Men's Previews - Round 8
Eastern Mavericks (0-7, 10th) v Woodville Warriors (4-2, 4th)
Saturday May 26, 8.15pm at Adelaide Hills
The Woodville Warriors have a great chance to bounce back from their disappointing Round 7 loss to Norwood when they travel to the hills to meet the Eastern Mavericks.
The Warriors were jumped early by the fired up Flames and despite clawing their way back in the second half, they fell just short at the final whistle. Zane Reeves had 20 points and 7 rebounds, while Adam Blight finished with a double-double (17 points, 15 rebounds). Puff Summers added 17 points and 6 assists.
The Mavericks struggled again last week, going down to the in-form Sabres 56-82. Lukass Blicavs was their standout player with 14 points in just 16 minutes, while Nick Heim had 8 points and 11 rebounds. One of the highlights of an otherwise lowly night for the Mavs was Aciek Mayen registering the first blocked shot of his career.
The Mavs have not beaten the Warriors since the final day of the 2010 regular season. Their home clash with the Warriors last term resulted in an 84-90 loss.
This is a danger game for the Warriors, who need a victory to keep themselves in the top five. They should win, but if they fail, they could well look back on this game as the one that got away.
North Adelaide Rockets (4-2, 3rd) v Central District Lions (2-5, 9th)
Saturday May 26, 8.15pm at Hillcrest
The Central District Lions will be hoping to build on their upset Round 7 victory over South when they head to Hillcrest for a date with the North Adelaide Rockets.
The Lions beat the Panthers by nine, with their clean ball-handling (just 10 turnovers to 16) critical. Kyle Miller, after just 14 points the previous two matches, was a pivotal player with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists.
The Rockets enter this match on the back of their second loss in three weeks, having been defeated 73-91 by Forestville. They hung around for most of the game, but were blown away 8-21 in the third quarter. Brandon Brine had 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Pero Vasilijevic and Josh Bond each registered 17 points and 8 boards.
The last clash between the two teams ended badly for the Rockets, copping a 51-86 thumping at Starplex. They did win 74-68 at home, yet Hillcrest was the only stadium the Lions won at in 2010.
A victory for the Lions would have them closing in on the top half, while the Rockets need to prevail to maintain their place in the top three. The big news for the Lions is centre Dan Carlin, who averaged 14.7 ppg and 8.3 rpg last season, is set to suit up this week.
The Rockets will be warm favourites to win, yet in a season of surprises, anything is possible.
Norwood Flames (4-3, 7th) v West Adelaide Bearcats (5-2, 2nd)
Saturday May 26, 8.15pm at Mars
The Norwood Flames’ roller coaster season hit a high last week, and they will be hoping the positive ride can continue when they host the West Adelaide Bearcats.
The Flames produced one of the upsets of the season by defeating the red-hot Warriors in their own stadium. Former Rocket Matthew Lycett, who has been playing college basketball in the United States, made his debut as a Flame and finished with a team-high 15 points. Keith Krause, Ben Howell, Todd Matthews and Jack Jennings also scored in double figures.
Another new Flame is likely to be unveiled this week, with import Brian Moultrie taking the place of Curtis Scipio.
The Bearcats continued their great start to the season by defeating the Tigers 77-58. Josh Knight had his best game as a Bearcat with 17 points and 8 rebounds, while Blake Truslove (17 rebounds, 11 points, 6 blocks), Howard Salters Jr (16 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals), and Anthony Spadavecchia (15 points, 4 assists) were all productive.
The Bearcats’ last win over the Flames was in the 2010 Preliminary Final, having lost both matches to them last season. The Flames have produced their best and worst in different games, whereas the Bearcats have been very consistent, so the result of this game will likely come down to which Flames team shows up.
The Flames have not won or lost consecutive games this season, so on that trend, expect the Bearcats to get the W.
Southern Tigers (2-5, 8th) v Forestville Eagles (4-3, 5th)
Saturday May 26, 8.15pm at Morphett Vale
The Southern Tigers will be attempting to end their three game losing streak when they host the Forestville Eagles, who have returned to form the last two weeks.
The Tigers failed to win a quarter against the Bearcats, ultimately losing by 19. Tyler Tanis had a game-high 19 points, but was restricted to 5/18 shooting. Former Eagle Tim Smyth added 13 points and 7 rebounds.
After three consecutive defeats of their own, the Eagles, who now have James Boonstoppel (7.5 ppg last season) available, got themselves back into the top five and on the right side of .500 by blowing away previous ladder-leaders North. The Eagles dominated the hustle stats with 18 extra rebounds and 6 less turnovers.
The Eagles won both matchups with the Tigers last season, including a 92-78 triumph at Morphett Vale. The Eagles have been a bogey side for the Tigers in recent years, who have not prevailed in this head-to-head series since April 5, 2008.
A loss here would be deadly for the Tigers’ finals hopes, as they would be three games off the pace. The Eagles also need this one desperately to keep themselves in the five.
The Eagles have a deeper and more talented roster and based on their last couple of efforts they should win by a decent margin.
Sturt Sabres (5-2, 1st) v South Adelaide Panthers (4-3, 6th)
Saturday May 26, 8.15pm at Pasadena
In the Match of the Round, the South Adelaide Panthers will be hoping to make amends for last week’s hiccup against Centrals when they visit the new league-leaders, the Sturt Sabres.
The Panthers had won four straight before their 79-88 loss to the Lions, who had dropped four in a row. Their setback caused them to drop out of the finals seedings. Jordan Robertson had a team-high 20 points, while Thomas McKenzie scored 17 with 9 rebounds.
The Sabres’ opening two rounds suggested they were anything but top-side material. However, behind some inspired play from Tom Daly, they have put together five consecutive victories, including an 82-56 triumph over Eastern.
Daly registered a double-double for the fifth straight time, finishing with 12 assists and 11 points, along with 7 rebounds. Tim Klaosen had a team-high 15 points despite just seven field goal attempts.
The last time they met, the Sabres overcame a large half-time deficit, storming home for an 81-66 victory. That made up for their defeat at Marion earlier in the season.
With both sides battling for a top five position and only one game separating them on the ladder, this fixture is potentially a two-win game for these teams.
The Panthers have shown they can compete with the best, but it is hard to back against an inform Sabres team in their own building.
Endnote: If Woodville, North, Norwood, Forestville and South all win, seven teams will be sitting on five wins at the end of the round.
By James Woite