Monthly Archives: February 2016

Unknown

Toni Edmondson to play in first WNBL Grand Final

Cantabrian Toni Edmondson (11 points) was one of five Perth Lynx players in double figures as the Lynx stunned defending champions Townsville Fire on Sunday afternoon.

The Australian WNBL Major Semi-Final was expected to be a tight affair but the Lynx dominated from start to finish eventually winning 92-71 to book themselves a place in the Grand Final series in a couple of week’s time. Micaela Cocks scored 12 points (4/8FG) and Chevannah Paalvast 4 points (2/3FG) on a day when the Fire was well and truly subdued.

Not all is lost for Townsville as they host South East Queensland Stars in a do or die Preliminary Final next Sunday, the winner to meet the Lynx.

US College – Women

 Colgate Raiders lost 83-74 to Lehigh on Wednesday but in scoring 14 points Tall Ferns forward Josie Stockill became just the 20th player in Colgate University Women’s Basketball history to pass 1,000 career points.

The Hawkes Bay native piled in a further 18 points on Saturday, plus a career high 16 rebounds, as Colgate secured just its 3rd Patriot League success defeating Lafayette 70-55.

Colgate_v_UConn_1010x640

Josie Stockill passed 1,000 career points for Colgate University

Following a 16th straight win Brigham Young Uni-Provo Cougars has risen to No 22 on the NCAA Division 1 rankings. The West Coast Conference Regular Season champions were much too good for Portland dominating from start to finish to win 84-59 on Thursday. Kalani Purcell finished the game with 12 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and a couple of steals.

Somewhat surprisingly the Cougars lost its final regular season game on Sunday going down 73-55 at Gonzaga. Despite the loss Purcell managed to chalk up her 16th double double of the season adding 13 rebounds to 10 points.

In the same conference Stella Beck’s St Mary’s Gaels (14-4) wrapped up second place in the WCC with a 72-59 victory against San Francisco. Beck continued her recent good form with 11 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block.

Seattle University Redhawks fell 79-48 to Utah Valley in Western Athletic Conference action – 2pts/1reb/1assist for Jacinta Beckley.

Cal State Northridge Matadors gave unbeaten UC Riverside a 25-14 first quarter start and a lead that proved too big to pull back. The Matadors slipped to 4-9 in Big Western Conference games after losing 84-62. On a positive note, after a quiet sequence of games, Tessa Boagni bounced back into form with 13 points, 6 rebounds and a steal.

The University of California Berkley Golden Bears rounded out its regular season with two home games at the weekend. On Friday Penina Davidson (7pts) went 3 from 3 from the field including a score from her only shot from beyond the arc as the Bears beat Oregon 65-54.

On Sunday Oregon State were too strong for the Bears winning a low scoring contest 54-44. Davidson managed 4 points, 4 rebounds and a block in that one. The Bears finished with a 4-14 record in Pac 12 Conference play.

Europe – Women

 Jillian Harmon and Le Mura Lucca roll on in the Italian Serie A now boasting an 18-1 record. Despite having to wear a spare set of uniforms provided by their hosts, due to a color clash, Lucca disposed of Oriveto 66-46 with Tall Ferns forward Harmon scoring 13 points.

 

 

Advertisements

ACM Hawks defeat Waikato Wizards in WBC opener

NCAA Women's Basketball: Hawaii Rainbow Wahine vs Hawaii-Hilo Vulcans

Breana Jones scored 13 points for the Hawks

All teams involved in the Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC) congregate in Tauranga next week (March 4-6) for the first of three tournament weekends that will decide the 2017 championship.

The WBC takes on the same format as last year with some games played outside the three tournament weekends, in an attempt to promote the women’s games and profile the players in their local associations.

The first of these games was played in Cambridge on Wednesday evening with Auckland Counties Manukau Lady Hawks edging a tight encounter, 59-58, against Waikato Wizards.

