Frankston and Dandenong go head-to-head in our Game of the Week, plus we preview each match.
By Grant Richardson
Game of The Week – Frankston v Dandenong
Saturday 25th April- 8:00pm @ Frankston Basketball Stadium
A slate of six games to celebrate ANZAC Day is headlined by a clash between Frankston and Dandenong that will see Chuck Long return to the club he serviced for four years.
The Blues were unable to recover from a 12-24 opening term against Kilsyth in Round 2. The lead ballooned to 30 before they managed to peg it back for a 69-91 loss. Greg Page led the way with 19 points but it was the opposing point guard, Kyle Adnam, who torched Frankston with 27 points on 9-14 shooting.
The loss has sunk the Blues to the bottom of the South Conference with a 0-2 record but their spirits should be lifted as they play at home for the first time this season. A victory could ignite renewed hope, especially with four of their next six games to be played at Frankston Stadium.
Leading by 11 at the final change against Canberra last weekend, Dandenong were on their way to a 2-0 start to the year before they were stunned by an 18-31 fourth quarter. Nnaebuka Anyaorah hit the go-ahead basket with nine seconds remaining before Daequon Montreal missed a chance to send the match into overtime.
Despite the miss, Montreal has been stellar so far, leading the league in scoring with 26.5 points per game. His new partner, Long, has not been as productive, averaging just 6.5.
The Rangers will be hoping a return to the stadium Long called home from 2011-2014 will spark the forward back into the numbers he once produced for Frankston. Chris Patton has covered the lack of input from Long but if their three-prong forward attack can function together it will prove too much for the likes of Brandon Polk and Matt Turner.
Prediction: Dandenong by 6
Friday 24th April –
Mt. Gambier v Hobart
Kyle Hunt’s 21.5 points and 10.5 rebound average is a rare highlight for the 0-2 Chargers, who shot 29% and scored just 53 against Geelong last week. Hunt will have his hands full against Tyrone Lee and Damian Johnson as the Pioneers look to consolidate their Round 2 thrashing of the Gunners.
Saturday 25th April –
Brisbane v Sandringham:
After two road wins in Round 1, Sandringham crashed back to Earth as they let a lead slip at home against Kilsyth in a 9-19 final term. They are back on the road this week to face Brisbane who have the chance to start their season 3-0. Turning around an 8-point deficit in the last quarter to beat Ballarat by 3, shows that Coach CJ Bruton has this team on the right track.
Canberra v N-W Tasmania:
Canberra will round out a stretch in which they play four games in nine days against a Thunder side that will not have played in a week. On a positive note for Canberra, this will be N/W Tasmania’s first road game of the year but they are coming off a win over Geelong in which four players reached double-figures.
Bendigo v Nunawading:
Both these sides felt the wrath of Albury-Wodonga in Round 2 with Bendigo falling by 9 before the Spectres lost by 5 in Nunawading. Being at home could turn the tide for the winless Braves but they need to look for shots closer to the basket as they average 25 attempts from three per game at just 29%.
Kilsyth v Hobart
A tough round is concluded for Hobart with a trip to the South Conference leading Cobras on the second night of a back-to-back. Kilsyth flexed their muscle with two wins last round as Tim Lang collected 16 points and 15 boards in an 8-point win over Sandringham before Kyle Adnam’s 27 points helped them to a 22 point defeat of Frankston the following day.
Geelong v Albury-Wodonga:
The tide may be turning in the East Conference as the once dominant Supercats (now sitting at 1-2) host the unbeaten Bandits. Geelong suffocated Hobart with their defence last weekend but could not complete the Tasmanian road double with a loss to the Thunder. Albury-Wodonga were clinical against Bendigo and Nunawading and now own two of the league’s top four scorers in Donte Nicholas (23.3 points per game) and Cory Dixon (22.3).
Sunday 26th April –
Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence v N-W Tasmania:
Both sides will be playing their second match of the round but the Centre of Excellence will have enjoyed three more days rest. The likes of Fred Hunter and Nathan Wilson haven’t shown their dominance in the post like some expected but they could beat up on the younger bodies of the CoE.
Dandenong v Nunawading:
On the second night of a back-to-back for both sides, this match could be a test of endurance and bench depth. The Spectres will be truly tested if Simon Conn and Shane McDonald miss as they did last week while the league’s leading scorer in Daequon Montreal could go up against Delwan Graham, the leading rebounder.
Ballarat v Kilsyth:
A week long break will have left Ballarat itching to get back on court so they can avenge their Round 2 loss to Brisbane and they will face a Kilsyth side backing up just 16 hours after their Hobart clash. The Miners are averaging an impressive 85.6 points per game but their 25 turnovers last weekend proved extremely costly.