QBL Game Previews – Round 8

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Sunshine Coast Phoenix v South West Metro Pirates

After an exciting overtime victory over Rockhampton on Friday night, the Phoenix were unable to complete the perfect weekend with a narrow loss to the Brisbane Capitals at NAB Stadium. Roy Booker was again the main offensive catalyst for the Phoenix putting up at least 30 points in both contests and finishing the weekend with impressive averages of 35 points and over 10 assists, including an incredible 14 made three-pointers on 54% from behind the arc. CJ Massingale and Nathan Wilson put up 31 and 29 respectively against the Rockets. The Pirates suffered their second straight loss, this time at the hands of the travelling Gladstone Power to move to an even 4-4 record. Princeton Onwas was the standout for the Pirates with 18 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. South West has now played 7 of their first 8 matches at home leaving only 2 remaining home matches on their schedule. Sunshine Coast are undefeated at home with Booker in the lineup averaging a whopping 110 points in the four encounters. Even with Sunshine Coast’s defensive struggles, it is difficult to see the Pirates scoring enough points to match the offensive powerhouse that is the Phoenix.

 

North Gold Coast Seahawks v Mackay Meteors

The Seahawks are still searching for their first win of 2018 after a narrow 5-point home loss to the Gladstone Power. Despite trailing by as much as 25 points in the third quarter the Seahawks got to within as close as two points in the final minute before an unsportsmanlike foul sealed the deal for the road team. Jerron Jamerson was huge with 41 points on 70%, but it was again the Seahawks defense that let them down, giving up 115 points and 54%. It doesn’t get much easier for North Gold Coast with the third-placed Meteors coming to town after a week off in round 7. Mackay will be playing their first of three games for the weekend and will be looking to begin on a positive note. We expect the Meteors to put the foot down right from tipoff in this one to give the team the best opportunity to rest their starters with the big weekend ahead. Mackay comfortably.

 

Logan Thunder v Townsville Heat 

After a flawless month, Logan were blown out by the joint ladder-leading Rip City squad by 25 points. The Thunder were able to bounce back with a 15-point home victory over the struggling Ipswich Force at Cornubia Park Sports Centre on Sunday. USC were the first side to handle Mitch Young so far this season, keeping him to only 7 points and 6 rebounds, by far his lowest totals in both categories for the season. There is no better opportunity for Mitch and his team to continue on from Sunday’s victory than by coming up against the reigning champion Heat. Townsville won their eighth straight game with a 7-point victory over the winless Southern Districts Spartans. Another quality defensive output saw the Heat winning by putting up only 80 points and another consistent offensive spread with Froling leading the way with 20. After leading by as much as 18 the Heat enabled the Spartans to get back in the contest and nearly steal the game. They won’t get away with taking the foot off the gas against a quality side like the Thunder. Townsville are undefeated on the road this year and although this will be one of their biggest challenges yet, we expect them to come away with a narrow victory.

 

Brisbane Capitals v Mackay Meteors

Brisbane were able to record their third win of 2018 with their second win over the Phoenix for the season in round 7. After jumping out to 19-point lead at the beginning of the third quarter they enabled the Phoenix to get back into the contest and within one-point on numerous occasions in the final minutes before escaping with the win. Aaron Anderson was massive with 29 points, whilst the bench contributed a staggering 49 points with Kerle, Kopcikas and Jacob Davis all scoring double digits. With their only other victory coming against the Seahawks, coach Geoff Tarrant with be looking for their first major scalp of the season with Mackay coming to town. The Meteors will be coming off a likely thumping over the Seahawks and will be looking to continue the trend and be the fourth northern team to win all three games of their southern triple header. The Capitals have proven they are more than capable in putting up offensive numbers, but we’re not sure that they’ll have the firepower to match the Meteors. Mackay in a close one.

 

Sunshine Coast Phoenix v USC Rip City  

Sunshine Coast will be looking for their second victory over cross-town rival USC in their 2018 campaign. On the other hand, Rip City will be looking for revenge over the Phoenix after giving them their only defeat of the season back on opening night. A lot has changed since round 1 as the Phoenix have been extremely vulnerable on the defensive end in recent times, whilst USC have been near flawless. After a Friday night matchup with the Pirates who have the league’s third-best defense, Sunshine Coast will face the second-best defense in USC. Two teams that have vastly different game styles will go head to head at Maroochydore Basketball Stadium, as the leagues top-scoring team will look to put up points on a USC team who have not conceded more than 84 points since their previous encounter. We look for USC to somewhat slow down the offensively focused Phoenix, whilst taking advantage of their poor defensive and add to their four consecutive games of giving up triple digits. USC get revenge and the win.