The Wizards, led by veterans Natasha Lenden and Miriam Stevens made the stronger start opening up a 6 points lead although that was trimmed to a single point, 19-18, at quarter time.

Breana Jones, back in the WBC after a stint at the University of Hawaii was prominent for the Hawks as it forged a 30-26 half-time advantage.

Waikato, strengthened by the addition of former Tauranga forward Kelcy Ballantyne, bounced back in the third period winning the quarter 20-13 to hold a 46-43 lead entering the final ten minutes.

Waikato still had a four point cushion with 5 minutes to play but the poise of Jordan Hunter, Hayley Moala and Jones helped last years runners-up boss the final minutes and get its campaign off to a winning start.

Final score;

Waikato Wizards 58 – Stevens 13p/6r, Krystal Leger Walker 11p/6r/5a, Kendell Heremaia 8p/9r, Kyler Parai 7p

ACM Lady Hawks 59 – Hunter 19p/5r/5a, Moala 16p/8r, Jones 13p/5r/4a, Sharne Pupuke 6p/7r

Penney or Kenny plus more on overseas Tall Blacks

1444821301656

Kirk Penney is attempting to take Illawarra to the NBL Grand Final

 The posse of Tall Blacks in the Breakers squad will have to wait until Friday before finding which New Zealand international will lineup against them in the best of three NBL Grand Final series. Will it be Penney or Kenny?

The semi-final between Perth Wildcats and Illawarra Hawks is locked at one game apiece after both teams won its respective home games. The pivotal game three will be played in Perth on Friday.

Illawarra’s Kirk Penney picked up some of the slack created by Kevin Lisch’s absence (badly damaged ankle early in game one) scoring 35 points across both games but the Tall Blacks shooting guard did need 33 shots from the field to reach that total. Surprisingly he connected with just 2 from 16 three-point efforts.

b8f2140f1254eea923376dcce771e2aa

Jarrod Kenny has had a fine first season in the NBL

Jarrod Kenny (7pts) was his steady self for Perth connecting with both three point attempts and a free throw in game two.

Europe –Men

Plymouth Raiders entertained Cheshire Phoenix in the British Basketball League on Sunday, 8th versus 7th, with both teams keen to improve their play-off prospects (top eight qualify).

Helped by 21 points from Duane Bailey it was Plymouth that prevailed 100-89 and they jumped over Cheshire into seventh spot with a 9-14 record. The Raiders shot a highly respectable 11 from 22 from beyond the three-point arc, Bailey nailing 3 from 4 from deep.

Isaac Fotu enjoyed a rare week off as league action took a break whilst the Spanish Cup reached a climax.

Zaragoza host Italian club Dolomiti Energia Trento in the last 16 of the Eurocup on Wednesday followed by a meeting with powerhouse Barcelona in Liga Endesa on Sunday.

American College – Men

Tai Webster was in decent form for Nebraska Huskers in the past week. Unfortunately the Huskers slipped to 6-9 in the Big Ten Conference going down 80-64 at Indiana on Wednesdays and 65-62 in overtime at home to Ohio State on Saturday.

The Tall Black guard landed 14 points and dished 3 assists against Indiana. Unfortunately Webster fouled out at the end of regulation time against Ohio, his strong form (9pts/5rebs/5assists/2blocks/1steal), missed by the Huskers in the extra period.

On Monday Jack Salt played the last couple of minutes for Virginia University as the Cavaliers moved to 10-4 in the Atlantic Coast conference with a 73-53 win against North Carolina State. Salt collected a rebound but failed with his only scoring attempt.

Three Tall Ferns chasing WNBL title

2011 FIBA Oceania Championship

Micaela Cocks is a key member of the Townsville Fire 

Three Tall Ferns will contest the Australian WNBL Major Semi-Final in Townsville next Sunday. The match up will ensure at least one Kiwi international will be appearing in the 2016 Grand final as the winning team progresses straight to the final. The losers get a second life playing the winner of the 3rd/4th play off encounter.

