QBL Game Previews – Round 6

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Toowoomba Mountaineers v Townsville Heat

The Mountaineers won their second game of the season with an upset victory over Ipswich in Round 5. Damon Bozeman again put up huge numbers for the visitors, with a Round-high 37 points which included 4 made three-pointers. Bozeman is now averaging a whopping 43 points in their two wins in 2018. Malek and Ridgeway both shot an impressive 6/9 from the field on the way to 14 and 12 points respectively. Bozeman will need to continue his offensive tear if the Mountaineers are to have any opportunity of knocking off Townsville. The Heat are coming off an impressive road win over northern rivals Cairns. Townsville entered the major break with a 1-point lead but were able to pull away in the second half, with the lead jumping to as much as 20 before settling for a 13-point win. Crawford and Jett each connected on four three-pointers, whilst Wilcher was dominant with 25 points. The Heat have proved that they have several scoring options to this point in the season, further highlighted by such a dominant win despite Froling not making a field goal. It’s difficult to see where Townsville’s next loss will come and almost impossible to tip against them at this point.

 

Logan Thunder v North Gold Coast Seahawks

Since dropping their opening two games of the season, the Logan Thunder have since won their past three games and all by convincing fashion. Both teams enter this Round 6 matchup coming off a bye with Logan looking to add to their winning streak, whilst North Gold Coast are still searching for their first win of 2018. Since Round 2 the Seahawks have lost all their games by at least 19 points with an average losing margin of 35 points over this span. The Thunder are one of the league’s best rebounding teams behind Mitch Young and Obi Kyei who both sit inside the top-4 rebounders in the league. With the addition of Rayshawn Simmons who is leading the league in assists the Thunder are posing as one of the biggest threats to the big 4 teams up north at this point in the season. It is only a matter of time until the Seahawks can record their first W of 2018, but it won’t be in this one. Logan comfortably at home.

 

Brisbane Capitals v USC Rip City

After a disappointing blowout loss to Ipswich in Round 3 the Capitals were able to bounce back by knocking off the Phoenix on their home deck comfortably, before dropping the second game of their road double to USC. It was a disappointing finish to the weekend as Brisbane found themselves behind by as much as 31 against USC before their bench dominated junk time to make the score somewhat respectable with only a 14-point loss. USC will be rapt with their opening month of the season sitting at 4-1 and comfortably inside the top-4. Isaih Tueta is again leading from the front averaging 8.4 assists up from 5.2 last season, but his shooting has been significantly down on last year, currently 8ppg lower and 15% worse from the field from his 2017 numbers. Lance Hurdle has picked up some of the slack with a significant increase in his three-point shooting leading to a team-high 22ppg. The Capitals will be out for revenge and looking to turn around the result from Round 4, but it is hard to pick against this Rip side who looks the more consistent outfit at this point in the season. USC in a close one.

 

South West Metro Pirates v Townsville Heat

The Pirates enter Round 6 with a solid 4-2 record and will not get a better opportunity to knock off the Heat who will be playing the second of three games on their south road trip. South West are currently fourth in the league for field goal percentage despite only shooting a miserable 18% behind the three-point arc. Their long-shooting woes are easily the worst in the league and considering their positive win-loss record it seems that if they can begin to convert from this distance they will be awfully tough to beat. The home side again will have the tough task of trying to shut down Townsville’s electrifying offense which currently sits inside the top three for points per game and field goal percentage. Townsville in a close one.

 

Gladstone Port City Power v Southern Districts Spartans

Both Gladstone and Southern Districts are still looking for their first win in season 2018. The Spartans will be looking to turn around some of their misfortune to this point in the season, with two of their four loses coming by a single basket on their home floor. The Power on the other hand, excluding their one-point loss to Sunshine Coast, have been beaten by double digits in each of their last four matches. A remarkable stat leading into Round 6 is that no Gladstone player has recorded a single block in any match this season. Southern Districts are currently the league’s worst overall shooting team, but with the addition of Adam Gibson should be able to turn this around, through Gibson’s ability to not only shoot the ball but find his teammates in their best positions. Only losing to Rockhampton by 10 on the road looks to be a good form indicator for Gladstone and enough to convince us that Saturday they will be able to get the job done at home.

 

Mackay Meteors v Rockhampton Rockets

Mackay will be looking for revenge on the Rockets who were able to hand them their first and only loss of the season back in Round 4. With both teams only suffering the one loss across the opening 5 Rounds, this is the match of the Round at Mackay Basketball Stadium. The Rockets were able to keep Mackay to their lowest points tally for the year in their Round 4 victory, largely in part to restricting Meteor’s forward Titus Robinson to only 8 points and 2-14 from the field, easily his lowest tally of the season. Rockhampton are coming off another victory in Round 5, this time over the winless Gladstone Power. Imports Malcolm Bernard and Ray Willis combined for 58 points and 24 rebounds on the night, but coach Neal Tweedy will be wanting a more even contribution from the squad if they are to knock off Mackay. Over the past two seasons Mackay have proved that they are a different beast at home and we expect them to return the favour to the travelling Rockets and even the season series 1-1 between the two rivals.

