SEABL Men- Finals week 1 report

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Roy Ward talks to N-W Tasmania coach Phil Thomas and covers this week’s big plays as well as the media wrap-up.

There are regular season games and finals games and the two can create very different results.

Just two rounds ago Kilsyth Cobras marched into North-West Tasmania and took down the Thunder but when the two met in the same venue on Saturday night, this time in an elimination semi-final, the Thunder won 86-69.

For much of the game it was a tight contest until the later stages of the third when the Thunder pulled away before extending their lead in the final term behind the roar of a capacity crowd.

Thunder coach Phil Thomas paid tribute to his players led by import forwards Fred Hunter (26 points, 13 rebounds) and Garrett Jackson (31 and 11) and he added the team had worked hard on video analysis since their late season loss to Kilsyth.

“We were fortunate we played them in that short turnover,” Thomas said.

“We then had the chance to sit down and look at film and pinpoint areas they were strong in and we were ordinary in.

“It proved to be an advantage for us.”

Thomas said the Cobras had beaten the Thunder comfortably during their regular season meetings but they had not translated into the finals.

He said Hunter set the tone early as did Mason Bragg who worked tirelessly to cajole Cobras’ point guard Kyle Adnam with the young star kept to 15 points and two assists while Hunter, Jackson and others managed to push the rebound count to the home side despite Tim Lang and Auryn Macmillan’s height advantage.

Adnam had battled injury leading into the game so may not have had the same power as his earlier games.

“Hunter was really good, he set the tone early,” Thomas said.

“He put his body on the line, attacked the basket – it was a little bit like he was saying “follow me” to the rest of the team.

“Fred has gotten better every week and while he is an undersized four or five man for us – he is so quick and has different moves so he becomes a tough match-up.

“Garrett has been a great pickup for us as well – he adds a little bit of everything to our side.”

Lang and Adnam had 55 points between them in the earlier meeting but on Saturday could only muster 22 due to the Thunder’s defence.

“Something we were able to fix from the last time was we took easy options and too many outside shots so this time we wanted to attack the basket. As Lang and Macmillan are so important to them we had to keep engaging them,” Thomas said.

The Thunder was just as happy to take a finals win at home rewarding their local supporters and making up for an early exit last season.

“The stadium was full and we went to a lot of trouble to make it a different night,” Thomas said.

“We got the crowd worked up on the mic and then it was a typical finals game, tough and hard and a good promotion for SEABL basketball.”

The Thunder now travel to Bendigo for the preliminary final on Saturday night after winning both battles in the regular season against the Braves.

So in Thomas’ eyes they will need to overcome the home crowd and make sure the Braves do not turn the tables on them from earlier meetings.

“Kilsyth had the wood over us but we won,” Thomas said.

“We’ve had the wood on Bendigo so we have to reverse things – it all shows you can’t read too much into earlier results – finals basketball is always different to everything else.”

Notable performances

*NW Tasmania stars Garrett Jackson (31 points, 11 rebounds) and Fred Hunter (26 points, 13 rebounds led the way in their club’s win over Kilsyth.

*Cobras’ Taylor Cameron (16 points) plus Kyle Adnam and Jack Brazier (15 points each) were the Cobras’ leading scorers.

*Mt Gambier’s swingman Brad Hill lifted for the post season with 23 points and 10 rebounds in the Pioneers’ win over Bendigo.

*Grant Johnson led the Braves with 19 points while Tony Lewis was well-held (12 points).

*Albury-Wodonga scorer Deba George exploded into the finals with 30 points including seven three-pointers while Cory Dixon had 24 points, 13 rebounds as they beat Geelong.

*Nick Owusu was Geelong’s leader with 19 points while Eric Gaff added 17 points, 13 rebounds.

*Dandenong’s Daequon Montreal once again kicked into his best for the finals with 31 points and nine rebounds while Lucas Walker was again a great foil with 18 points and 12 rebounds as the Rangers’ ended Ballarat’s inspired late season run.

*Miners’ gun Roy Booker was again superb with 22 points and six assists while Anthony Fisher (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Gregory Thondique (10 points, 13 rebounds) both had double doubles.

SEABL media links

*Dandenong Journal’s Jarrod Potter (@JarrodPotter) reports on the Rangers’ semi finals wins. Report, pics:

*The Advocate reports on NW Tasmania’s win over Kilsyth. Report:

*The Advocate also filed this picture gallery by Stuart Wilson. Gallery:

*Ballarat Courier’s Melanie Whelan (@melanie_whelan) reports on the Miners’ loss to Dandenong. Report:

*Bendigo Advertiser reports Braves coach Ben Harvey says a late lapse cost his side against Mt Gambier. Report:

*Border Mail’s Chris Young reports on the Bandits’ win over Geelong. Report:

*Geelong Advertiser’s Wes Cusworth (@WesCusworth) reports on the Supercats’ loss. Report:

*AAP reports Hugh Greenwood will leave basketball to try AFL football. Report:

*The Age reports Andrew Bogut wants the Boomers to go for gold in Rio. Report:

Roy Ward (@rpjward) is a freelance sports writer who has covered the NBA, NBL, WNBL, SEABL and Big V during his career. He will be filing weekly columns on the SEABL men’s and women’s competitions during this season. For feedback or suggestions send Roy a tweet or email him at