The Townsville Fire with Micaela Cocks and Chevannah Paalvast in their ranks will host Toni Edmondson and the Perth Lynx. East v West in Australia, Canterbury v Auckland amongst the Kiwis.

Townsville ensured top spot and back to back WNBL regular season titles with a hard fought 64-57 victory against Adelaide Lightning on Saturday.The Fire had slipped up on Friday going down 82-69 against the Lynx in Perth but made no mistake 24 hours later.

Against Perth Cocks played a game high 35 minutes for the Fire contributing 8 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Teammate Paalvast added three points and a rebound.

Toni Edmondson could not find her range for the Lynx shooting none from four but the Cantabrian did collect three rebounds and dish a pair of assists.

Cocks (5pts) and Paalvast (2pts) were relatively quiet against Adelaide but both will be relishing the prospect of the major semi-final on home court next weekend.

 US College – Women

The US college basketball season is heading towards the sharp end of the 2015-16 campaign. The regular season has just a week or two more of games before conference tournaments get underway in early March.

Brigham Young Uni-Provo wrapped up its first ever West Coast Conference Regular Season title with two games to spare. They met second placed San Diego on Wednesday, the only team they had lost to this season, and won a tight encounter 68-60.

Once again Kalani Purcell was a major architect of the win with 13 points, 12 rebounds, 7assists and two steals as BYU stretched its unbeaten run to 15 games.

PCAFXFHZEXZJBWV.20141122193608

More fine performances from Stella Beck for St Mary’s

In the same conference Stella Beck is in the form of her life. Following last week’s career best 27 points Beck produced a 20 points outburst for St Mary’s Gaels as they defeated Gonzaga, 66-47, on Thursday. This was followed by a triple double threatening 11 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists as Portland was demolished 95-53 – St Mary’ move to 12-4 in conference play.

Colgate University Raiders went down 71-58 against Boston University but Josie

Stockill, who already holds the Raiders all time shot blocking record, is now just 4 points shy of 1,000 career points for the Raiders. The Raiders centre returned 10 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks on the night.

Seattle University Redhawks had a tough couple of games matched up against the two top teams in the Western Athletic Conference. On Thursday they gave the more fancied Univ of Texas Rio Grande Valley a run for their money before eventually going down 76-71. Former Paraparaumu College standout Jacinta Beckley notched 4 points, 3 rebounds and an assist for the Redhawks. Beckley scored 3 points on Saturday in the 66-56 against unbeaten New Mexico State.

Cal State Northridge Matadors are now 4-7 in Big Western Conference games after losing 77-66 against Cal Poly on Saturday. Forward Tess Boagni chipped in with 4 points and two rebounds in 16 minutes for the Matadors

Penina Davidson had a very handy 10pts, 3 rebs, 2 blocks, 2 steals stats line but University of California Berkley Golden Bears went down 72-66 at Utah on Friday.

Europe – Women

Tall Ferns Jillian Harmon (Le Mura Lucca, Italy) and Erin Rooney (COB Calais France) had a break this week as the major European Leagues paused to allow international games to be played.

“You die on the floor too” says Wesley

Dean+Vickerman+GzYJXNdjX_um

“A lot of that you can’t coach” said Vickerman

By Murray McKinnon

The New Zealand Breakers hit their straps at the right time to overcome the semi-final challenge from minor premiers Melbourne United. The Breakers dominated the fourth quarter to record a 91-78 victory at the Vector Arena on Saturday night.

A happy and contented coach Dean Vickerman and forward Tai Wesley spoke to the media post game.

“We’ve been on a six game win streak and that felt like two weeks and the six game losing streak felt like three months kind of thing. I’m just so pleased that we were able to get over the hump and find this form at the right time of the season and we only found it just at the right time. With this group there were big moments, and with big games they go to another level and we saw that in the second half. There were some big moments in the game that needed to happen and Ced, Tai, Tommy and a lot of people made big plays for us tonight and a lot of that you can’t coach,” said Vickerman.