 

Toowoomba Mountaineers v Sunshine Coast Phoenix

Toowoomba will be playing their second home game for the Round, this time against a Phoenix squad who will look to bounce back from a home thumping at the hands of the Brisbane Capitals in Round 4. Sunshine Coast were without import and team leading scorer and facilitator Roy Booker, who they will hopefully regain for this pivotal clash. Both players are top 5 in the league in points per game, whilst Bozeman is one of the league leaders in steals, as Booker is in assists. Coach Brayden Heslehurst will be looking for more out of his role players, who struggled in Bookers’ absence in their previous game. Despite being at home, the Mountaineers will be playing their second game of the weekend, compared to a fresh Sunshine Coast squad who will have had a two-week break. We expect Phoenix to get back on the winners list in this one.

 

Gold Coast Rollers v Townsville Heat

Townsville will complete their third match in as many games when they take on Gold Coast Rollers (3-2) at The Southport School on Sunday afternoon. The Rollers will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing 24-point loss to Logan at home in the Round 4. Gold Coast will be coming off a 15-day break, compared to Townsville who will be playing their fourth game in 9 days. Look for youngster Jack McVeigh to thrive in the biggest game of the Rollers season to date and he will need plenty of help from his teammates if they are to keep up with the Heat’s powerful offense. The Heat only managed one victory in the same road trip last year and regardless of how the first two games pan out they will be motivated the leave the South East corner on a positive note. Despite being tired and sore, Townsville should escape the Gold Coast with another W.

 

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Toowoomba Mountaineers v Townsville Flames

The winless Toowoomba Mountaineers host the red-hot Townsville Flames to kick off Round 6 of the QBL on Friday night. Both teams played last weekend in a shortened round with vastly different results. The Mountaineers were crushed by the Force in Ipswich, whilst the Flames dominated their northern rivals Cairns by 29 points. Toowoomba’s star import Donnaizha Fountain led the team in scoring and rebounds against Ipswich with 20 and 9 respectively. Jorja Bolton played well off the bench contributing with 5 assists, however the Mountaineers were no match away from home against the Force. Toowoomba’s task doesn’t get any easier in Round 6 taking on Townsville who are averaging the most points a game this season. The Flames’ big win over Cairns was led by veteran Micaela Cocks who had 27 points and 11 rebounds, whilst the young brigade of Flames stars also shone with Haylee Andrews (22 points), Darcee Garbin (17 points) and Alex Fowler (8 rebounds) having a big impact. This could be a blowout in Toowoomba – Townsville should win easily to start their triple-header weekend. 

 

Brisbane Capitals v USC Rip City

The Caps are 2-3 to start their season after losing both matches of their Round 4 double-header on the Sunshine Coast. Brisbane went down to Phoenix by 12 points before losing a nail-biter to the Rip the following day. They have their chance to take revenge this weekend against a Rip City side who possess the same 2-3 record. Akilah Bethel led the Caps in Round 4 with averages of 20.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists, whilst Amy Lewis scored 11, 5 and 4.5 over the two games. The most pleasing aspect for Bronwyn Marshall’s team is that the Capitals are ranked first in the league for lowest turnovers committed. The worrying stat however is the lack of depth in the Capitals roster – which is something the Rip will plan to exploit once again on the weekend. Rip City have the leading scorer in the league in Leah Scott who put up another 23 points against the Capitals a fortnight ago. Scott also had 8 rebounds and 5 assists in the narrow win and will once again be the go-to player if the Rip are to come away with the win. The Caps are at home for this one but if Scott has another big game it could be back-to-back wins for USC against the Capitals this season.

 

Logan Thunder v North Gold Coast Seahawks

Logan got back on the winners list a fortnight ago with a strong 20-point win over the Rollers on the Gold Coast. Mikhaela Donnelly played the entire game and top-scored with 21 points and had an amazing 11 assists. Cassie Carroll scored 16 points, whilst Zitina Aokusa was tremendous defensively with 15 rebounds and 10 points. This is a crunch game for the Thunder who sit just one win behind the Seahawks on the ladder. North Gold Coast had a mixed result when they travelled for their first northern double-header in the clubs’ short history in the QBL. After a heavy defeat against the Flames in Townsville on the Friday, they backed up brilliantly to defeat the Dolphins in Cairns by 12 points the following night. Coach Sleaford would have been particularly impressed with the Seahawks’ shooting against Cairns up 25% from the night before. A huge factor on that night was Casey Samuels who scored 29 points including 5-9 from behind the arc. Lauren Jansen was solid in both contests as was Leeza Burdgess. This should be a great contest at Cornubia with a game that could go either way.

