And then there were four!
Four Kiwis remain active in the Australian National Basketball leagues, men’s and women’s, – two in Perth and two in Townsville. Jarrod Kenny and Toni Edmondson are flying the flag out west whilst Micaela Cocks and Chevannah Paalvast are doing the same in North Queensland.
Jarrod Kenny will be the sole Kiwi representative in Australian NBL play-off basketball. The Tall Blacks guard played an important part in Perth’s two victories over the weekend. In the pivotal game on Sunday Kenny scored 8 points, including a couple of long threes, as the defending champions accounted for Melbourne 96-94 and in the process eliminated the Breakers.
Neither Reuben Te Rangi nor Dion Prewster, the two other Kiwis with Australian clubs, will be in play-off action as Brisbane and Sydney failed to finish in the top four. Prewster, in what has been a disappointing season for the Nelson Giants bound guard, scored two points, as Sydney Kings were thumped 101- 74 in Perth.
Te Rangi managed 4 points, a rebound and three assists but the injury ravaged Bullets were no match for Illawarra Hawks going down 106-79. Te Rangi will now return to NZ and link up with the Southland Sharks.
The WNBL play-off race is down to five teams with one round of the regular season remaining next weekend.
It took overtime but Perth Lynx are certain of a play-offs spot after beating Melbourne Boomers 87-81 on Sunday and improving to 15-7. Toni Edmondson fouled out with 1:40 left in regulation after contributing 9 points, 3 rebounds and a steal to the Lynx cause.
Micaela Cocks also scored 9 points as Townsville Fire downed Dandenong Rangers for the second consecutive weekend although fellow Tall Fern Chev Paalvast didn’t take the floor. The victory means the Fire have a 2-1 winning split on Dandenong that may be enough, depending on the results of the final round of games next week, to carry them to third spot on the WNBL ladder.
However nothing is certain as fifth placed Canberra, who visit Townsville on Saturday, hold the series advantage over the defending champions.
Jess Bygate (Melbourne Boomers) and Jordan Hunter (Adelaide Lightning) will conclude their seasons next week with their teams filling the last two places on the ladder.