03:53PM, Mon 26 April 2010
After a disappointing 19 point loss just a week earlier in Brisbane, the Knox Ford Raiders SEABL women bounced back on Saturday night, recording a 66-55 victory over the Sandringham Lady Sabres (4-3) at Knox Converse Stadium. The Raiders had shot the ball at just 26% from the field against the Lady Spartans last week and knew they would have to increase their efficiency on the offensive end against Sandringham or face a 2-4 opening start to the season. In front of a large home crowd the Raiders rose to the challenge and were able to convert on 41.3% of their field goal attempts, a marked improvement from the Brisbane encounter. Both teams played out a tightly contested opening quarter with the Lady Sabres holding a slight two point advantage. The second quarter was the Raiders best as the home side put up 20 points for the term and forced their opposition into 10 turnovers, setting up a six point lead at the main break. The scoring prowess of Amy Denson (18 points, 11 rebounds) and Sarah Graham (18 points, 2 rebounds) continued to keep the Raiders ahead in the third quarter, along with Cassie Smith who in her sixth game in a Knox uniform notched up a season high 13 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Six points remained the margin entering the final quarter and the Raiders showed great focus and intensity to close out the game as they never let the Lady Sabres cut into the six point margin. The home side won the final quarter 17-12 to win the match by 11. The win leaves the Raiders sitting eighth on the ladder with a 3-3 season record heading into their round 7 away clash with the Frankston Lady Blues (1-6) on Sunday 2nd May at Frankston Basketball Centre, tip-off 12pm. SEABL MEN It was an emotional night at Knox Converse Stadium for the Knox Ford Raiders SEABL Men’s side after finding out their star import Lester Strong had been involved in a serious car accident just hours before tip-off. Strong was involved in a head on collision and was taken to hospital to where he was treated for his injuries and remained overnight and unavailable to play against Sandringham. It’s now been revealed that Strong has stepped away from the accident with minor injuries and will make a full recovery, a fantastic outcome considering the severity of the accident to which Strong was not at fault. Playing without the services of Strong, the Raiders were always going to struggle without the inside presence of the Denver native on both ends of the floor but the home side played with great pride and passion despite being undermanned. Strong’s fellow import CJ Massingale continued his hot form, opening up with 10 first quarter points whilst young big man Nathan Crombie stepped up in Strong’s absence and played well in the starting centre role. Trailing by one to start the second term the Sabres started to exert their size advantage over the Raiders, Simon Conn (16 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks) and Tom Garlepp (17 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks) giving coach Graham Longstaff headaches all evening. With the rebounding count starting to become a major factor in the game, the Sabres extended their lead to six at the half-time break. Massingale continued to fire in the third and received good support from John Philip (12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists) as the Raiders managed to win the quarter by one, leaving themselves a five point deficit entering the final ten minutes. The Raiders started the fourth with two consecutive baskets and cut the lead to just a single point. A Crombie two-point make just two possessions later gave the Raiders the lead with just under eight minutes remaining but the Sabres responded on the very next possession and didn’t relinquish the lead for the remainder of the contest. The final margin was nine points, 77-68 in favour of the Sabres who capitalised on the absence of Strong and won the rebounding count 48-28 in a low scoring match. Massingale led all scorers with 28 points @ 52.4%, 3 rebounds and 5 steals. Philip ended up with 12 whilst Crombie racked up nine points of his own. For the Sabres it was Garlepp (17 points) and athletic guard Daniel Dillon (17 points, 7 rebounds) who led the scoring for the Sabres with Conn (16 points) and Nathan Croswell (12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) providing the assistance. The loss leaves the Raiders sitting fourth on the Eastern Conference ladder at 3 wins and 4 losses. The team will travel to the nation’s capital this coming weekend where the AIS (1-3) await on Friday night and the Canberra Gunners (2-5) on Saturday. It is still unknown as to when Strong will be able to return to action.