QBL Game Previews – Round 8
Cairns Marlins vs Rockhampton Rockets
The Cairns Marlins had a strong win over the Mountaineers on Friday night with big contributions from Anthony Fisher (27 points and 10 rebounds) and Alex Loughton (26 points and 9 rebounds). The Marlins were able to fight back from a second-half deficit and considering they only used 8 players all night, the win was a fantastic result at home. The Rockets also enjoyed a close win at home against the Brisbane Spartans on Friday night. The Rockets were also limited in personnel with just 7 players taking the court on the night and their contributions were spread across the team. Chris Fowler and Rashad Hassan played the entire game with Fowler scoring 25 points and Hassan grabbing 14 rebounds. Jack Lopez also had a strong night with 20 points which included shooting 6-8 from downtown. This will be a tough road trip for the Rockets as they face the Heat the following night in Townsville. Cairns will look to put in a more dominant performance after edging out the bottom-placed Mountaineers on Friday and are keen to cement a top-four spot heading into the second half of the season.
Gold Coast Rollers vs Mackay Meteors
The Rollers are looking to snap a three-game losing streak on Friday night when they host the undefeated Mackay Meteors on the Gold Coast. The Rollers have had a tough season so far and that continued on Sunday at Gladstone. The Rollers went down by 10 points as they had trouble containing Gladstone’s Remy Lawyer and Raymond Willis. The Rollers’ big names Torrey Craig and Devon Sullivan both had quiet games combining for just 27 points. Mackay on the other hand have been flying all season long and their attacking prowess was in full force against the Spartans last Saturday with the Meteors putting up 130 points. The good news for Mackay’s coaching staff was that the points were spread around evenly with all 12 players getting valuable minutes. Shaun Bruce picked up his second triple-double of the season which was enough to earn him QBL Player of the Week honours. This will be an almighty task for the Gold Coast Rollers to stop Mackay’s offense and another loss on Friday could spell the end of their finals hopes for 2017.
Ipswich Force vs Brisbane Spartans
The Force suffered a heart-breaking 1 point loss to the Sunshine Coast Phoenix on the weekend despite a huge game from captain James Legan who scored 35 points. After a topsy-turvy three quarters, the Force looked to pull away from the Phoenix in the last quarter before they were run down in the final minutes. Despite Legan’s big game there weren’t many other notable contributors and the Force coaching team will be looking for more from their squad on Friday night. The Spartans endured a tough road trip last weekend with games in Rockhampton and Mackay on consecutive nights. They fell to Rockhampton in a close encounter on Friday night before being rolled by a dominant Mackay outfit on Saturday. There were some strong performances over the weekend by big man Tom Jervis who grabbed 17 rebounds against Rocky and backed that up with 10 the following night in Mackay. Jervis was also the top scorer for the Spartans in both games. This match-up will prove crucial to the final standings with Ipswich sitting 8th and the Spartans in 10th, neither team can afford to drop this game leading in to the final stretch of the season.
Townsville Heat vs Rockhampton Rockets
The Townsville Heat sit precariously at 5th on the QBL table after Round 7 and a win against the Rockets on Saturday will give them great confidence in securing a top four finish. Townsville are looking for their fifth straight win and will be up against a Rockhampton outfit backing up from a tough game the night before in Cairns. The Heat were strong at home last week against the Mountaineers with a standout performance from Justin Baker who top scored with 34 points. There were also nice contributions from Jamell Anderson and Josh Spiers who each scored 19 points in the win. Josh Wilcher chipped in with 15 points as well as leading the team with 9 assists. This will be another tough double-header for Rockhampton who sit in sixth place on the ladder with a 3-4 record. The Rockets will be hoping they can snag a victory against one of the two teams sitting directly above them this weekend before heading into the bye in Round 9.
Gladstone Port City Power vs South West Metro Pirates
The Gladstone Port City Power bounced back from a disappointing double-header the week before to down the Gold Coast Rollers by 10 points at home last Saturday. The Power were led by Raymond Willis (30 points and 13 rebounds) and Remy Lawyer (25 points and 4 rebounds) in a strong showing in front of their home crowd. The Power limited the scoring ability of Gold Coast’s Torrey Craig and Devon Sullivan all night limiting the Rollers to 76 points. The Pirates enjoyed a successful double-header last weekend beating the previously undefeated USC Rip City on the Sunshine Coast and then at home against Logan Thunder on Sunday. Tanner McGrew was the standout for the Pirates on Friday against the Rip scoring 26 points and securing 13 rebounds. His performance was backed up by Daniel Kickert with 20 points. Kickert went on to top score for the Pirates on Sunday with 30 against the Thunder. This will be an exciting match-up with two teams who have hit some form in the last week.
