Round 10 QBL Game Previews
Brisbane Capitals vs Ipswich Force
Despite recording their second-lowest total of the year, the Capitals were able to escape Toowoomba with a narrow victory over the struggling Mountaineers. Aaron Anderson again led the team in scoring with 23 points and with help from Zac Carter who pitched in with 16. Ipswich are coming off a heartbreaking loss to USC Rip City going down 96-98 despite the late game heroics of James Legan, who finished with 37 points whilst shooting 78% from the field. It was again the defensive end that let the Force down, giving up 98 points to the home team. Despite solid contributions from Ralph, Harvey and Derksen, it still seems that if Legan can be kept quiet, you will be able to overrun the Force. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem this will be the week for the Force to break their losing streak. Capitals at home.
Logan Thunder vs Rockhampton Rockets
The Thunder are coming off a nail-biting loss at the hands of the Pirates after a game-winning basket by Daniel Kickert on Saturday night. Despite not taking away the W in Round 9, the Thunder should be pleased with their performance without their best player Mitch Young. Young’s absence allowed for others to step up in his place. Five players hit double digits for the home side including Adelaide 36ers development player Sam Johns. Johns finished the game with 18 points including 4 of 5 from downtown. Rockhampton are coming off the bye in Round 9 and will be freshened up ahead of their triple header. With two losses in Round 8, the Rockets will look to get their season back on track and they could jump back into the top 8 with a win over the 8th placed Thunder.
Brisbane Spartans vs USC Rip City
The Spartans are coming off a narrow victory over the struggling Sunshine Coast Phoenix in Round 9. The team will be happy to escape with the W, especially in the absence of Adam Gibson. Glen Scott was massive off the bench for the home team scoring a team-high 23 points off 76% field goal shooting and pulling in 8 rebounds. Tom Jervis was again pivotal with 19 and 12 in only 19 minutes of playing time. The Spartans could be without Jervis for this matchup with USC due to NBL All-Star commitments in China next week. USC are continuing to fly under the radar sitting third on the QBL ladder with a 7-1 record. The Tueta brothers, Isaih and Josh led the way for the Rip scoring 24 and 21 points respectively in a 2-point victory over Ipswich. Whilst giving up 96 points to the Force, USC will need to have a much stricter defence if they are able to knock off the Spartans on their home floor and stop their current three-game win streak. If Jervis is out, this could go down to the wire.
Townsville Heat vs Cairns Marlins
The battle of the north is clearly the men’s match of the round. With Townsville coming off a narrow home defeat at the hands of the Gold Coast, they will be looking to get back on the winners list. The loss snapped a 5-game win streak and there is no better opportunity to knock off the team directly above you and serve some revenge for their loss at Cairns in Round 1. The Heat will be hoping for the return of star point guard Josh Wilcher for the important contest. Cairns were able to do what Townsville couldn’t in Round 9, as they defeated the Rollers the following night. A whopping 14 assists from Jarrad Weeks led to many easy buckets for Damon Heuir (32 points), Anthony Fisher (19 points) and Tevin Jackson (17 points). Cairns will be pleased with the consistent play from Jackson and guard Fisher, who are both coming off consecutive double-doubles. Wilcher’s availability will ultimately decide the winner.
USC Rip City vs Toowoomba Mountaineers
USC will be pleased to be back on their home floor the night after a trip down to Rowland Cowan Stadium. They will face a much easier prospect of knocking off the last-placed Toowoomba Mountaineers who were extremely competitive against Championship contenders, the Capitals last Saturday night. The Mountaineers were able to achieve something that they hadn’t since Round 2, and that was to keep a team under 90 points. They did this easily, allowing the Capitals just 72 points, but only managing 65 of their own. The Mountaineers will be looking to continue this lockdown defence against the Rip, but with a more potent offensive output. Look for Manylok Malek to again hit the glass in a big way and Jalil Abdul-Bassit to bounce back after shooting just 2-14 from the three-point line last game. USC at home.
South West Metro Pirates vs Rockhampton Rockets
The Pirates begin the next phase of their season without star recruit Daniel Kickert. Kickert will miss the remainder of the season due to NBL All-Star and Boomers commitments. Since signing with the team Kickert led the Pirates to a league-best 5-0 record, including the important game-winner against Logan on Saturday night. Despite this being the Rockets second game out of three for the weekend, they will be in a great position to knock off the red-hot Pirates. Look for Tanner McGrew to again carry the Pirates in the absence of Kickert. Wagner’s defensive assignment on McGrew will be pivotal in the outcome of this match. South West Metro at home.