 

Rockhampton Rockets v Cairns Marlins

Rockhampton will be looking to bounce back from two heartbreaking narrow losses on the Sunshine Coast in round 7. After going down in overtime to the Phoenix, the Rockets suffered a three-point defeat at the hands of USC on Saturday night. These two results have quickly put Rockhampton back to .500 on the season with a 4-4 record after such a positive first 6 weeks of the season. On of their four victories of the season was a road victory over the Marlins in round 3, so as eager as the Rockets are to return to the winners list they will have a motivated Cairns outfit looking to even the season series at 1-1. Malcolm Bernard was lights out in round 7 averaging 31.5 for the weekend, whilst sharp-shooter Jack Lopez will be looking to bounce back after going scoreless against Rip City. The Marlins defeated the winless Spartans by 9 points on their home court with four starters scoring double digits. Despite only shooting 41% for the game, the Marlins were able to force Southern Districts into 20 turnovers which went a long way to the win. Rockhampton are 3-0 at home for the season and we expect them to remain undefeated at Hevgold Stadium after the weekend.

 

Gladstone Port City Power v Cairns Marlins

The Power have tuned their season around in the past fortnight, winning four consecutive matches after losing their opening five of the season. Almost nobody would have predicted Gladstone to go 3-0 on their south triple header in round 7 but that’s exactly what they did with consecutive victories over the Seahawks, Pirates and Rollers. Taylor Young led from the front with averages of 26 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists on 61% shooting over the three matches and was rewarded with QBL Player of the Week honours. If the Power are to put themselves into playoff contention they will need a big scalp and there is no better opportunity than against a travelling Marlins squad on the second night of a back-to-back. No doubt the Power team will be up and about following their amazing two-week run and will be motivated the extend their streak in front of their home fans. This match is equally important for the visiting Cairns team who could either be firming their position in the top 4 or alternatively grasping to a spot in the playoffs depending on their Saturday night result against Rockhampton. We expect this game to go down to the wire, but the Marlins may just scrape in on the road.

 

Ipswich Force v Townsville Heat 

The Force will be searching for a much-needed win after dropping their last three games at the hands of Toowoomba (twice) and Logan. Jason Ralph put in 21 points in both contests and averaged 7 assists over the weekend, whilst Garrett Hall scored a game-high 28 against the Thunder on Sunday. Ipswich gave up 122 points in their matchup with Logan and will need a much better defensive effort if they are going to have any chance of a massive upset against the Heat. On paper this is the easier game of the weekend for Townsville after a Saturday night blockbuster against Logan. In round 6 the Heat showed their ability to win multiple road games in one weekend and we expect round 8 to be no different. Townsville’s defense will be able to contain Ipswich and the Force will not have the ability to shut down the Heat’s multiple offensive threats. Heat comfortably.

 

Southern Districts Spartans v Mackay Meteors 

Despite going 0-2 in their northern road double in round 7, there were a lot of positives to take out of Southern Districts single-digit losses to Cairns and Townsville. The Spartans were able to keep both teams to sub 45% shooting but were +6 in the turnover category in both matches which was ultimately a key factor in both losses. The Spartans should regain Adam Gibson who missed both round 7 games due to representing the NBL All-Australian team in China. It has been difficult for Southern Districts to gain any sort of consistency in the first half of the season with Gibson only featuring in two matches and being in and out of the lineup. Mackay will be playing their third game in as many games and will have to face up to a freshened Spartans squad who are coming off an eight-day break. Southern Districts will not have a better opportunity to knock off one of the leagues powerhouse teams, but we are still predicting Mackay in a close one.

 

Logan Thunder v Gold Coast Rollers 

For the third week in a row the Gold Coast Rollers are featured in the final game of the weekend and they will be looking to bounce back from three consecutive losses. The Rollers have quickly dropped to a 2-5 record after splitting their opening four games of the season. Gold Coast could quite easily be 0-7 with their two victories being by one and two points respectively and they will be looking to turn around the result of their 24-point loss to Logan in round 4. The Rollers dropped their round 7 contest against the Power by 5 points despite the absences of their two leading scorers in Jack McVeigh and Deon Mitchell. With these two back in the lineup for round 8 they look a much stronger squad, and this will go a long way towards an upset win over Logan. After a challenging hit out against the ladder leading Heat on Saturday night, Logan will be expected to take this game comfortably on their home floor and we back them in to do just that.

