James Legan – Ipswich Force
Entering their road double with their season in a precarious position, the Force needed to come away with a positive result to keep the odds from stacking against them in the finals race. While a fourth quarter capitulation saw the Gladstone game slip away, they got things right in a clinical display at Bundy to show what they are truly capable of. In a sign that he has got back to his consistent best, James Legan led from the front with two massive outputs and come away with Player Of The Week for Round 7.
Legan did everything to put the Force in a winning position against Gladstone, unfortunately his team couldn’t capitalise on a 12pt three-quarter time lead to go down 105-100. Despite the result Legan’s performance shouldn’t be ignored in which he sank nine downtown efforts on the way to a round-high 41 points, linking up for his first double double of the season with a team-high 10 rebounds. The next day Legan was again at the forefront with the Force once more notching triple figures to dispatch the Bulls 109-78, no mean considering hosts accounted for the defending champs last home game. Another nine baskets from long saw Legan hit a game-high 35pts @ 65%, while he also provided good service to his teammates with an equal team-high 5 assists.
Now in his sixth season of QBL, this is Legan’s third campaign with the Force after starting out further down the Warrego with the Mountaineers. Fast approaching the 100-game club, the Texan is proving he is still among the league’s elite this season by currently sitting atop the scoring averages, his recent burst of form seeing his output rise to 31ppg while he also now finds himself second on total three pointers. Legan is also arguably the player that opponent’s should least like to foul with his league-leading free throw percentage now at an astounding 95.3%.
Further standouts across Round 7 included Damon Heiur averaging 25pts for the Marlins across their two-from-three effort on a road triple, Ray Willis again shining with his double of 39pts-14rebs integral to the Power’s victory of the Force, while Mountaineers skipper Erron Maxey’s 25pts-13rebs led the way in his side’s much needed win over the Phoenix-Clippers.
Charmian Mellars – Gladstone Power
With almost all remaining games shaping as a must-win for the Power to keep their finals hopes afloat, they needed to secure the W against a just as desperate Force who themselves have perhaps underperformed so far in 2016. Fortunately for the Power they were the ones to take a step in the required direction in overcoming the visitors 90-73, and breaking out for easily her best game of the season, Charmian Mellars was unstoppable throughout to claim Round 7’s Player Of The Week.
Providing the backbone of the Powers’ best opening half of the season where they shot out to a 51-37 lead and never looked back, Mellars drained a career and round-high 31 points @ 65%, and despite not being a renowned long shooter she provided her team plenty of added boost going 3-4 beyond the arc. Just as effective off the ball, she doubled up with 14 rebounds while also leading the team with four steals. Coming back for her first game in three weeks, the break looks to have significantly benefited Mellars and along with that hopefully the Power’s fortunes too.
This is Mellars second season with the Power and her second POW to match, consecutive double-doubles on a sweep of the northern swing seeing her first take out the award in Round 11 last year. Along with her sister Nat Taylor she led the Power’s campaign all the way to the grand finals last year, and while Mellars is without her sibling this time around, the former NZ Olympian has shown that she alone can have required impact for the Power to potentially turn things around in 2016.
Other notable performances in Round 7 included Carly Boag backing up last week’s POW with a huge double of 28pt-20rebs as the Bears kept their momentum rolling against the Force, Shanavia Dowdell averaging over 20pts and 8rebs in the Cyclones double road sweep and remain league leaders, while Tami Willey and Rachel Allison hit an identical 20pts-11rebs each as the Meteorettes moved to a clear second on the ladder with a strong win over pool rivals Townsville.