Kurt Thompson – Brisbane Capitals
Last years’ finalists began 2016 off on the right foot but were made to work hard by a spirited Bulls’ outfit, the ledger all square at half time before the Caps were able to pull away in the back end 93-73. Excelling in both ends of the court, Kurt Thompson proved to be the steady hand the home side needed when it got to the crunch, and his performance takes out the first Men’s Player of the Week award for 2016.
Thompson fell just one steal short of a rare triple-double combo in accruing 25pts at 64%, 10 rebounds and 9 steals. In addition to 2 assists he was also a constant menace around the hoop in attracting a game-high 8 fouls from the Bulls. Thompson was the central figure in the Caps surge through the second half when the game looked in the balance, while he also had great support in Anderson & Carter who both notched 20pt-plus games.
Now a QBL stalwart with close to 100 games, Thompson made an immediate impact on his return to the Brisbane line up in 2015 after a three-year absence to be a key component in the team’s charge to the grand finals. This early performance indicates he has entered prime form for 2016 and will give the Caps an extra edge as they strive to go one better this season.
Other noteworthy performances from Round 1 included Jarred Bairstow’s output of 24 pts – 10 rebs – 5 asts in the Pirates’ win over Toowoomba, the Thunder’s Mitch Young dominating Bundaberg with 22 pts – 15 rebs, while Jordan Gregory and Tom Garlepp led the way with a double-double each in Rocky’s defeat of local rivals Gladstone.
Estela Royo Torres– Toowoomba Mountaineers
In one of the most inspirational individual QBL performances seen in recent times, Estela Royo Torres was instrumental in dragging the Mountaineers through for a come from behind 77-72 away win over the Pirates on Saturday. Trailing by six heading into the final quarter, Torres was the lynchpin scoring 14 of the Mountaineers’ 22 points to claim a thrilling win, a relieving outcome for a team that didn’t see a W in 2015.
Those 14 points were part of a round-high 44 scored by Torres complemented by 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals for a superb all-round game where she also showed plenty of nerve from the stripe going 12 of 13. After reaping so much success from their men’s imports last season Toowoomba now have plenty of cause for optimism that Torres, along with her sister Beatriz who joins the team this week, can have the same impact on their women’s program in 2016.
Torres enters her maiden QBL campaign on the back of numerous successful seasons in the top flight of both the Spanish and British leagues. She was a key member for Sheffield who claimed last season’s premier British league while early on in her career Torres was a Spanish U19, 20 & 21 national representative that participated in several junior World & European Championships.
Further standout performances across the opening round included Nadeen Payne’s 32 pts – 12 rebs in the Rollers tight win over the Force, Carly Boag racking up a combined 58 pts and 32 rebs, a gallant effort for the Bear’s first road double, while Kierra Mallard recorded 24 pts – 17 rebs on the back of a barnstorming opening quarter to set up Phoenix-Clippers’ inaugural derby win over the Rip.