The latest round of the Australian NBL began with another installment of the Breakers v Perth Wildcats rivalry. Jarrod Kenny was playing his first ever ANBL game at the NSEC just a few hundred meters from Westlake Boys High School, his old stomping ground. Despite knocking down an early three it was former ‘Lake’ boys Corey Webster and Tom Abercrombie who had the last laugh as the Breakers sped home on a 20-6 final 5 minutes to win 99-78.
Kenny, (8p/3r/1a/1st/1b) has made a very good impression in his debut NBL season and Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson at the post game media conference endorsed his efforts.
“He’s been magnificent,” Gleeson said. “He’s team first mentality. I love him as a basketball player. Hopefully we’ll have him for a long time.”
Kenny may be forced to play second fiddle to Damian Martin in the second half of the season if the Wildcats 90-72 demolition of Adelaide on Friday night is any indicator. Martin had a block and four steals as he demonstrated his defensive prowess and at the same time limiting Kenny (2pts/1reb) to just 12 minutes court time.
Back to Wednesday and the Townsville Crocodiles proved that they could manage without sacked import Brian Conklin by demolishing Queensland rivals the Cairns Taipans 90-76. Just the 3 points for Leon Henry in this one but he and the rest of the Crocs players will have been delighted to win the latest version of the Reptile Rumble.
The Crocs were unable to make it two consecutive wins for the first time this season going down 86-75 to the Breakers on Saturday night. Henry was tireless for Townsville, particularly at the defensive end. The Tall Blacks and Wellington Saints swingman came up with 6 points, a game high 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks and a steal. The game was in the balance until the last three minutes at which point Mika Vukona scored on three from four possessions and also produced an important block to help secure the win.
Kirk Penney gave a masterful display against Melbourne United on Thursday, stuffing the stats line with 25pts/2r/5a/1st/1block, as the Illawarra Hawks won 102-87. His trip back to Auckland in a couple of weeks to take on the Breakers will be one to watch.
Tai Webster was unable to repeat his career high heroics from the previous week as Nebraska Huskers went down to No 10 ranked Miami 77-72 in midweek. Webster recorded 9pts, 5rebs, 4 assists and a steal.
On Saturday the Huskers bounced back to winning ways defeating Abilene Christian Uni 73-63 with Webster one of three players in double figures (10pts) whilst also recording 5 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal.
It was third time lucky for new coach Andreu Casadevall as CAI Zaragoza snapped a two-game losing streak and took a giant step towards the Eurocup last 32 with a 75-71 home victory over SLUC Nancy on Wednesday. Probably for the first time in his fledgling professional career Isaac Fotu failed to score any points but he did contribute 7 rebs, 2 assists and a steal as the red and blacks improve to 5-3, sitting second in group C.
Fotu came close to a double double scoring 12 points (6/12FG) and claiming 9 rebounds before fouling out as Zaragoza (2-7) beat Estudiantes (1-8) in overtime. The win was just Zaragoza’s second Spanish league victory of the season
Limburg United (4-4) slipped to a third consecutive defeat going down 95-81 at Brussels (5-4) on Sunday. Rob Loe contributed 9p/2r/1a/1 steal but fouled out in 20 minutes as United failed to recover from a 28-19 opening quarter deficit. The two teams exchanged 5th and 6th spots on the Belgium League ladder following this result
Next up for Limburg is Crelan Okapi Aalstar the team that eliminated them from the Belgium Cup last week. The tie was decided over two legs with Limburg losing the away tie 109-101 and the home leg 93-89.
Over in the British Basketball league, Duane Bailey and the Plymouth Raiders enjoyed a week off as the Raiders had a bye this week.