Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence men’s and women’s teams have come up empty on a double-header road trip to Knox and Waverley in Round 6 of the 2019 NBL1 season.
After a strong start against the Knox Raiders which saw them lead by eight points at quarter-time, the CoE men still led by three going into the final term.
However, a 13-26 fourth quarter doomed them as the Raiders shot 11-20 from the field to run out 82-72 victors.
Alex Ducas continued his scintillating form at the offensive end with 31 points, nailing 7-12 from the three-point line, Kian Dennis and Josh Giddey combined for 15 points off the bench and Josh Kunen made his presence felt with 11 rebounds, a steal and a block.
The following day, the CoE struggled against the Waverley Falcons but finished well to salvage a 69-96 defeat that has dropped them to 4-5 on the ladder.
Ducas again top-scored with 18 points but the team shared the scoring load with ten players hitting the scoreboard and they also held their own on the boards, equaling Waverley’s tally of 45.
Josh Bannan contributed 11 points, Wil Tattersall had eight points and seven rebounds and NBA Global Academy product Hyunjung Lee netted nine points but 18 turnovers as a team compared to the Falcons’ nine hurt their cause.
Playing very short-handed in Round 6, the women were overrun late in both contests with only seven players on their roster.
They let a good start against Knox slip through their fingers on Saturday night as they surrendered a seven-point edge at half-time to fall 71-85.
Jade Melbourne recorded a double-double of 19 points and ten rebounds and she was joined in double-figure scoring by Paige Price (12 points, two steals, two blocks), Kelsey Rees (11 points) and Adelaide Fuller (11 points).
Sunday’s clash against the Falcons was a much tighter affair with the CoE trimming an eight-point deficit at half-time down to three at the final change.
They then closed within two points inside the last four minutes but could not quite get over the line, succumbing 71-75 despite the best efforts of Price (23 points, eight rebounds).
All seven players got on the scoreboard and Sara-Rose Smith was particularly impressive defensively with two steals and two rejections to go with five points and four boards.
The CoE men and women will now aim to get back on track this weekend in Round 7 as they hit the road again.
They will battle the Ballarat Miners/Rush on Saturday night (at 6pm for the women, 8pm for the men) before heading to the Nunawading Spectres on Sunday (12.30pm for the women, 2.30pm for the men).