“I thought over in Melbourne (where the Breakers won 91-82) that Tommy really wanted the basketball at different stages and tonight you could just see there was an absolute confidence that he was going to make plays,” he added.

A key to the Breakers success was the play from Tai Wesley in the post going toe to toe with Hakim Warrick.
“We know what he (Tai) is capable of at the offensive end but his commitment to the defensive end was unbelievable tonight. We rebounded and shared the ball a lot better in the second half,” said Vickerman.

eight_col_Tai_Wesley_16x10

Crucial 16pts, 6 rebs from Tai Wesley

Wesley said it was all a matter of timing.
“We knew if we weathered the storm we would get our moments and take advantage of them. We lifted to another level, when you see a guy like Mika Vukona die on the floor for your team, you go out and die on the floor for your team too,” he said.
“I don’t have a preference as to who I would like to play in the final, I’m grateful to be in the grand final and I wish the game was sooner,” added Wesley.

Vickerman would like to see the final game played at the Vector Arena.
“I’d love to come back here if there was an opportunity and pack this place out and have the final here.
“The schedule for the finals doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, if one of the goals of the NBL this year was to put the best product on the floor I’m not sure that scenario puts the best basketball product on the floor,” he said.
Vickerman in his final season with the Breakers is enjoying the winning records he is setting.
“You never get bored with winning. The whole group did a haka for me the other day and that’s something that I’m going to remember for the rest of my life.”

Demopolous gracious in defeat after loss to Breakers

NBL+Round+1+Melbourne+v+Illawarra+kDQmRMDF5Nfl

“This is our first time in this kind of rodeo together”

From Murray McKinnon

Melbourne United head coach Dean Demopolous was philosophical and gracious in his reflections on the game in the post-match interview following the SKYCITY Breakers 2-0 sweep of Melbourne on Saturday.

“It was a hotly contested game and I’m just really proud of my guys man,this is our first time at this kind of rodeo together. It was a hotly contested game and I’m just really proud of my guys man. Eight new players, this group here (Breakers) has been through it before and they’re an excellent basketball team, they deserve the word champion to be by their names they earn it they talk it and they walk it, give them credit they’re better than us right now.”

“We aspire to be like them we’d like to hang up four out of five years champion banners, and they’ve got an excellent chance to make it five out of six in my opinion, but my team set a bar and a standard for this new franchise and their city embraced them, fans embraced them, ownership management embraced them, they took me on a hell of a ride and I’m appreciative of the opportunity that ownership and management gave me to spend a lot of time with a group of guys like this it’s one of the best group people I’ve ever been around and they made me better and we feed off each other and we’re going to try to come back stronger and better for it.”

“We congratulate New Zealand and wish them all the best going forward, in fact I’m rooting for them,” said Demopolous.

Chris Goulding who top scored with 23 points for Melbourne said that it hurt not making the final.
“We tried as hard as we could, but probably didn’t play our best game.”

“Where ever we finished at the end of the regular season, it doesn’t change how much this hurts so I wouldn’t say we were a dominant team all year we fought some massive games out to get and put ourselves in the best position possible which we did but at the end of the day that still wasn’t good enough. New Zealand hit their straps at the right time, they’re playing very good basketball,” said Goulding.

Tall Blacks prominent in NBL play-offs

b8f2140f1254eea923376dcce771e2aa

Jarrod Kenny has helped steer Perth to the play-offs for a 30th consecutive season.

There is New Zealand representation in all four teams contesting the semi-finals of the NBL this week with the pair of games on Friday sorting out the top four from the also-rans.

 In Illawarra the Hawks did the Breakers a huge favour by eliminating the Adelaide 36ers from play-off basketball on Friday. The Hawks, aided by 13 points from Kirk Penney, won 106-95 and locked in third place for good measure.

