Roy Ward looks at the Geelong Supercats, plus this week’s big plays and the media wrap-up.
Geelong Supercats have experienced their best and worse form in the space of two matches.
Last round the Supercats were humbled by Mt Gambier 94-73 but on Saturday night they were the aggressors in a 94-63 thumping of Nunawading Spectres.
Geelong coach Leon O’Neill said the closeness between sides in the SEABL occasionally led to big losses when one team had a bad night.
“It was one of those games where everything we did worked out – it was a polar opposite to the week before,” O’Neill said.
“If you are not ready to play then things like this happen, we learned that lesson the week before against Mt Gambier and this time we were switched on and focused.
“We had guys who don’t usually get on the boards getting tip-ins, we were throwing up buzzer beaters on the shot clock that went in.
“We will just appreciate it for what it is.”
The Supercats more than covered the 12 points needed to give them the split with the Spectres and they have moved to the top of the SEABL east conference.
O’Neill added the absence of Simon Conn made a big difference with the Spectres’ centre usually troubling the Supercats.
While there is still a long way to go in the season, O’Neill said the Supercats now had to keep winning on their home court to consolidate their place in the finals.
“We had a number of goals at the start of the season and because we had a good start we are narrowing our focus now,” O’Neill said.
“As long as we take care of our home court then we should be in good shape for finals. If we can win some road games as well then we could be in a position to finish on top which would make things easier for us as playing finals at such a loud venue as The Arena is something we all want to do.
“But first we need to make it and there are a lot of tough games ahead.
“Mt Gambier have been the standout team but they are in the other conference – in our conference it’s very tight and everyone is capable of beating everyone.”
This is O’Neill’s first full season as Supercats coach after several years as assistant to Jamie O’Loughlin and the campaign has been an unusual one in that Supercats’ veterans Nathan Herbert, Jamie Medved and Nick Owusu all reaching 300 games in season.
“If it wasn’t for the guys on this team and my respect for them then I wouldn’t have applied for the head coaching role,” O’Neill said.
“It wasn’t something I sought out but it’s going well so far.”
After struggling with the emotion of Herbert’s milestone, O’Neill said the Supercats had dealt with the next two milestone games much better and the trio were all still important players.
“They all don’t hold anything back in teaching our younger players and they aren’t afraid to lose minutes and are happy to help when asked,” O’Neill said.
“The whole team have been good to coach so far and the guys are really at that point in their careers where it’s nice to have individual honours but they are more worried about winning the championship and putting another banner up at The Arena.”
*Hobart Chargers star Tom Wright led the way in the Chargers’ win over Canberra with 28 points.
*Mt Gambier’s Damian Johnson was again a force at both ends with 20 points, eight rebounds and six steals as the Pioneers beat Bendigo on Friday night.
*Geelong Supercats’ 94-63 win over Nunawading Spectres will turn a few heads while Eric Gaff turned on his best form around the rim with 15 rebounds and seven blocks along with nine points. Teammate Kimmani Barrett led his side with 25 points.
*Canberra Gunners’ centre Ben Allen found form with 23 points, 12 rebounds against Hobart and then 31 points, 15 rebounds and six assists against North-West Tasmania.
*New North-West Tasmania import Garrett Jackson was extra aggressive on offence against the Gunners with 37 points on 15-24 shooting.
*Frankston star Eric Williams scored 26 points and had 10 rebounds, two blocks and three steals in the Blues’ win over Sandringham while Sabres star Junior Hairston also scored 26 points and added 12 rebounds.
*Albury-Wodonga microwave Deba George heated up in the Bandits’ away win over Kilsyth with 30 points and backed it up against Dandenong on Sunday with 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists in a close loss.
*Kilsyth’s Auryn Macmillan was strong inside with 16 points and 14 rebounds against the Bandits.
*New Brisbane signing Tim Coenraad showed he wasn’t lacking for touch in his first game with the Spartans scoring 21 points and grabbing 17 rebounds against Nunawading on Sunday.
SEABL media links
*The Advocate’s Jordan Abell reports North-West Tasmania coach Phil Thomas has praised his team’s toughness in beating Canberra Gunners. Story: http://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/3176565/toughness-of-thunder-wins-out-over-gunners/?cs=88
*The Advocate also filed a picture gallery from the match. Gallery: http://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/3175190/seabl-basketball-nw-thunder-v-canberra-pictures-photos/?cs=88
*Ballarat Courier’s Melanie Whelan (@Melania_Whelan) reports on the Miners’ weekend win. Story: http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3175307/miners-hold-off-spartan-attacks/?cs=63
*Ballarat Courier’s David Brehaut reports the Australian Opals will play Japan in Ballarat and have a training camp in the city in July. Story: http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3170676/opal-visit-coup/?csa=63
*Border Mail’s Chris Young reports on the Bandits’ weekend in Melbourne. Story: http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/3176697/too-tough-an-ask-coach/?cs=10
*Border Mail’s Steve Smith (@stevesmithffx) reviewed the Bandits’ season at half way. Story: http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/3172551/grading-the-2015-albury-wodonga-bandits/?cs=10
*Hobart Mercury’s Adam Smith reports Hobart Chargers’ minds went straight to a local showdown against North-West Tasmania after the Chargers beat Canberra. Story: http://www.themercury.com.au/sport/local-sport/chargers-switch-focus-to-intrastate-derby-against-north-west-thunder/story-fnj92b0f-1227417166431
*Pick and Roll contributor Olgun Uluc posted this video of Australian under-19 forward Jack White dunking against Italy on Sunday night. Video: https://twitter.com/OlgunUluc/status/615131712448663552
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 firstname.lastname@example.org