Rockhampton Rockets v Gladstone Power
Saturday 15 August, 7:00 pm
Reigning QBL Champions Rockhampton find themselves in the rare situation of a quarter-final match-up, after dropping a few winnable games midway and a rampaging Mackay seeing their automatic semi-final passage vanish. However with a pivotal victory over Brisbane in Round 15, with Chehales Tapscott’s 25 point and 17 rebound effort, the Rockets ensured they had the all-important home advantage against their local foes in a blockbuster QF. The Power had last weekend off and as they have the same win/loss ratio as the Rockets will be hungry to show they belong in the Final Four. Coach Derek Rucker’s ability to incorporate superstar duo Justin Baker and Raymond Willis in the offense has given great results and the Power faithful will hope this continues.
Both teams should know how to beat one another, having split previous matchups during the regular season. In the Rockets’ victory, they shot a punishing 51.4% from the three-point line and ran the Power out of the gym 119-92. The week prior. Gladstone did a better job of shutting down the potent Rockhampton offence, and even though they gave up 97 points, their dominant first half proved enough. The Rockets have been red hot offensely all year with the usual suspects of Philp, Williamson, Cheek, Tapscott and Nasalo together averaging over 100ppg, the Power must find a way to put a limit on this so their guns can light up the scoreboard to get over the line.
Brisbane Capitals v Ipswich Force
Saturday 15 August, 8:00 pm
Coach of the Month Geoff Tarrant has led his the Capitals well this season and they come into this quarter-final on the back of a confidence-boosting win over Mackay. The Capitals pose a 14-3 record, and compared that to Ipswich you may get the impression the Force are really up against it. In Round 6 however, the Force were gallant in defeat at NAB Stadium but eventually Brisbane managed to pull away to a 101-92 win. The second quarter in that particular game really hurt the Force who only managed 13 points, on 5-21 shooting from the field.
Brisbane’s guard combo of Anderson and Jeffries has given the opposition headaches all season, while the contingent of Phillips, Rychart, Thompson and Windsor are capable of picking it up and ensuring wins even when the team is struggling. The Force’s loyal crew of Ralph, Legan, Harvey and Fereti have done the bulk of the scoring for the Force this year and this will need to continue. James Legan when on-song is deadly dangerous and although in Round 6 he struggled to shoot the ball well, the Force still managed to be in the game and score at regular frequency. This will give Coach Mick Conlon faith his very young Ipswich Force side is capable of doing the unthinkable, however the Caps have been tough to beat all year and will be confident.
Toowoomba Mountaineers v Northside Wizards
Saturday 15 August, 7.00 pm
Clive Berghofer Rec. Centre
The Toowoomba Mountaineers have had a breakout season thanks to star recruits Jeremy Kendle and Erron Maxey. However most of their damage has been done on the road and as this game is up the mountain; one could say this is a little disadvantage for the Mountaineers having only won three home games all year. Although the Wizards have had some struggles to quality opposition when on the road, the college-returning duo of Mitchell McCarron and Nick Kay have bolstered their roster to a stage where they see themselves as true contenders for the silverware when they fire on both ends of the floor.
In the only matchup between these teams, the Mountaineers were too potent with Kendle and Maxey both notching up double-doubles. Too add to this, Charles Dickerson brought a great energy which seemed to spread throughout the team which was not what Northside intended. CJ Massingale was important in that game with 25 points, and if you include a lineup with McCarron, Kay along with imports Moore and Coulter it would provide some serious headaches for the Mountaineer staff. The focus for the Wizards should be the defense, not just because they are on the road but because it is where the Mountaineers’ most obvious strength lies. It is much easier said than done though as not many teams have been able to consistently find a way to nullify the offensive talents of this Toowoomba outfit.
Gladstone Power v Mackay Meteorettes
Saturday 15 August, 6:30 pm
Kev Broome Stadium
Gladstone will be fresh and ready to go in front of a raucous home crowd after a weekend off. However, unfortunately for the Power, the Meteroettes’ dominant home-win over Brisbane would have given the Mackay coaching staff plenty of opportunity to rest key players for this game. At mid-season the Power were rolling and appeared well on their way to having this weekend off and looking toward a home semi-final. A few costly losses late in the season will have no doubt left the team a little disappointed. The Meteorettes on the other hand are firing and will be quietly confident of an upset, even though in pool play this season the Power won on both occasions. Madelyn Willey for the Power has proven she can light up quality opposition when on song, and a few inefficient performances last in the season will have her ready to prove she can lead her team to the semi-finals next weekend.
If Rachel Allison has her say for Mackay, Gladstone could be in for a tough night. Allison has been a key cog in the Meteorettes’ offensive machine all season and will be desperate to get her team over the line and have their title defense continue for another week. In what is sure to be a hotly-contested affair supporters of both teams are in for a real treat.
Bundaberg Bears v Gold Coast Rollers
Saturday 15 August, 7:00 pm
The Bears would have sat back and enjoyed their weekend off knowing they would be at home against the Rollers. The Rollers had a tough North road tripto close the season and shot less than 40% from the field in both games, averaging just 65.5 points a game. This could spell real trouble for them with Bundy’s usual suspects of Pope, Boag and Page showing all season they can score in droves and there is no doubt they will be ready to add some real scoreboard pressure to the visitors. The Rollers have not won for three weeks but what better time to break a losing streak than on the road in a quarter-final matchup?
Playoff dramatics aside, the Rollers will feel very confident of an upset despite the difference in ladder-positioning as in Round 7.They managed to restrict the Bears to a lowly 66 points and were buoyed by 22 points and 8 rebounds by Brianna Moyes. The Rollers shot better from the field in that game and the Bears just couldn’t keep up; even with a commendable offensive performance from Caitlin Clancy who will be missing from the Bears due to college commitments. In an interesting game that has so many possible outcomes, one thing is for sure though, extensive game-tape reviews for both sides would have been conducted throughout the week to try and get the upper-hand on their respective rivals.
Ipswich Force v Northside Wizards
Saturday 15 August, 6:30 pm
Cotton On Foundation Stadium
With a “win or go home” victory in Logan last weekend, the Wizards qualified for the semi-finals with a solid win over the Thunder. Aja Parham continued her dominant play where she worked on both ends of the floor; playing a vital part of the textbook team defense by the Wizards to go along with her 19 points and 17 rebounds. Chelsie Schweers is a whole other beast though, dominating last weekend with 37 points against South West and 24 the following night against Toowoomba.
Ipswich’s last loss came from the Wizards at the South Pine Sports Complex in Round 14. The dominant inside presence of Emma Langford and Nadeen Payne proved too much. Although Schweers in that game was awesome along with Sarah Davis and Bree Farley, the Wizards shooting 50% from both the field and three-point line was enough to get them over the line. It is clear that for the Force to get up, their defense will need to improve drastically as the Northside lineup proves a dangerous match in the event of a shootout. The fact that the Force will be in front of their loud and loyal fans will give them somewhat of an upper hand; they have easily played their best basketball at home and provided some serious headaches for the competition’s best, including the scalp. The Wizards will need to be ready to play their best basketball as Ipswich are sure to provide a seriously ferocious effort.