Earlier in the evening the Breakers had done what was required of them to secure a top four spot by defeating an undermanned Melbourne United 106-95. Development player and one test Tall Black Tohi Smith-Milner scored 5 points in his second outing of the season for United who had already qualified in top spot.

Earlier in the week Perth Wildcats travelled to Sydney without four starters and not surprisingly were downed 103-77 by NBL cellar dwellers Sydney Kings, 103-77. Jarrod Kenny scored 11 points, all in the first half, for the Wildcats but Dion Prewster went scoreless for the Kings.

 Two early threes at the start of the fourth quarter from Leon Henry helped propel the Townsville Crocodiles to a convincing 85-68 victory against Cairns Taipans in the fourth and final ‘Reptile Rumble’ of the season. Henry scored another 6 points on Saturday night as the Crocs rounded out their campaign with a thrilling 126-123 overtime success against the Sydney Kings.

 Perth wrapped up the regular season, and second place in the standings, disposing of Adelaide 100-84 on Sunday night. Jarrod Kenny dealt in pairs in this one – 2 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists.

 Europe 

CAI Zaragoza made it to the Eurocup last 16 for the first time in club history by downing Szolnoki Olaj (Hungarian League champions) 70-80 on the road on Wednesday. 5 points, 1 rebound and a steal for Isaac Fotu as Zaragoza finished their group with a 4-2 record. Next up for Fotu and his colleagues is a home and away tie with Dolomiti Energia Trento, currently sixth in the Italian Serie A.

Back in Liga Endesa Spanish League action Zaragoza travelled to ACAM Murcia on Sunday and were beaten 110-102 with Fotu scoring 7 points (2/6FG) and pulling down a pair of rebounds.

Plymouth Raiders had a tough weekend facing British Basketball League leaders Newcastle Eagles (19-2) on Friday before travelling back south to take on Surrey Scorchers on Sunday.

Duane Bailey was most impressive on Friday scoring a team high 25 points (12/23FG) before fouling out at Newcastle with seven minutes to play. The power forward also garnered 7 rebounds and dished a pair of assists.

Just 8 points, a rebound and two steals for Bailey at Surrey on Sunday but more importantly Plymouth came from 7 points down at half time to win 73-64. The victory keeps Plymouth in eighth spot on the BBL ladder.

American College 

Nebraska University Huskers has had a win and a loss in the last week. It lost its fourth game in five going down at Wisconsin on Wednesday, but comfortably beat Penn State 74-50 0n Saturday – the Huskers are now 6-7 in Big Ten Conference play.

Tai Webster contributed 9 points, a couple of rebounds and an assist against Wisconsin but failed to score against Penn.

Jack Salt didn’t suit up for Virginia University as the Cavaliers moved to 9-4 in the Atlantic Coast conference with a 67-49 win against Virginia Tech on Tuesday and a narrow 63-62 loss on Saturday against Duke.

Beck and Stockill post career high’s

PCAFXFHZEXZJBWV.20141122193608

Stella beck leads the West Coast Conference in field goal shooting – 57% from the field.

Career high points hauls for Stella Beck and Josie Stockill highlight the efforts of Tall Ferns overseas this week.

 Former Hutt Valley High School standout Beck put together an almost perfect shooting performance as she recorded a career high 27 points in St Mary’s Gaels 91-81 win At Loyola Marymount in West Coast Conference play. Beck was almost unstoppable shooting 10 from 11 from the field and a perfect 7 of 7 from the charity stripe. She wasn’t too shabby at the defensive end either collecting 3 rebounds and 4 blocks.

 In the same conference Kalani Purcell continued her good season as Brigham Young Uni-Provo recorded wins against San Francisco and Santa Clara. Across the two games Purcell averaged 17 points, 15.5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 1.5 blocks.

 BYU remain atop the conference standings with a 14-1 record, St Mary’s (10-4) in third spot, with two weeks of the regular season to play.

