Raiders import Lester Strong returned to action on Sunday afternoon
at Knox Converse Stadium after being involved in a serious car accident
just three weeks ago. Strong suffered injuries to his face, shoulder and
leg but was able to heel quickly and suit up for his beloved Raiders
after receiving the all clear from medical staff.
Needing to secure a win over the visiting Canberra Gunners (3-8) to stay afloat with a 50% win-loss record, the Raiders came out of the blocks flat footed and trailed 0-6 just a minute and a half into the game. Despite having played on Saturday evening against Nunawading, the Gunners looked the sharper of the two teams for the majority of the first quarter.
The Raiders started to lift their intensity in the closing stages of the first and when John Philip hit his second three-pointer for the term, the Raiders took a two point advantage going into the first break.
Canberra showed no signs of fatigue in the second quarter as they took it up to the Raiders, outscoring the home team 25-16 for the term and taking a seven point advantage into half-time.
Coach Graham Longstaff was not pleased with his chargers defensive effort in the first half and stressed the importance of playing solid defence for the second half if the Raiders were to win. The Raiders responded to their coach’s wish and cranked up the intensity on the defensive end in the third quarter which led to a number of transition baskets on offence.
The Raiders cut the seven point deficit and pulled away with a three point lead of their own by the three quarter time buzzer.
Fresh legs helped the home side continue to keep the intensity up in the final term as the visiting Gunners started to tire. League leading scorer CJ Massingale poured in 12 fourth quarter points as the Raiders dominated the final minutes of the game and pulled away with a much needed 18 point win, 93-75.
Massingale finished with a game high 29 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. John Philip notched up 19 points and 8 rebounds in 38 minutes of action whilst Mick Hill gave the Raiders a solid all round performance with 18 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. In his first game back, Strong recorded 2 points, 5 rebounds and an assist in just under ten minutes of action.
For the Gunners, five players scored in double figures with Glenn Baird leading the way with 15 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists.
With the win, the Raiders move into third spot on the East Conference ladder with a 6-6 record. This coming Saturday 22nd May will see Massingale play his 150th game for the Raiders in SEABL competition against the South Conference ladder leading Hobart Chargers (9-3) at Knox Converse Stadium, tip-off 8pm.
SEABL WOMEN - OFFENSIVE ONSLAUGHT LEADS TO 52 POINT WIN
The Knox Ford Raiders recorded their second consecutive 50 plus point
victory on Sunday afternoon at Knox Converse Stadium against the
Albury/Wodonga Lady Bandits. The Raiders were an offensive juggernaut
for the entire match, pouring in a season high 115 points as all players
scored at least three points.
From the opening tip the Raiders looked completely switched on and set the tone for the game with some intense pressure on defence which led to easy fast break points on the offensive end.
At the end of the first quarter, the Raiders had opened up a 32-15 lead as Lill Keane and Odette Andrew led from the front for the home team.
The Raiders hot shooting continued in the second term as they shot 63.2% from the field whilst keeping their opponent to just 35.7% shooting. By the half-time break, the Raiders held a massive 28 point lead.
With the game all but over at half-time, coach Heath Anderson ensured his team continued to execute and focus on improving their performance and that they did. The Raiders poured in 28 third quarter points, sharing the ball well amongst each other whilst maintaining the defensive intensity Anderson was after.
The final term saw the visiting Lady Bandits have their best quarter as they scored 20 points, but the Raiders offence could not be slowed up, scoring a further 29 points on their way to a staggering 115-63 winning margin.
Amy Denson led all scorers with 26 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals, whilst teammates Sarah Graham (21 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists) and Lill Keane (20 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 6 steals) provided great support. Odette Andrew also scored in double figures with 16 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists and promising youngster Shanae Greaves had a career high 9 points and 7 rebounds.
For the Lady Bandits, it was Lisa Wallbutton who top scored for her team with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Emma Mahady also chipped in with 12 points.
The Raiders still remain one spot out of the top six with a 6-4 record in a highly competitive SEABL Women’s league. The upcoming weekend will see the Raiders enjoy a bye, followed by a double-header in week 11 where opponents Nunawading (away Saturday 29th May) and Hobart (home Sunday 30th May) will await.