Sunshine Coast Phoenix vs Toowoomba Mountaineers
This is a bottom of the table clash, with both teams looking for rare wins in QBL 2017. Despite another loss, both teams are coming off extremely competitive hit outs against the Brisbane sides, both going down by 7. Sunshine Coast should look to rotate their bench more, with only 7 players hitting the court against the Spartans and Hogan and Kenyon playing the full 40 minutes. They should be able to take advantage of the Mountaineers who will have played the previous night and with a higher bench rotation they should be able to gain an advantage with their fresh legs. This is anyone’s game, but Phoenix should be too strong at home and they should continue to dampen Toowoomba’s horror season.
Mackay Meteors vs Cairns Marlins
Mackay again come into this matchup as ladder leaders and as the team being hunted. They were able to get back on the winners list in Round 9, following another near triple double from Shaun Bruce in a narrow win over Gladstone. Despite proving themselves as the team to beat in QBL 2017, this match-up against Cairns will most likely be their toughest to date. The Marlins will have had a challenging hit out the previous night in Townsville and will be coming in wanting to beat the best regardless of Saturday night’s result. The Marlins guards in Weeks, Heuir and Fisher will have their hands full trying to contain Bruce, as will Tevin Jackson guarding Lucas Walker. Despite the Marlins starting depth, the Meteors might have a little too much firepower in this one. Mackay at home.
Gold Coast Rollers vs Rockhampton Rockets
The Rollers will come into Sunday’s matchup with the Rockets without league leading scorer and Bullets import Torrey Craig. Torrey will be returning to the U.S. to play in the NBA Summer League for the Denver Nuggets. Whilst this is great news for Torrey this is undoubtedly a massive loss for the Rollers, who are coming off a split weekend up north with a surprising win over Townsville. The Rollers will be looking for their role players to step up in a major way if they are to be competitive, even against a middle of the pack Rockets squad. The Rockets could not have asked for a better scenario coming into their third game of a road triple header. Barring any sudden roster changes for the Gold Coast, expect the Rockets to get over the line in this one.
Brisbane Capitals vs Ipswich Force
The Brisbane Capitals got back on the winners list last weekend, snapping a four-game losing streak by defeating the Toowoomba Mountaineers on Saturday. The Capitals were led by D’Lesha Lloyd who scored 34 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists which gave her QBL Player of the Week honours in a brilliant performance. Lloyd wasn’t the only top performer for the Capitals; Victoria Aldred chipped in with 18 points and 9 rebounds. The Capitals will be relieved to get a win after a tough month albeit against the bottom-placed Toowoomba. Their next opponents the Ipswich Force are sitting one spot below them in 8th place on the ladder. The Force had a strong win away from home last week against USC Rip City. Markel Walker was the standout for Ipswich scoring 26 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists. Shenita Landry provided great support for Walker scoring 18 points, 12 rebounds and 3 assists in a tough win. This game is crucial for both teams who sit just inside the eight. Look for the rejuvenated Capitals to win at home in a close one.
Logan Thunder vs Rockhampton Cyclones
Logan Thunder continued their hot streak with a commanding win over local rivals the South West Metro Pirates on Saturday night. Kate Gaze once again top-scored for the Thunder with 29 points whilst putting up 28 shots in the field. Cassie Smith scored 22 points and Jackie-Luna Castro led the team in rebounds with 9. The Rockhampton Cyclones had a bye in Round 9 and their fresh legs will be needed this weekend as the team faces a triple-header in Southeast Queensland. The Cyclones have been one of the biggest disappointments of the QBL season so far and their push towards the finals will be made even harder with the loss of Opal Abby Bishop. Rockhampton will hope their defence shows up against a high-powered Thunder outfit in their first of three games for the weekend.
Brisbane Spartans vs USC Rip City
The Spartans are the only undefeated team in the 2017 competition and they showed their championship qualities on Sunday with a 49-point thumping of the Sunshine Coast Phoenix. The Spartans dominated all game with even contributions from across the team. Maddie Allen and Rebecca Haynes top-scored with 19 points each whilst Kalani Purcell led the league with 19 rebounds in Round 9. The USC Rip suffered a 16-point loss to the Force at home despite a strong start to the game. Claire O’Bryan was the leading point scorer for the Rip with 23, whilst Leah Scott picked up 16 points and 9 boards in the loss. The Spartans have been unstoppable at home this year and that should continue this Friday night.
