At the conclusion of the 2015 season, we look back on how the teams from Sandringham fared.
SANDRINGHAM SABRES WOMEN
Wins – 3
Losses – 19
Standing – 6th South Conference
2013 result – 6 wins 18 losses, 6th South Conference
The Sabres were finally given something to smile about in the last few rounds of the season, defeating Albury-Wodonga twice in Rounds 15 and Round 17 while their other win, on Bendigo’s floor in Round 4, was a highlight. Michelle Joy increased her point production by almost three a game while aside from the excellent play of Brittany Smart, Alice Kunek starred in limited opportunities.
Sandringham was not tipped to feature in the playoffs but a 1-16 record prior to Round 15 did not give their supporters anything to smile about. They finished with just one victory at home for the season with a 17-point average losing margin which was exacerbated by a 60-point thrashing from Dandenong in their final game.
Without a doubt, Brittany Smart provided a shining light in a disastrous year for Sandringham, keeping the scoreboard ticking over with a league-high 23.9 points a game. She hit more three’s than any player in the regular season at the second best percentage (40%) while also hitting 80% of her free throws. Smart scored at least 15 points per game, surpassing the 30-point mark on three occasions.
The Sabres can look positively towards next year as they have already re-signed Smart and can now look to build a team around the star point guard. At 174cm, she led the team in rebounds as well as points which is an indictment on Sandringham’s front court and without Caitlin Rowe next year, the side will be desperate for a player who can offer a presence on the boards as well as provide some rim protection.
Playing more games for the season than any other player, Alana Gadsby improved her stats from 3.5 points to 5.8 a game as well as 2.7 rebounds to 4.4. Her field goal percentage is still low but if she can improve that next season, she will become a vital asset in the back court alongside Smart as a shooting guard.
GRADE – 2/10
SANDRINGHAM SABRES MEN
Wins – 8
Losses – 16
Standing – 6th South Conference
2013 result – 12 wins 14 losses, 4th South Conference
Sandringham’s import pairing of Junior Hairston and Rayshawn Goins combined for 32 points and 19 rebounds a game while Goins shot an effective 50% from the field. Alistair MacDonald had his most productive season after more than five years in the league, averaging 14.4 points and shooting 39% from the three-point line. A 5-7 road record included wins at Dandenong, Bendigo and N-W Tasmania.
The Sabres disappointed at home this season, winning just three games with an average losing margin of ten points. They missed the playoffs for just the second time in their club history but their overall record could have been very different had they improved their 4-7 record in games decided by five points or less.
Nathan Crosswell continues to defy his age at the point guard position, keeping up with the likes of Kyle Adnam and Roy Booker with 11 points and five assists (third in the league) per game. Sandringham will be keen to retain his services as he provides important leadership both on and off the court.
The changes for 2016 have already begun at Sandringham with Sinisia Markovic replacing Stephen Hoare in the head coaching role. He should be keen to retain the Sabres sizable front court but as they were both imports, that task could be easier said than done. No rookies played a game this year, something Markovic must aim for if the Sabres are going to compete in the future.
Stefan Uzelac has the capacity to be a 15-point a game player but finished with an average of nine this season, a slight drop on his 2014 production. He still reached double-figures on eight occasions and will be looking to make that a consistent mark in 2016.