Ray Willis – Gladstone Power
The Power are off to a solid start in 2016 and got the result they wanted last Saturday in their first home game of the season with a high-scoring 105-90 win over the Mountaineers. After a superb 2015 campaign, the Power’s Ray Willis immediately hit the court in ominous fashion with his return last week, then went to another level last weekend in front of his home fans to claim the Men’s Player of the Week for Round 3.
It was Willis’ work throughout the all-important third quarter that proved the difference. The Power’s fast first term nullified the Mountaineers in the second with the latter finding themselves up by a basket at the main break. His 12pts in the third formed the core of a 28-11 blowout to swing the game, coupled with his glut of defensive rebounds during the period that starved the visitors to snuff out any chance of momentum. In the end Willis’ terrific all-round game would fall just short of a triple double with 33 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists while his domination with ball in hand attracted a round-high 13 fouls.
This is Willis’ second season with the Power and he has now accomplished a second POW award to match, having received it previously in Round 12 last year by racking up game highs of 38pts and 14rebs in his side’s classic 101-97 win over local rivals Rockhampton. Having spent this off-season with the Sundsvall Dragons in Sweden, Willis looks to be picking up right where he left off in the QBL and lead the Power’s quest to repeat their memorable 2015 season.
Further outstanding contributions in Round 3 included Tyler Allen standing tall alongside Willis with 29pts at 73% for the Power, Nick Wiggins draining 32pts in Mackay’s blockbuster win over Rocky, Auryn Macmillan continued his perfect double double season with big numbers across Rocky’s split double, and Mitch Young again stamped his class with 27pts and 14rebs in the Thunder’s win over the Force.
Markel Walker – Gladstone Power
The Power were able to equal out their tough road trip last week and now sit 2-2 after their first home game of 2016 brought about a dominant 95-74 victory over the Mountaineers. Continuing her trend so far this season in piling up the big numbers, Markel Walker proved unstoppable to take out the Women’s Player of the Week in Round 3.
In offense Walker was completely in the zone by missing just the one attempt on her way to a team-high 30points at 92%, grouping this with a game-high 18 rebounds to go along with 7 assists and 3 steals. Early on this season her class within the league is already on show by heading the competition with average rebounds, leading both offensive and defensive totals, while she currently sits fourth on average points just shy of 30 a game.
A US import, Walker plied her college trade with UCLA and compiled an accomplished career with the Bruins where she finished in the Pac-12’s all-time top 10 in over a half dozen stat categories. Walker then moved on to a season in Poland before spending the past two in Puerto Rico where she won plenty of accolades. She has now landed in Australia tasked with helping the Power continue their long streak of finals appearances, one that appears increasingly difficult in 2016 with the North pool looking to have become even stronger across the board.
In other Round 3 standout performances Erica Carlson’s return for the Pirates paid instant dividends with her 22pts-18reb-5blk leading the way in a win over the Rip, Shanavia Dowdell with game highs of 24pts & 12rebs saw Rocky over the line in their important away pool win over Mackay,
while Cayla George ensured the Flames undefeated start to the season continued in posting 25pts-19rebs-3blks against the Brisbane Capitals.