The Power tackled their first road double-header for the season and came out the other end unscathed to cement themselves as a true contender this season. A big reason for Port City’s resurgence this season has been the addition of Ray Willis who was again inspirational over the weekend to claim Round 8’s Player Of The Week.
Willis laid the platform for a commanding win over the Bulls with a dominant performance all around the court, falling agonisingly short of a triple-double. While collecting 22pts for himself it was his ability to set up team mates where he was most effective in attack, notching up a massive 9 assists. He didn’t relax when off the ball where he collected a team high 9 rebounds and his sneaky hands effecting 6 steals. Willis didn’t relent when taking on the Force the next day with a game that was perhaps even better his previous. He took a leading hand in attack with a game-high 33pts and complemented this 10rebs, another game high. Again he ensured his team mates got in on the action dishing out 5 asts while again proving to be a massive pest in d’ with 4 steals.
Along with the recruitment of Michael Cedar, import Willis has been central to the Power’s successful season by giving the side plenty of ammo in the guard positions. Hailing from Tulsa, Willis played college with Uni. of Oklahoma then North Carolina Central before making an impression through various international leagues. He has had stints in Slovakia, Israel and Finland prior to making his way to the QBL this year. He has proven to be an excellent pick up for the Power this season where he is currently averaging 23.1pts, 11.6rebs and 6.0asts. Across the league Willis leads the league in average steals (2.3) and free throws made (62), while he ranks 3rd in average rebounds (11.6).
In other standout performances from Round 8, Matt Rees rose to another level in hitting 24pts during the Heat’s upset win over Rocky, Chris Cedar fell one assist short of a triple-double as Mackay worked over Rocky to remain undefeated, while Erron Maxey and Jeremy Kendle teamed up to each amass double-doubles in the Mountaineers’ important win over the Rollers.
Samarie Walker – Gladstone Power
Despite a heavy change in roster this season, the Power Women have continued to maintain their heavyweight status and proved themselves on the road over the weekend in sweeping a tough double-header. Leading the new-look team has been star US import Samarie Walker who takes out the Women’s Player Of The Week for Round 8.
In a tricky first up clash against the Bears, Walker was the main protagonist in ensuring the home team’s slump continued scoring a game-high 24pts which was well complemented with 6rebs, 5asts and 4 stls. However it would be her next game against the Force that proved most crucial. In a see-sawing, nail-biting affair it was Walker that kept her cool to get her team home. She scored an important 17pts to go with a team-high 8rebs, but it was her clutch basket to break a 75-all deadlock in the final seconds that would be treasured most as it snatched a highly memorable away win for the Power
Walker has a strong basketball background, starting her college career with Connecticut before transferring to fellow powerhouse Kentucky where she was a starter for her final two years. Upon completion she spent a year playing in Spain before being sounded out for the Power this season. Walker has more than proven her worth to the Power, particularly over the past month, with her season now averaging almost 20ppg, 12.6rebs (2nd in league) and 2.7 stls (3rd in league).
Other players that shone in Round 8 included D’Lesha Lloyd and Skye Rees both racking up over 30pts for the Caps in their win over the Pirates, the Wizard’s Emma Langford scoring 26pts in a vital win over Cairns, while Tierra Henderson also played a huge role for the Power alongside Walker.