 

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North Gold Coast Seahawks v Mackay Meteorettes

The Seahawks’ first season in the QBL continues to go from strength to strength after another impressive win over the weekend beating the Power 91-67 at home. Casey Samuels again led the team in scoring with 19 points. Leeza Burdgess and Lauren Jansen had 18 and 12 respectively while both led with 8 rebounds each. Emily Allen had 5 assists and 5 steals as the Seahawks recorded their 5th win of the season. Mackay enjoyed a week off in Round 7 in preparation for their big triple-header to the South this weekend. Mia Lloyd and Ruvanna Campbell have been the standouts for the Meteorettes this season and they will be looked to again for Mackay to get back into the 8. This will be a tight contest at Runaway Bay with two similar styles of teams. Mackay will be desperate to get their weekend off to a good start and may have enough to down the in-form Seahawks.

 

Sunshine Coast Phoenix v South West Metro Pirates

Abby Bishop was named Player of the Week in Round 7 after another big weekend leading the Phoenix to two wins. Bishop had averages of 34.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2.5 blocks in wins against Rockhampton and Brisbane. Natalie Hurst was also massive for the Phoenix in their win against Rocky with 29 points and played every minute of both games. The Pirates bounced back from their first loss of the season against Townsville in Round 6 to destroy Gladstone 80-49 at home last weekend. The Pirates were once again with Nicole Seekamp but it mattered little as South West proved they have the depth and strength in their roster to record impressive victories. Kalani Purcell played her first game of the season scoring 12 points, whilst Madelyn Willey, Steph Bairstow and Natalie Taylor all had 11 points. This matchup features two teams with just one loss on the year and will be a great contest featuring some of the best players in the league. The Phoenix have two games this weekend as opposed to the Pirates’ one and the advantage may be with South West, particularly if Seekamp is back in action.

 

Brisbane Capitals v Mackay Meteorettes

The Capitals suffered another tough loss over the weekend to the Phoenix and now sit outside the 8 with a 3-4 record. Amy Lewis played a starring role for Brisbane last week with 16 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Four other Capitals managed to hit double-digits but with just three players on the bench, their depth was not enough to stop Abby Bishop and the Phoenix at home. The Capitals had almost 20 more scoring shots but with a disappointing 32% shooting from the field, they couldn’t cash in their chances. Mackay will be backing up from their game against the Seahawks down the coast the previous night and this game will be crucial towards their playoff chances. Both teams are a win outside the top 8 and a loss for either team will put a dent in their hopes of playing in August. The Caps have the home court advantage and would be slight favourites in this one.

 

Logan Thunder v Townsville Flames  

Logan are 2-6 heading into this weekend after going down to both USC Rip City and Ipswich in Round 7. It will be another tough double-header for the Thunder with games against Townsville and Gold Coast at home. Zitina Aokusa led the team in points and rebounds over the weekend with averages of 19.5 and 15 respectively. Cassie Carroll scored 12.5 points and 6 rebounds, Jacquie Luna-Castro had 11.5 points and 8.5 rebounds, whilst Mikhaela Donnelly was outstanding on offence with 9.5 assists over the two games and had a team high 21 points against Ipswich on Sunday. Townsville lost their first game in 2018 at home to the Spartans last week and will be looking to bounce back on another road double-header down south in Round 8 starting with Logan on Saturday night. It was a rough night last Saturday for the Flames who went down to the defending champions by 29 points. Micaela Cocks had 15 points and Hayley Andrews and Darcee Garbin each had 12 points, however Townsville were far outplayed by the Spartans. It’s a tough weekend for the Flames however Logan should be a winnable game heading into a blockbuster with Ipswich on Sunday.

 

Sunshine Coast Phoenix v USC Rip City

The Phoenix will come into their local derby with the Rip on the back of a tough game against the Pirates the night before. Phoenix boast two of the top players in the league in Bishop and Hurst and both are averaging over 23 points a game. The Phoenix continue to be ranked in the top 3 for three-pointers, rebounds, assists and points scored and will be confident in their second game against the Rip this season after enjoying a 25-point win in Round 1. USC are in good form thanks to a home double-header sweep last week against Logan and Rockhampton. Leah Scott averaged 18.5 points, 5 assists and 17 rebounds including an astounding 23 against Rockhampton. Hannah Shaw had 16.5 points and 6 rebounds, whilst Carlie Smith scored 14.5 points, 7 rebounds and had 11 assists against Logan. The Rip are back in the eight thanks to these two wins however their next assignment against local rivals Sunshine Coast Phoenix will be a huge test. The Phoenix should be good enough to take the W in this one.