Townsville Flames vs Cairns Dolphins
Townsville sit just outside the top 4 and face a tough home game against their great northern rivals in the Cairns Dolphins on Saturday evening. The Flames hammered the Rollers last Friday night with an even spread of points across the board. Haylee Andrews led the way with 20 points followed by Darcee Garbin with 18 and Anna McKay who scored 14 coming off the bench. Townsville pounced on the Rollers’ errant shooting collecting 44 rebounds on the night. The Dolphins have a tough weekend ahead starting in Townsville on Saturday and then backing up in Mackay on Sunday afternoon. The Dolphins had a nervous 4-point come from behind victory over the winless Rollers on Saturday night with Rachel Pryor the standout performer scoring 23 points. The Dolphins used their bench extensively and will hope those fresher legs help them in their road trip down south on the weekend. These games between Townsville and Cairns are always a great contest. Townsville in a close one.
USC Rip City vs Toowoomba Mountaineers
USC Rip City suffered a tough loss at home to the Ipswich Force in Round 9, putting a dent in their finals hopes. They will look to get back on the winner’s sheet on Saturday against the bottom-placed Toowoomba Mountaineers in front of their home crowd. The Rip will need to back up from a tough road trip the previous night against the undefeated Spartans in Carina. A clash against cellar dwellers Toowoomba should give USC some confidence at home despite their recent scoring woes. Toowoomba suffered another defeat at home to the Capitals in Round 9 with Francis Donders again top-scoring for the team with 23 points and playing the entire game. The Rip need to win this one to stay in touch with the eight and being at home they should get it done comfortably.
South West Metro Pirates vs Rockhampton Cyclones
The South West Metro Pirates ran into a red-hot Logan Thunder outfit last weekend and despite a third quarter lead saw the game slip away in the final period to lose by 15 points. No Pirate was able to hit 20 points for the match but a strong contribution from Shelby Cheslek with 16 points and 15 rebounds and Captain Madelyn Willey’s 7 assists kept them in the contest. The Pirates attempted 16 less shots to the Thunder and weren’t able to keep Kate Gaze and Cassie Smith contained for the majority of the match. The Pirates will be buoyed by the fact that they face a Cyclones team backing up from a tough match against the Thunder on the night before. Teams have averaged over 90 points in scoring against Rockhampton in the past month so their defence could ultimately prove the difference in this one.
Sunshine Coast Phoenix vs Toowoomba Mountaineers
The Sunshine Coast Phoenix suffered a humiliating 49-point loss to the Spartans in Brisbane last Sunday and will look to bounce back at home against the Mountaineers this weekend. Just one player managed to reach double-digit points for the Phoenix on Sunday with Erica Carlson scoring only 10 in the hammering. Discipline continues to be a problem for the Phoenix with the team committing 25 personal fouls on the weekend, a league-high in Round 9. The Mountaineers will hope to get something out of their weekend trip to the Sunshine Coast and after their horror run in the first 9 rounds of the season, this should be their best chance to breakthrough for a win. The Phoenix however will be hurting from last week’s performance and should get the W in front of their home crowd.
Mackay Meteorettes vs Cairns Dolphins
The Meteorettes are third on the ladder after 11 games and are once again at home on Sunday to the Cairns Dolphins in a massive top-four clash. Mackay were too strong for Gladstone last week after a sensational performance from Nadeen Payne who started on the bench and picked up 26 points and 10 rebounds in the win. Micaela Cocks and Chevennah Paalvast also chipped in with 20 and 19 respectively. The impressive stat for Mackay was that they had 20 less shots from the field than Gladstone but took their chances and delivered at the free-throw line under pressure. The Dolphins will play their second game of the weekend and can ill-afford to drop their intensity against a potent Mackay offense. This match-up will be close but with Cairns coming off a trip to Townsville, expect the Meteorettes to cement third position with a win at home.
Gold Coast Rollers vs Rockhampton Cyclones
The final match of the round sees the winless Gold Coast Rollers up against a Rockhampton outfit playing their third game of a triple-header weekend. The Rollers faced the toughest road trip in the QBL last week playing matches in Townsville and Cairns on consecutive nights. Although both results ended in a loss, the Rollers were competitive for most of the action, even leading Cairns by 11 points midway through the second quarter. Ashli Payne had an impressive weekend averaging 17 points and top-scored for the Rollers against Townsville on Friday night. Shanelle Tolley picked up 15 rebounds against Cairns and also averaged 11.5 points in the double-header. The Cyclones will surely be tested physically in their third game of the weekend. Rockhampton will need to rotate their bench extensively if they are to have the legs to beat the Rollers. They should be able to, and they should finish the weekend with a good win on the