue on their winning ways over the inconsistent Capitals.

Southern Districts Spartans v Ipswich Force 

The Spartans will be looking for their first victory of season 2018 and will be coming up against an Ipswich Force outfit who are red hot after their belting of the Capitals in Round 3. Southern Districts suffered their third straight loss at the hands of the Logan Thunder by a disappointing 31 points. The Spartans are currently the league’s lowest scoring team only managing 78 points a night, largely in part to their poor field goal shooting, also a league low 39%. For Southern Districts to be any chance of recording their first victory, their defense will need to carry the load to make up for their offensive struggles thus far. The Force’s offense was rolling in Round 3, scoring a massive 112 points on an impressive 56% shooting. Player of the Week Kyle Harvey was unstoppable with 36 points, 17 rebounds and 8 assists, whilst Garrett Hall also put in 26 of his own. It is no secret that Ipswich are one of the best offensive sides in the league, but it is often on the other end that they let their guard down. Considering the Spartans early season offensive struggles it is difficult to see them being able to keep up with the Force and this should lead to an Ipswich victory.

 

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Townsville Flames v North Gold Coast Seahawks

Townsville have begun season 2018 on fire winning their first two games and were far too strong against Rockhampton last weekend. The Flames had three players scoring in the 20’s with Darcee Garbin (28), Micaela Cocks (25) and Harriet Carey with 23 points on the night. Garbin and Cocks also had 12 rebounds each, whilst Cocks picked up a triple double with 10 assists as well. After Round 3, the Flames lead the league in shooting, assists, rebounds and points and sit comfortably on top of the table with the Pirates and Force. Their next opponent North Gold Coast will have a tough double-header up north in Round 4. The Seahawks were outstanding last week at home beating the more fancied SC Phoenix, restricting Abby Bishop to just 7 points. Casey Samuels and Leeza Burdgess top scored for the Seahawks with 17 each, whilst Burdgess had 10 rebounds and 2 blocks in a fantastic performance. It’s never easy travelling up north but this young Seahawks team has impressed many in their first season and will push Townsville at home. The Flames however are still big favourites to make it 3 from 3. 

Rockhampton Cyclones v Mackay Meteorettes

The Cyclones had mixed results in Round 3 beating Cairns on Friday before losing to Townsville by 34 points the following night. Rocky are back at home in Round 4 and needing a big win against Mackay to keep in touch with the top 8 early in the season. Aaryn Ellenberg averaged 21 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6 assists over the weekend, whilst Christina Boag had 17 points and 11 rebounds including a top score of 26 against Cairns. Mackay face their second road double-header in three weeks when they travel to Rockhampton and Gladstone. The Meteorettes took apart the Mountaineers at home on Friday night with Mia Lloyd putting in a sterling performance with 28 points, 11 boards and 4 assists. She was well supported by Ruvanna Campbell who had 22, 19 and 6 on the night. Mackay used their bench well in Round 3 and will need them to fire again on a tough road trip this weekend which begins at Hegvold Stadium on Friday. 

Gold Coast Rollers v Logan Thunder

Few would have predicted the Rollers getting within 10 points of both the Pirates and Phoenix last weekend, but this Gold Coast team is a lot different to the one we saw in 2017. Despite remaining winless in 2018, the Rollers have been particularly impressive with solid contributions once again from Kate Hewett (19 points and 7 rebounds), Carliegh Patrick (14 points and 5 rebounds) and Alicia Carline (13.5 points and 8 rebounds) over the weekend. Alicia Carline also leads the league in blocks with 10 and continues to be a huge presence on defence for the Rollers. Logan have started the season 1-3 and will be desperate to head into the bye with a win on Saturday. The Thunder fought hard against last year’s champions Southern Districts, eventually going down by 15 points in a tight fought contest which had seven lead changes. Zitina Aokusa led the way with 20 points and 13 boards and was well supported by her captain Mikhaela Donnelly who had 11 points and 5 assists. Logan’s 3-point shooting has been a concern this season and are currently ranked last in the league with just 18%. This promises to be an enticing match-up with two hungry teams looking for an important victory. A game that could go down to the wire.

Sunshine Coast Phoenix v Brisbane Capitals 

The Phoenix stumbled on Saturday night against North Gold Coast before backing up on Sunday with a 10-point win against the Rollers on their Gold Coast road trip. Natalie Hurst continued her good form with averages of 21.5 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists over the weekend. Abby Bishop was kept in check against a fired-up Seahawks outfit on Saturday who limited the star Opal to just 7 points. She backed up the next day however putting up a team high 20 points and 14 rebounds in Sunshine Coast’s win. Brisbane suffered their first loss of the season going down to Ipswich by 9 points last weekend. The Capitals started slowly and were unable to keep up against Ipswich and their star performer Amanda Johnson. Diana Neves top scored for Brisbane with 14 points, whilst Madison Woodford had 11 rebounds and 5 assists in her 50th career game. The Capitals have committed the least number of turnovers and fouls in the league and will hope their offence can click against a powerful Phoenix outfit. However, Sunshine Coast at home may be too strong in this one. 