 Colgate University Raiders may have slipped to a fifth straight loss when beaten 78-55 by Army West Point but Tall Fern Josie Stockill had a game to remember. The Hawkes Bay product scored a career high 29 points in addition to securing 9 rebounds and effecting 7 blocked shots.

 Stockill, who already holds the Raiders all time shot blocking record, is now just 18 points shy of 1,000 career points for the Raiders.

 Cal State Northridge Matadors improved to 4-6 in Big West Conference play following a convincing 62-48 win against Irvine. Tessa Boagni has had a quiet time of late and that trend continued as the Cantabrian centre grabbed 4 rebounds to match 4 points (1-4FG).

 Penina Davidson helped the University of California Berkley Golden Bears snap a four game losing streak with a strong 4pts/6rebs/4assists/2 steals stat line. The Bears improved to 3-11 in the Pac 12 Conference after defeating Arizona 75-56 on Sunday.

Australia – Women

The Townsville Fire has almost wrapped up the Australian WNBL minor premiership for the second successive season. After demolishing Dandenong Rangers 89-49 in Townsville on Friday the Fire requires just one win from its remaining two games after to secure the premiership.

Micaela Cocks made a major contribution to the win with 13 points that included a couple of crucial threes whilst Chevannah Paalvast added a brace of points and assists.

 Canberra Capitals broke a 21 game losing streak to upset top four contenders Perth Lynx on Friday winning 80-77. Toni Edmondson had 3 points and 3 assists for the Lynx.

 The Lynx bounced back on Saturday night securing a crucial 88-85 come from behind victory at Sydney Flames. Edmondson weighed in with a handy 8 points and 5 rebounds effort as the Lynx remained second on the ladder.

 Nelson native Jess Bygate also had 8 points for Adelaide Lightning as it cruised to an 88-62 victory in Melbourne against the Boomers on Saturday. Bygate shot a perfect 3 from 3 from the field plus a couple of free throws.

The dosage was almost repeated on Sunday as Adelaide won again beating Bendigo Spirit 92-78. 6 points and 2 rebounds for Bygate on that occasion.

 Top placing’s on WNBL ladder with one round to play – top four qualify for semi-finals at end of the 24 game regular season:

16-6 Townsville Fire

15-8 Dandenong Rangers

15-8 Perth Lynx

14-8 SE Queensland Stars

12-10 Bendigo Spirit

Europe – Women

Le Mura Lucca kept its impressive run in the Italian League going with a hard fought 74-71 road win at exotically named Siesto San Giovanni Geas. Once again Tall Fern Jillian Harmon led the Lucca effort with a 25 points haul.

COB Calais (3-13) remains second from the bottom of the French League after going down 76-51 at home to Villeneuve on Sunday. Erin Rooney put up just two shots for Calais failing to score with either attempt. The former Canterbury guard had to settle for 4 assists and a brace of steals in 29 minutes of action.

Rangers snare Ruscoe and Alexander

 

photo

Marco Alexander returns to Auckland for 2016 NBL season

The James Blond Super City Rangers have added depth to its guard stocks by adding Marco Alexander and Brook Ruscoe to its squad for the 2016 Bartercard NBL Season.

Ruscoe has had spells with a number of NBL clubs including the Nelson Giants and Auckland Pirates. Last season the 25 year old played for the Manawatu Jets averaging 20.4 points per game but the Jets having chosen to sit out the 2016 NBL season thus giving Ruscoe the opportunity to join the Rangers.

Alexander, a former Rangitoto College standout, returns to Auckland after an injury riddled 2015. His spell with Australian club Melbourne United was cut short due to a serious hip injury that required surgery. A slow recovery limited the 24 year old to just 11 appearances for the Hawkes Bay Hawks last season in the NBL.

Alexander is delighted to link up with the Jeff Green coached Rangers that will be looking to go one better than last season when the team was eliminated at the semi-final stage of the NBL. “I’m excited to join the Rangers and provide a spark for us. It’s great to be part of an experienced squad and we have the right pieces to go all the way”, said Alexander

Confirmed signings for the Rangers are Ruscoe, Alexander, Lindsay Tait, Dillon Boucher, Mika Vukona and Reuben Te Rangi.

