Rockhampton Cyclones V Bundaberg Bears
7:00pm Saturday 22nd August
After holding a very slim one-point lead going into the fourth quarter at home against the Rollers, a 25-16 final quarter gave the Bears the win they needed to progress. Kellie Page was a huge factor with an explosive 20 points in just over 22 minutes on the court and with other huge games from Brookilyn Pope and Emma Mahady, the Bears just proved too much offensively for the Rollers. The Cyclones on the other hand are fresh off the bye and the whole town will be ready and behind them as their male counterparts were upset in a great game. With a win, the Cyclones will host the Grand Finals and be in a prime position to bring the women’s championship trophy home to their passionate home crowd.
The last time these two sides met in Rockhampton was in Round 5, where the Cyclones ran out comfortable winners thanks to a 29-14 blitz in the second quarter. The defense of the Cyclones was first-class and restricted Bundaberg to just 31.3% for that period and a solemn 36.4% for the game. Samantha Norwood in that affair was simply too good, notching up 23 points and 14 rebounds; with Chandrea Jones also dominating, the Cyclones had their hostile home crowd roaring which proved too much for the Bears. Mahady couldn’t find the stroke going 1/8 which may have resulted in the heavy loss. After a great game last weekend look for her to pick it up and come into the game full of confidence and ready to bounce back after a disappointing game last time they met.
The Bears will be up against it come Saturday night and will need to be ready to play 40 minutes, because ladder-leaders Rockhampton will be ready to pounce on even the slightest mistake. The Bears have been playing great basketball of late however and will be a real chance.
Gladstone Port City Power V Ipswich Force
6:30pm Saturday 22 August
Kev Broome Stadium
Ipswich were given the fright of their lives last weekend at the hand of the Wizards but managed to chip away at the large quarter-time deficit. The Wizards’ inside presence proved to be a difficult task for the Force front line and the likes of the Power’s Samarie Walker and Charmian Mellars will be anxious to see if they can replicate the sort of destruction imposed on the Force last weekend. One thing is for sure though, the Force have nothing to lose and will be confident the one-two punch of Chelsie Schweers and Brandi Brown will cause enough damage to the intimidating Power outfit.
The Power really pulled away in the fourth-quarter against the Meteorettes last weekend, and when the game was in the balance Gladstone executed down the stretch. They continually got good open looks and punished the defense, shooting a total of 12 free throws along with shooting a game-high 56.3%. The Gladstone faithful will be hoping for this repeat performance as the Force really troubled the powerhouse Gladstone the last time they met with usual suspects Schweers, Brown and Farley scoring with ease wreaking havoc on the usual tough Gladstone defense. However it was the all-around class of Mellars, Walker, Bygate and Taylor whose polish managed to get the Power to clinch the win.
The Power will be keen to start off well and get the vocal home crowd into the game so it will be imperative that the Force get going early. They averaged the most points per game during the season so this is certainly viable; however the Power boasted effective defense so this will not be an easy task.
Mackay Meteorettes V Toowoomba Mountaineers
7:30pm Saturday 22nd August
Candle Stick Park
Although superstar imports Jeremy Kendle and Erron Maxey did more than their fair share to ensure victory for the Mountaineers last Saturday night; it was Cameron Weber who hit the crucial shot to send them into overtime and eventually run over the Wizards. The Toowoomba lineup have exceeded expectations all season and will go up into Mackay with nothing to lose. And so one thing is for sure – they will give it everything they have. The Meteors are a different beast however than the Wizards. They have stamped a dominance all season and will not be easy to beat up in Mackay. The usual suspects of Demos, Adekponya, Hobbs, Cedar and Diop will hopefully continue to put their best feet forward and get the result they intend to get.
Jeremy Kendle controlled the game from start to finish and ended with staggering numbers of 46 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists. He and his partner-in-crime Erron Maxey will be raring to make up for the disappointing result they experienced at home to the Meteors early in the season, where Kendle had a rare poor game and finished with just 9 points. It is no secret he and Maxey need to be firing, not just to put points on the board but also so role players like Kluck, the Dickerson brothers, Malek and Weber are active on both ends of the floor.
With Mackay coming off of the bye and winning so comfortably 110-76 in Round 7, it is fair to say that they will go into the game as hot favourites, as their star-studded roster proves too deep for many teams to match. However coming from behind against a quality Wizards outfit will give the Mountaineers hope that they can pull off of the unthinkable; and they are more than qualified to do it.
Brisbane Capitals V Gladstone Port City Power
8pm Saturday 22 August
In a weekend of crazy games, the Brisbane and Ipswich one was no exception. A third quarter blitz by the Force had the Capitals reeling late in the fourth, however with only one turnover for the entire quarter and thanks to some huge shots, they escaped with a five-point victory. The Gladstone game was also no exception, doing a job on superstar Chehales Tapscott was one factor; although the play of Justin Baker, Michael Cedar, Ray Willis and even Illiwa Baldwin cannot be discounted. Their play was superior to their Rockhampton counterparts and they booked themselves into the semi-finals by winning in arguably the hardest place to win on the road in the entire league.
When these sides met at NAB earlier in the year, Aaron Anderson and Dusty Rychart were simply too good for the Power and the tough Brisbane outfit ran out winners by a narrow six points. Raymond Willis shot poorly in that game and that may have resulted in the Gladstone loss, so look for him to lead his team from the front as he has done for the majority of the season, if they are to progress into the Grand Final series.
The Capitals have surprised many teams all year. The unorthodox style and breakneck speed they play at which has become their trademark has proved too much for almost every team in the league. With their fortress at NAB being an absolute graveyard for opposition teams they will be supremely confident of getting the win. However, with the Power fresh off of the win in Rockhampton, they’ll be as confident of upsetting the Brisbane Capitals. This game is sure to be a fiery clash with a result that really could go any way.