It was another busy few days for our Tall Blacks plying their trade overseas.
The week began early with Zaragoza involved in a Tuesday night Eurocup game but going down heavily at Spanish rivals Valencia 87-68. Zaragoza was overwhelmed 27-12 in the second quarter and never recovered, they now sit 1-1 in Group C. Isaac Fotu finished with 11 points and rather unusually zero rebounds.
Talking of zero, the following day that is how many points Dion Prewster and Leon Henry accumulated between them although admittedly they only put up a collective four shots. Prewster did feature in the highlights package, as the Sydney Kings were defeated 74-62 by the Breakers. The Tall Blacks guard looked certain to score midway through the second period as he broke to basket on his own but a typical effort play by Mika Vukona resulted in the power forward swatting away Prewster’s shot to remind everyone of his defensive prowess.
A couple of hours later Townsville were demolished 93-62 by the table topping Melbourne United 93-62. Henry only managed a rebound, an assist and one shot.
When Townsville found themselves 17 points down in Perth on Friday night at the end of the first quarter (28-11) it appeared another heavy defeat was on the cards. Given that it was the Crocodiles fifth away game in 12 days having visited Auckland – Sydney – Cairns and Melbourne prior to the flight to Perth a defeat at the hands of the Wildcats wouldn’t have been unexpected.
To their credit Townsville worked their way back into the game and trailed just 50-48 at three-quarter time. The deficit grew to 7 points with 2:30 to play but the Crocs would not be denied and it was Tall Blacks swingman Leon Henry who delivered the telling blows on the unbeaten Wildcats. In the final 46 seconds Henry gathered a defensive rebound, made the go ahead triple on the ensuing play, captured a steal at the defensive end and then sunk a free throw to deliver a remarkable come from behind, 66-63, victory for the Crocodiles.
Jarrod Kenny is looking more and more assured and confident in his role for the Wildcats. The point guard had 7pts/6rebs/3assists/2stls in a solid 27 minutes against the Crocodiles.
Sunday afternoon and it was Penney v Kenny or more accurately Illawarra Hawks v Perth Wildcats. For a large part of the game it looked as if Illawarra would grab the win but it was Jarrod Kenny who left with the biggest smile. His two treys, with Perth trailing by 8 points in the middle of the final period, helped trigger a 29-17 fourth quarter surge by the Wildcats to seal a 106-99 victory.
Penney scored 11 points for the Hawks (4/13FG) and Kenny notched 6 points (2/4 3PG), 4 rebounds and 3 assists for the Wildcats
Back in Spain Zaragoza visited the grandly named Rio Natura Monbus Obradoiro on Saturday going down 82-67 and slipping to a 1-2 record in Liga Endesa. Zaragoza trailed 24-12 after the first quarter and was playing catch up thereafter. Isaac Fotu added 5 rebounds to half a dozen points.
Plymouth Raiders looked as if they were on track for their first win in the British Basketball League on Saturday night leading Surrey Scorchers 62-56 with a period to play. However the Raiders gave up 35 points in the final quarter to lose 91-86 and slip to the bottom of the table with a 0-4 record.
For the second week running BJ Anthony fouled out, lasting 28 minutes, but still posted 11 points, 9 rebounds a block and a steal.
It has been a traumatic week for the Plymouth club as they sacked coach Jay Marriott just three games into the season and elevated former Breakers player Daryl Corletto to the role of player coach. Unfortunately the move didn’t pay immediate dividends.
Limburg United came within a whisker of defeating Belgium League leaders Spirou eventually going down 86-82. Limburg won three of the four quarters but ultimately paid the price for defensive lapses in the third quarter that they lost 25-18.
Rob Loe had a fine stats line considering he fouled out in just 21 minutes. The Tall Blacks centre shot 6 from 7 from the field for 12 points and also added 4rebs/3assists/2stls/1block. Limburg is now 2-2 for the season.