The Rangers will open the NBL season with a trip to the Wellington Saints on Thursday March 10th, 2016.

Breakers play-offs bound

1425979559545

Tom Abercrombie believes the Breakers “Are getting a good rhythm offensively.”

good rhythm and a good flow offensively

By Murray McKinnon

The Breakers downed an undermanned Melbourne United side 100-63 and Illawarra Hawks beat the Adelaide 36ers 106-95 to leave the Breakers clear in fourth on the ladder and into the playoffs against top of the table Melbourne.

After Melbourne left three of the their key players Chris Goulding, Daniel Kickert and Hakim Warrick at home, the game was always going to be one sided in the Breakers favour and they duly led through all four quarters, 22-16, 53-34 at the half and 76-47 and the three quarter.
Cedric Jackson was outstanding from the arc with four threes, he also had six assists and ended with 17 points, Charles Jackson was on 18 and Corey Webster 17.

Dean Vickerman was aware before the game that Melbourne were likely to be down in man power.
“I heard a whisper yesterday that Goulding wasn’t coming and after hearing that he wasn’t coming I thought there would be a couple of other people would follow as well and not come.”
“At that point I felt we had some advantages on the boards I thought we would dominate the boards and dominate the inside and if we could still restrict their three point shot it is something we’ve got to keep working on against this team and we gave it a good job in both those areas,” said Vickerman.
“It was a real final for us tonight,” he added.

Thomas Abercrombie who scored 14 said that the team still went into the game with full on intensity.
“I thought we did a great job of coming out with the right mind set. And the intensity was there and we were able to build a good lead which is what we needed to do and rest guys down the stretch.
We wanted to send off Dean and Richard in their final home game in the right way and play in the right way for them so it was really nice that we were able to give those two a really fitting send off because that’s exactly what they deserve.”

“They’ve given a whole lot to the Club over a number of years so they deserved nothing less than a hundred percent effort from all of us out there. I thought the starters brought it and the guys that came off the bench did a great job as well with the opportunity they were given and they enjoyed that extra time out there and played really well,” said Abercrombie.
“Sunday’s game over there they are a different animal and have incredible home support and Melbourne’s really gets behind them,” he added.

Melbourne coach Dean Demopolous said that he wanted to rest his key players before the finals.
“Just overall they have aches and pains so it’s a good opportunity to give them a chance to recover a little bit, they’ve been hurt for a while now so it gave a chance for some guys to play who haven’t, so that’s about it.
“We’re in the playoffs so it was a strategic decision but it was more based on how they felt than anything else,” he said.

Asked if he gave this game away by not bringing those guys.
“Not at all, I thought we had an excellent chance to play better than we did, give New Zealand credit they’re a very good basketball team, there are champions so they seized the moment. We didn’t take advantage of the opportunity as well as I would have liked but that’s the way it goes and we’ll strap it up on Sunday,” he said.
Kyle Adnam off the bench played well top scoring for Melbourne with 16.
“He’s a young kid and he has a great spirit. And I’m glad he had the opportunity to play.”

Vickerman is delighted to make the playoffs.
“We dug a pretty deep hole for ourselves with consecutive losses and that’s just a credit to the group that we were able to get out of it, we found a way to climb and scratch out of it and now put ourselves in the situation where we’ve got the opportunity for the playoffs we’ve got the opportunity to win a championship right now,” he said.

Abercrombie feels that the team has come together well over the last few weeks.
“We’re playing good basketball right now, we’ve had a real focus on ball movement and shooting the basketball these last few weeks and we’re starting to see that show out in the games and the way we’re able to play for each other out there and I think we’re starting to get a good rhythm and a good flow offensively, we’ve been a good defensive team all year and that’s been able to stay steady and now we’re starting to see that confidence in the swag on the offensive end,” he said.