South West Metro Pirates v Toowoomba Mountaineers

The Pirates continue to roll on undefeated in 2018 after wins at home against Gold Coast and USC in Round 3. Nicole Seekamp averaged 25 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists, whilst Madelyn Willey had 21, 7 and 4 and Stephanie Bairstow put up an average of 14, 8 and 3 over the weekend. Seekamp leads the league in steals and gathered another 7 over the weekend. The Pirates face a Toowoomba team backing up from a tough road trip to the north having gone down to both Mackay and Gladstone by big margins. Malena Washington scored more than half of the team’s points against Mackay, however she had more support the following night in Gladstone with Kaila Gabriel top scoring with 20 and Jasmin Gardiner chipping in with 12. Emily Derksen continues to be a strong presence in the paint for the Mountaineers with 6 blocks on the season, the third most of the league. Toowoomba rank last in shooting, assists, scoring and turnovers committed and will be up against it on Saturday against the 5 & 0 Pirates. South West should win and win well.

Cairns Dolphins v North Gold Coast Seahawks

The Dolphins went down to Rockhampton last week and now register a 2-3 record in season 2018. Robin Perkins top scored with 20 points on the night before fouling out, whilst Rachel Pryor had 10 rebounds and Myra Donkin led the team with 5 assists in the loss. Elle Hutchinson was also a great addition off the bench with 15 points. The Dolphins will need to improve their defence this week after giving up 50 points in the paint to the Cyclones last weekend. The Seahawks will be backing up from the night before against a strong Townsville outfit and will rely on their depth to get the job done against Cairns. It’s a historic road trip for the QBL newcomers and the inexperience of the Seahawks could count against them in this battle. However, after a terrific win against the SC Phoenix, no one is discounting what the Seahawks can do against teams in the QBL.

Gladstone Port City Power v Mackay Meteorettes

Gladstone got their season going in Round 3 with a much needed 31-point thumping of Toowoomba at home. The Power were led by Amanda Frost and Milomilo Nanai who scored 24 and 23 respectively. Jennifer Mathurin scored 17 points, whilst Ashleigh Kelman-Poto had 15 rebounds in the win. Gladstone’s shooting has been impressive so far this season and they will need to maintain that when they take on their northern rivals on Saturday night. The Meteorettes travel to Gladstone for their second game of the round and will hope to improve their record to stay in the top 8. Mia Lloyd and Ruvanna Campbell have been fantastic for Mackay with Lloyd in the league’s top ten for points and Campbell for rebounds. Mackay are favoured here but on the backend of a double-header for them, Gladstone are primed to snatch an important win at home.

USC Rip City v Brisbane Capitals  

Rip City were impressive in large parts of their game against the Pirates last week but were ultimately beaten by 13 points. Leah Scott is the league’s leading scorer and she once again topped the scoresheet with 27 points and 10 rebounds for USC. Carlie Smith also collected 10 boards, whilst Bianca McDonald and Kristen Langhorn each had 5 assists. The Rip currently sit 12th on the ladder with a 1-3 record despite Scott’s scoring prowess. They have a great chance to add to the wins column on Sunday against a Capitals team backing up from the previous night’s game against the Phoenix. The Capitals will look to get back to winning themselves after going down to Ipswich in Round 3. This is a big weekend for Bronwyn Marshall’s team – their first double-header of the season and against two teams that contain some of the league’s top point scorers. These two teams play each other again in two weeks and it will be an enthralling contest on the Sunshine Coast, one which may favour the Rip at home. 

Southern Districts Spartans v Ipswich Force

The defending champs made it back to back wins last week against rivals Logan. Despite a close contest for much of the game, the Spartans ran away with it in the last quarter thanks to performances from Aja Parham (19 points, 16 rebounds and 6 assists) and Shona O’Bree who had 17 points, whilst Rebecca Haynes made sure her 200th game was celebrated in the right fashion with 17 points, 20 rebounds and 5 assists leading her team to victory. The Spartans were all made to work hard though with just seven players taking the court. Aja Parham continues to be the Spartan’s biggest asset ranking in the top ten for rebounds, assists, steals and blocks in 2018. The Ipswich Force are a team to be reckoned with in season 2018 thanks in large part to the dominance of Amanda Johnson. Johnson won her second consecutive QBL Player of the Week award after a 25-point game that also resulted in a whopping 28 total rebounds against the Capitals. Gintare Mazionyte was also instrumental in the win with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Amanda Johnson is currently ranked second in the league for points and first in rebounds averaging over 29 and 19 a game respectively. This game promises to be a great matchup on Sunday. If Johnson can continue to dominate, the Force could be looking at four-straight to start their season.

 

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