Roy Ward on the Frankston Blues, plus this week’s big plays and the media wrap-up.
Frankston Blues knew signing import Eric Williams would solve some of their scoring problems but they didn’t expect the outburst they received on Saturday night.
Williams scored 42 points in 42 minutes on debut as the Blues got their first win of the SEABL season beating Kilsyth Cobras 96-91 at Frankston Stadium.
As a proven import at both SEABL and Big V level, Williams has good standing within Australian basketball and that was part of the appeal for the Blues who were fighting hard but leaving too much scoring to Brandon Polk.
Blues coach Simon Giovannoni said he expected Williams would lift the team but he hadn’t expected him to make such a stunning start.
“I didn’t think he would go score 42 points – I was hoping for something in the mid-20s,” Giovannoni said.
“I thought he was going to help, I just didn’t think he would help that much but he is just a ferocious competitor, a winner and he came in and lifted the standard of practice straight away.”
While the Blues have a 1-6 record thus far and a roster missing the experience of long term players like Chuck Long, Mitch Chapman, Ben Louis and Ryan Tindel, Giovannoni said his team never behaved like a 0-6 team.
“It was just good validation for the group who have been working really hard,” Giovannoni said.
“I don’t think we were training or playing like a 0-6 team, we were hanging pretty tough and had some tight losses.
“An influx of talent like Eric, it helps you and takes that little bit of pressure off everyone else.
“It’s not a secret we play a lot with Brandon taking the scoring load so we needed a scorer, a finisher and we’ve got that in Eric.”
This season the Blues have put faith in a number of young talents like Melbourne United development guard Greg Page, Jack Gaze and Jack Wilson while another Melbourne United development player in centre Matt Hodgson has only just made his return from injury.
Hodgson should give the Blues a major injection of rebounds and blocked shots once 100 per cent fit but he is likely to miss the next few weeks to build up his match fitness.
“We knew going in that it was going to be a tough start and we are under no illusions how hard the league is and the quality of players,” Giovannoni said.
“When you lose experienced guys like Louis, Chapman, Long and Tindel from the group it makes it harder – We went to Geelong last round and they had three guys with 300 games and I’m debuting two under-20 kids.
“We want our SEABL program to be an extension of what we are doing in the junior program and that will mean we take some hits.
“We always knew it would be hard but these kids have done everything we have asked of them.”
With two elite stars in Williams and Polk plus a roster of emerging players, the Blues will now set their sights on more wins.
“The good thing is there are 17 or so games to go from here so we need to get on the same page as quick as we can and string some W’s together,” Giovannoni said.
*Frankston’s new import signing Eric Williams made a stunning return to the SEABL with 42 points in 42 minutes as the Blues beat Kilsyth and scored their win of the season.
*Blues teammate Brandon Polk was also a menace with 25 points and 18 rebounds in the same game while battling Kilsyth centre Tim Lang who scored 27 points and grabbed 12 boards.
*Dandenong Rangers centre Chris Patton turned on his best with 26 points and 11 rebounds in the Rangers’ loss to North-West Tasmania.
*Hobart Chargers’ Kyle Hunt lifted when his side needed him in their win over Nunawading with 24 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks.
*Geelong Supercats’ duo Kimmani Barrett and Nick Owusu scored 26 points each as the Supercats’ beat Sandringham.
*Bendigo imports Grant Johnson (28 points) and Tony Lewis (26 points, 14 rebounds) led the way as the Braves beat Canberra despite Gunners’ centre Ben Allen scoring 28 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
*Lewis was again the leading man in the Braves’ follow up win over BA Centre of Excellence with 31 points and 16 rebounds.
*Albury-Wodonga’s Deba George (26 points) and Cory Dixon (23 points, 16 rebounds) helped their side to a win over Ballarat as Roy Booker scored a game-high 28 points.
*Nunawading’s Simon Conn dragged his side to a win over Geelong on Sunday with 28 points and 17 rebounds.
SEABL media links
*Albury Border Mail’s Steve Smith (@Stevesmithffx) reports on the Bandits’ claiming another home win. Report, pic: http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/3085002/theyre-just-home-boys-when-its-about-winning/?cs=10
*The Advocate’s Brad Cole reports on North-West Tasmania’s “textbook” win over Dandenong Rangers. Report, pic: http://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/3084767/team-effort-secures-victory-for-thunder/?cs=88
*Ballarat Courier’s Melanie Whelan (@melanie_whelan) reports on how a slow start hurt the Miners’ against Albury-Wodonga. Report, pic: http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3084953/slow-start-hurts-miners/?cs=63
*Bendigo Advertiser’s Nathan Dole reports on the Braves’ winning double. Report, pic: http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/3083918/braves-achieve-double-on-road/?cs=81
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 email@example.com