Brisbane Spartans vs Toowoomba Mountaineers
The Spartans are facing their second double-header in as many weeks this weekend and will be at home to the Toowoomba Mountaineers on Saturday night. Tom Jervis will once again be the man to look for as he has been the top scorer for the Spartans all season long and had another solid weekend in the road trip to Rockhampton and Mackay. Toowoomba have had a tough season to date winning just 1 game from 7. The Mountaineers came up against a strong Townsville outfit last week going down by 15 points. There were some good signs for the team with Jalil Abdul-Bassit putting in a massive game with 41 points. He was supported by Jason Washington who amassed a week-high 13 assists in the contest. After a difficult road-trip look for the Spartans to bounce back with a big win in front of their home crowd on Saturday.
Sunshine Coast Phoenix vs USC Rip City
The battle of the Sunshine Coast will take place at Caloundra Indoor Stadium on Saturday night when the Phoenix clash with Rip City. The Phoenix are sitting 13th on the table with a 2-6 record and are desperate to take down their local rivals. The Phoenix had mixed results in their double-header last week. After a nail-biting 1 point victory over the Force on Friday they went down heavily to the Capitals in Brisbane the following night. Breland Hogan top-scored for the Phoenix on both nights with 25 points against the Force and 24 against the Capitals on Saturday. He was well supported by Jeromie Hill in both games scoring 22 points in each and averaging 10 rebounds for the weekend. The Rip suffered their first loss of the season on Friday night going down to the South West Metro Pirates on Friday night. Despite trailing all game the Rip got in front late in the fourth quarter before they were overrun by a determined Pirates outfit. Lance Hurdle led the team in scoring with 26 points, while Isaih Tueta chipped in with 19 points and 6 rebounds following a massive Round 6 performance where he was named QBL Player of the Week. The Rip will need both their leaders to be in form on Saturday if they are to bounce back and keep pace with the Capitals and Meteors at the top of the table.
Logan Thunder vs Mackay Meteors
Logan will look to get their season back on track with a win against the undefeated Mackay Meteors on Saturday night. The Thunder lost a narrow game to the Pirates on Sunday with star Mitchell Young restricted to just 14 points. Captain Michael Cedar top-scored with 17 points and had 10 rebounds along with Keanu Post. Nelson Kahler impressed off the bench scoring 12 points and 7 rebounds. Mackay will play the Gold Coast Rollers on the night before and will look to big names Lucas Walker, Shaun Bruce and Cameron Tragardh to keep their unbeaten streak alive in Round 8.
Brisbane Capitals vs Logan Thunder
The final match of Round 8 sees the Capitals at home to the Logan Thunder on Sunday afternoon. The Capitals remain unbeaten in 2017 and have a strong home ground advantage at NAB Stadium. The Capitals enjoyed a big win over the Phoenix last Saturday with a massive performance from American Princeton Onwas scoring 39 points and shooting at 73% in the field. Onwas was supported by countryman Aaron Anderson who tallied 21 points and 13 assists in the Capital’s 23 point win. The Capital’s biggest task will be stopping Thunder star Mitch Young. Young has been averaging 21 points this season and will be crucial to Logan’s chances of an upset.
Gold Coast Rollers vs Mackay Meteorettes
Despite still being winless for the year, the Gold Coast Rollers are coming off their two highest scoring games of the season, with Sophie Johnston leading the way. But it’s on the defensive end which looks to be the Rollers biggest issue, giving up 100 points for the second time in the past three weeks. Mackay are coming off their first loss of the season, coming up agonisingly short against the 8-0 Brisbane Spartans. Nadeen Payne will look to continue her great offensive play after notching up a season-high 28 points against the Spartans. She will be looking for increased production from her teammates who were inefficient in last weekend’s loss. No better chance to get back on the winners list than against the struggling Rollers.