 

South West Metro Pirates v Townsville Flames

In what shapes up as the game of the round, the South West Metro Pirates take on the Townsville Flames in a Round 6 blockbuster at Hibiscus on Saturday night. Both teams will come into the game undefeated provided Townsville knock over the winless Mountaineers on the previous night. South West hammered Toowoomba in Round 4 by 67 points thanks to big games from Charmian Mellars (26 points & 16 rebounds), Madelyn Willey (19 points & 9 assists), Nicole Seekamp (12 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and 7 steals) and Steph Bairstow (17 points). The Pirates and Flames are both ranked in the top 3 for points, FG% and assists in 2018. Micaela Cocks and Nicole Seekamp are both ranked in the top 10 for points, whilst both teams have at least two players in the top 10 for shooting and 3-point percentage. Both teams may not be fielding their best team with injuries on the Pirates roster and a triple-header weekend for the Flames, however this match still promises to be a beauty with a slight edge to the Pirates at home.

 

Gladstone Port City Power v Southern Districts Spartans

Gladstone remain with just 1 win in 2018 and were comprehensively beaten by local rivals the Cyclones in Rockhampton in Round 5. Milomilo Nanai and Ashleigh Kelman-Poto each had 16 points and 9 rebounds in the 40-point loss. Amanda Frost hit 5 three-pointers, but the Power were far outmatched by the Cyclones across the court. Gladstone remain last in rebounds and blocks this year and their defence against Rocky was again put under the hammer after giving up 54 points in the paint and 29 points from turnovers. The Spartans travel to Gladstone seeking a much-needed win after going down by 9 points to Ipswich in Round 4. Southern Districts missed their top performing player Aja Parham in the contest but were led by Jessica McDowell-White who top-scored with 16 points and 10 boards. Rebecca Haynes scored 15 points and 11 rebounds, whilst Anais Kirvan had 14 points and 8 assists. Defensively the Spartans have looked good all season but shooting continues to be a problem for the defending champs. The Spartans are shooting at just 33% putting them towards the bottom of the league. Southern Districts will need a win to keep in touch with the top-four and up against a thin Gladstone team, they should get the job done.

 

Mackay Meteorettes v Rockhampton Cyclones

Mackay came back with a 1-1 record from their trip to Rockhampton and Gladstone in Round 4 and will have a shot at revenge against the Cyclones at home in Round 6 after going down by 15 points in their previous meeting. The Meteorettes were good enough to beat Gladstone by 19 the following night to maintain their spot in the top 8. Ruvanna Campbell won Player of the Week in Round 4 on the back of a weekend averaging 22 points, 18 rebounds and 6 steals over the two games. Mia Lloyd averaged 20 points and 13 rebounds, while Jacqui Zelenka had 15 points and 5 rebounds in Round 4. Rockhampton registered a massive 40-point win over Gladstone last Friday night to establish a 3-2 record and sit in 5th spot on the ladder. Shanavia Dowdell was massive for the Cyclones scoring 40 points at 89.5% shooting from the field, playing just under half an hour. She also collected 11 rebounds and 2 steals in a dominant performance. Not to be outdone, Aaryn Ellenberg scored 30 points of her own in the win and Christina Boag collected 13 rebounds as well. This shapes up to be a great contest with two teams in good form and both vying for a spot in the top 4. Toss of the coin.

 

Gold Coast Rollers v Townsville Flames

Despite being competitive, the Gold Coast Rollers continue to search for their first win of season 2018. Their task doesn’t get any easier in Round 6 when they face the Townsville Flames at home on Sunday. Townsville will be playing their third game of the weekend and their fourth in a week as opposed to Gold Coast’s second game in two weeks. Gold Coast were beaten by a spirited Logan outfit in Round 4 by 20 points. Siarn Woods, Kate Hewett and Carliegh Patrick all top-scored with 12 points each, however, the Rollers’ field goal shooting of 31% contributed to their defeat. Coach Van Dongen will be hoping for more from his team, particularly from his bench players who scored just 9 points in the loss to Logan. Townsville face their toughest weekend of the season with a gruelling triple-header in the south, however considering two of their three opponents are yet to register a W they will be feeling confident of winning all three matches in Round 6. Their young team has been outstanding to start the season and led by veteran captain Micaela Cocks, their chemistry has been fantastic to watch. The Flames could mark themselves as favourites for the title if they come away with a 3-0 record from this weekend.

 

Toowoomba Mountaineers v Sunshine Coast Phoenix

If things were looking bad for the Mountaineers before Round 6, it won’t be much easier after the weekend having faced Townsville on Friday and the Sunshine Coast Phoenix on Sunday. Despite one hiccup against the Seahawks in Round 3, the Phoenix have looked menacing all season long and will be looking to make a statement against Toowoomba this weekend. The Phoenix were back to their winning ways in Round 4, beating the Brisbane Capitals by 12 points at home. Ashlee Wallis led the team in scoring with 21 points and had 9 rebounds to her name. Abby Bishop was once again in the points with another 20 for the season to go along with a game-high 14 rebounds. Natalie Hurst didn’t have her biggest scoring game but led the team with 10 assists proving she is an all-round quality player who provides for her teammates. The Phoenix have guns across the court with Bishop and Hurst ranking in the top 10 for points and assists and Ashlee Wallis leading the team in blocks. This should be an easy win for the Phoenix to keep them in touch with the three undefeated teams in 2018.

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