Scheraun King – Bundaberg Bulls
The Bulls got on the board for 2016 with a momentous win over the visiting Meteors, desperately holding on in an 87-85 thriller. Hanging tough for the full 40 minutes, new Bulls import Scheraun King consistently banged down the crucial baskets to see his team over the line, his performance helping breathe new life into Bundaberg’s season as well as securing Player of the Week for Round 4.
King went a point-a-minute in draining a round high 40 points at a great clip of over 60%. It was King’s work beyond the arc that perhaps was the clincher for the Bulls, consistently lifting his team throughout the game by hitting 8 of 12. He was also a busy worker on the defensive end, bringing down all 12 of his rebounds from Mackay’s misses. Just as importantly King provided a great foil for the always heavily guarded Willie Shackleford, the Bundy legend freeing up for by far his best game of 2016 with 23pts-18rebs.
The Staten Island-raised King was recruited by the Bulls this year on the back of a dominant season in Saudi Arabia with Al Arabi. Prior to this King played several seasons in various US semi-pro leagues while his formative years were spent with Albany State University where he was a two-time team MVP. After a somewhat slow start to the QBL season, King looks to be hitting full flight and with this the Bulls can be quietly confident that positive results will regularly continue to come their way.
In other Round 4 highlights Ray Willis backed up last week’s POW performance with a superb game of 32pt-13reb-8ast in the Gladstone’s win over Mackay, Chris Whitehead was unstoppable with 38pts as Toowoomba got their first win for the season against Gold Coast, while Justin Baker led the way throughout Logan’s split weekend on the Sunshine Coast with a combined 52pts and 22 rebs.
Shanavia Dowdell – Rockhampton Cyclones
The Cyclones have ensured their Round 1 defeat is now a distant memory, moving on to be 5-1 after sweeping the always difficult northern double. After demolishing the Dolphins they went on to do a number on the then undefeated Flames, 97-86, overtaking them and sit a clear second behind surprise competition leaders Gold Coast. Playing a leading hand across both games, Shanavia Dowdell proved she has maintained the same impact from when she last featured in QBL to take Round 4’s Player of the Week.
Commencing the weekend with a game-high 24 points to go with 9 rebounds and 3 steals against the Dolphins, her more important contribution came against the Flames where in under 30mins court time she notched a vital double double of 22 points and 13 rebs. Across the weekend Dowdell shot just shy of a phenomenal 70% and is now also one of the few players in the women’s competition to currently sit on season averages above 20pts and 10 rebounds.
Hailing from Alabama, the last time Dowdell came to Australian shores she made massive waves by earning a WNBL all-star five selection in 2011-12 playing for the Townsville Fire and then went on to become the 2013 QBL MVP with Rockhampton. Since this time she has been plying her trade in Belgium with Declercq Stortbeton for three seasons achieving great success, claiming a player of the year award for 2015-16. Returning to the beef capital this year, Dowdell’s presence will be just as important as fellow import and league MVP Chandrea Jones with the Cyclones looking to double up their maiden QBL title from last year.
Other standouts across Round 4 included Tami Willey averaging over 30pts during Mackay’s double success on the road, Nadeen Payne again getting the job done with 25pts-10rebs against Toowoomba to help maintain the Rollers’ undefeated season, while Kierra Mallard can hold her head high in racking up 28pts-13rebs-6stls despite the Phoenix-Clipp