Ipswich Force vs Brisbane Spartans
Ipswich is coming off a strong win over the Sunshine Coach Phoenix to break a streak of five straight losses. The three-headed monster of Mate, Walker and Landry had too much offensive firepower for the Phoenix and they will need to continue that form in order to be any match to the current ladder leaders. The Spartans recorded two huge road wins over Rockhampton and the then undefeated Mackay Meteorettes. Ashleigh Karaitiana was the star of the weekend with her two-game averages of 23 points and 9 rebounds in only 27 minutes a game, being enough to award her QBL Player of the Week honours. Brisbane will look to continue their unbeaten start and increase the gap between them and the rest of the competition at the top of the table.
Cairns Dolphins vs Rockhampton Cyclones
After winning their fourth straight game the Dolphins will come into the matchup against the Cyclones as strong favourites. Since the addition of Alli Gloyd, the team has been near flawless winning all four games by an average of 18 points per contest. Teamed up alongside Rachel Prior, the duo were dominant over the Mountaineers and will look to continue their winning streak against the Cyclones. Rockhampton are backing up from an embarrassing 44-point home loss at the hands of the Spartans. Shanavia Dowdell was a lone soldier in the loss and the team will be looking for more from star recruit Abby Bishop who played 33 minutes without registering a field goal. The odds are in Abby’s favour to bounce back after last week, but maybe not even she can stop the Dolphins at the moment.
Logan Thunder vs Mackay Meteorettes
Arguably the match of the round, featuring second versus third. Mackay will most likely come into the contest after a huge bounce back win over the Rollers and will look to finish off the perfect road trip. The Thunder have only lost to the undefeated Spartans and will not have a better opportunity to knock off the Meteorettes. Continuing her massive season Kate Gaze is coming off 22 points, although from 26 field goal attempts. She will again need to hit the scoreboard in a big way in order to get her team over the line. More importantly she will need to prevent the Mackay frontcourt from doing the same.
Brisbane Spartans vs Toowoomba Mountaineers
On paper this looks to be one of the biggest lopsided match ups of the season. The Spartans are siting comfortably on top of the table whilst owning the second best offense in the league. Compare that to Toowoomba who are currently giving up the most points per game defensively. With the Mountaineers only scoring over 60 points once throughout the season, it is difficult to see where they will get enough scoring to be competitive in this contest. Spartans at home comfortably.
Sunshine Coast Phoenix v USC Rip City
Both teams are currently towards the bottom of the ladder with two wins to their name. Coming off contrasting weekends where the Phoenix were able to knock off the Capitals in close fashion, whilst USC Rip City fell short against the Pirates by the closest of margins. The Phoenix were able to get over the line with an even offensive display, with four players reaching double digits. It will take another team effort in order to keep Rip’s Leah Scott out of the paint and off the glass. You don’t get any more of an even contest. Toss of a coin.
Gladstone Port City Power v South West Metro Pirates
This match up may be a lot closer than the ladder suggests. It’s difficult to align the form of these two teams with the Power coming off a 50 point win over the Rollers, just 7 days after being blown out by the Spartans by 38. With current MVP front-runner Tabitha Richardson-Smith dominating the league, the Power will again rely on their star to lead them to victory over a more even Pirates squad. Coming of a 1-1 weekend, the Pirates have been competitive against the second-placed Mackay in recent weeks instilling a belief that they have what it takes to upset the Power. If Steph Bairstow can keep up her form of late, that will go a long way.
Townsville Flames v Rockhampton Cyclones
This will be the third straight home game for the Flames, who look to keep their unbeaten home record alive. They will be keen to even the season series against the Cyclones, who got the upper hand in Rockhampton back in Round 5. The Flames were unable to stop Natalie Novosel that night, and with her no longer in the Cyclones line-up, the Flames will be confident of coming away with the win. This is a tough task for the Cyclones who will be backing up the night after visiting Cairns and are still getting used to the presence of Shanavia Dowdell. With their season on the line, Rockhampton do not have the time up their sleeve to gel with their new-look roster and a finals berth will look very dim if they are to drop both matches this weekend. This is shaping up to be a huge game for both teams.
Brisbane Capitals v Logan Thunder
Brisbane will be fresh coming off an 8-day break and Logan are playing in a huge match the night before. The break was much needed for the Capitals who have slipped to 3-3 after losing their past three matches. With their only wins coming over Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and the Dolphins without Gloyd, the Capitals will be looking for their first major scalp of the year. D’Lesha Lloyd is having no issues putting the ball in the basket, but she will be looking for a more consistent contribution from some of her teammates to push the team back above the 500 mark. Logan just in a tight one.