 

Rockhampton Cyclones v Cairns Dolphins  

Rockhampton suffered a horror trip to the Sunshine Coast losing to both the Phoenix and Rip on consecutive nights to find themselves with a .500 record. Despite a strong fightback against the Phoenix, the Cyclones were outmatched by the power trio of Bishop, Hurst and Browne. In Saturday’s game, the Cyclones started well but couldn’t hold on as Rip City ran away with it in the fourth. Aaryn Ellenberg had averages of 23 points, 5.5 rebounds and 8.5 assists over the weekend, whilst Shanavia Dowdell had 17.5 points and 9 rebounds; Teyla Evans scored 15.5 points and Christina Boag led the team with 13 rebounds. Cairns are traveling to Central QLD for the first time this season and are desperate for a win with a 2-6 record. Robin Perkins was outstanding for the Dolphins in last week’s loss to the Spartans with 24 points and 8 rebounds. N’Dea Bryant had 20 points and 8 rebounds, but the Dolphins were outmatched by the Spartans at home. It shapes as a big game in Rockhampton for both teams, Cairns would need the win more but at home the Cyclones should be too strong.

 

Gladstone Port City Power v Cairns Dolphins

Gladstone will be glad to be back at home in Round 8 after suffering 3 road losses in the south last weekend. The Power were beaten convincingly in all three including losing to a Gold Coast team who hadn’t won since 2016. Amanda Frost led the team again in scoring with an average of 20 over the weekend, whilst Ashleigh Kelman-Poto scored 12.3 points and 11.7 rebounds and Milomilo Nanai averaged 9 rebounds and close to 4 assists each game. The Power have now dropped below the Rollers on the ladder and if they are to have any chance of making the playoffs they will need to win against Cairns on Sunday. The Dolphins will be backing up from their clash with Rockhampton on a short turn-around and will look to their bench to relieve the pressure off Bryant and Perkins. Cairns have been shooting well inside the paint in 2018 but will need to create more opportunities to score heading into the second half of the season. Both teams are well out of the 8 and need a victory, this will be a close contest in Gladstone.

 

Ipswich Force v Townsville Flames

Ipswich are the only team who remain unbeaten in 2018 after their opponents for this weekend Townsville lost to the Spartans last week. Ipswich enjoyed two wins on the road in Round 7, a massive 49-point win over Toowoomba and a 14-point win over Logan. Amanda Johnson has been arguably the league’s best player so far this season and she continued her dominance on the weekend with 31.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists over the two games. Gintare Mazionyte had 17, 6.5 and 5.5 whilst Bree Farley and Rachel Mate also had good contributions in both wins. Townsville come into this clash on the back of a game against Logan the previous night and will be looking to get back on top of the table. These two teams have been the best performing in the past month and it promises to be a cracker in Ipswich. Townsville will be playing their second game of the weekend whilst Ipswich come into this one fresh and ready to rumble at home. The Force will have that advantage and will be slight favourites to keep their unbeaten streak alive in 2018.

 

Southern Districts Spartans v Mackay Meteorettes

The defending champs travelled to the north last week and managed to win both games against Cairns and Townsville, thus ending the Flames’ unbeaten run. It’s been a wonderful turn around for the Spartans after getting their championship defence off to a shaky start. Some fresh faces have helped Southern Districts in recent weeks and their contributions were again solid on the weekend. Ambrosia Anderson had averages of 17.5 points, 2 rebounds and 3.5 assists whilst Aja Parham had 16.5 points and 9 rebounds and Romy Baer scored 12.5 over both nights. Mackay’s third game of their triple-header is arguably their toughest heading into Rowland Cowan Stadium. It’s the same venue that hosted the Grand Final series last year where Mackay gallantly went down 2-0 to the unbeaten Spartans. Considering both teams’ form and the fresh legs of the Spartans, it should be a good win at home for the 2017 champions.

 

Logan Thunder v Gold Coast Rollers  

Logan will back up from a home game against Townsville the night prior to host the Gold Coast Rollers on Sunday. The Thunder will be looking to score more points as they are currently ranked 11th in the league for points and 12th in assists. Zitina Aokusa has been Logan’s best on both sides of the ball and is ranked in the top 4 for rebounds and blocks. The Rollers enjoyed their first QBL win since 2016 in Round 7 with a hard-fought 16-point win over Gladstone. Kate Hewett top scored with 16 points, Alicia Carline had 14 and Dana Brown chipped in with 10. Carline grabbed 14 boards and Siarn Woods led the team in assists with 5. Gold Coast’s shooting was also solid with 44% from the field from just under 80 shots. It was a much-deserved win for the Coast who have been competitive in every game they’ve played this year. They will be full of confidence heading into this clash, but with Logan at home it might be a tough battle for the Rollers to go back-to-back.

 

 

 

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