Youth League Week 13 Roundup

A combination of a win over Newcastle and other results launched Central Coast into an almost insurmountable lead atop Youth League, whilst Hornsby and Penrith solidified their finals claims. However, Illawarra won both legs of their double-header to creep up on the sixth-placed Spiders.

Bankstown 43 lost to Illawarra 69

Bankstown’s finals hopes hung in the balance going into this game, but Illawarra were far from sympathetic to the Bruins’ cause, establishing an early lead before hammering home their dominance for a 26 point victory in a game that saw just six Bankstown players take to the court.

Led by seven early points from Paige Phillips, Illawarra were able to jump ahead quickly. The visitors put together a 13-4 lead before Tasmyn Haynes was able to rein in the Hawks to a degree with some quick points. However, late scoring from Maddison Delaney and Eleri Morris pushed the Hawks’ lead into double figures and the first quarter ended with Illawarra looking dangerous at 20-9 in front after ten minutes.

Haynes continued to put points on the board for Bankstown in the early stages of the second quarter, but largely played a lone hand as the Bruins were forced to settle for tough looks much of the time. However, Elena Berbeniuk proved to be solid support at times as Bankstown managed to trim the lead to four with two minutes to play in the half. Unfortunately for the Bruins, they would score just two points in those last two minutes as Illawarra finished the half on a 7-2 run which was capped off by Morris’ buzzer-beating deep two which put the visitors up 34-25 at halftime.

If Bankstown had any thoughts of pulling out a third quarter as solid as the second, Claudia Flynn quickly put paid to that. Showing utter dominance on the boards, Flynn came up with no less than four offensive rebounds in the first three minutes of the third quarter. Collecting both her own and her teammates’ misses, Flynn racked up 10 points in the first four minutes of the second half as Illawarra extended their margin to 16 points. With the Bruins only able to add eight points to their tally in the third quarter, Illawarra were able to just about put the game to bed, taking a 53-33 lead into the final term.

Flynn continued her rampant second half with eight more points early in the fourth quarter. The scoring dried up slightly for Illawarra in the latter stages, but the game was over as a contest long before then. With two points to Georgia Gale the only scoring of the final two minutes, Illawarra finished 69-43 winners to all but extinguish Bankstown’s finals hopes.

Claudia Flynn led all scorers with 21 points, with Eleri Morris and Paige Phillips offering support with 10 points apiece. Tasmyn Haynes led Bankstown with 17 points, whilst Elena Berbeniuk added 12 for the Bruins.

Box Score

Manly 49 lost to Penrith 67

Penrith continued to showcase some improved form, tallying their third win in a row to move to 9-6 and further solidify their spot in the top 6 with a comprehensive victory over Manly.

Penrith opened the game with the first five points of the contest, but Faith Bulgin and Caitlin Keefe tallied five points apiece in the first quarter to give Manly a 10-7 lead. Despite this, eight first quarter points for Dominika Offner ensured Penrith would take a 14-12 lead into the second quarter.

Offner and Meg Jefferson opened the second quarter in style for the Panthers as the visitors went on a 10-0 run early in the term to open up a double-digit lead. Antonia Henderson added four points and Emilie Krimmer added a pair of threes, but Manly were unable to slow the Panthers’ scoring enough to completely close the gap. However, a late basket from Rachel Duncan brought the margin back to 36-28 at halftime which put Manly within striking distance.

And strike they did. Duncan, Bulgin, and Henderson all added points early as Manly opened up the second half on a 6-0 run before Meg Creanor converted a pair of free throws to keep the Panthers’ lead intact. Jefferson did the same shortly after and then came up with another two points to push Penrith up by 8 once again. Jefferson would finish the third quarter with 12 points to ensure that Penrith went into the final quarter with a solid 53-41 lead and all the momentum.

A low-scoring fourth quarter saw points hard to come by for both teams, but that suited Penrith just fine. Offner and Jefferson added some more scoring to their burgeoning tallies, and with the Manly offence only able to create eight points in the final term, a late Abbi Williams basket took her tally to double-figures and finished off a 67-49 win for the visitors.

Meg Jefferson top scored with 24 points to lead the Panthers to victory. Dominika Offner added 17 points and Abbi Williams tallied an even 10 as the trio accounted for all bar 16 of the Panthers’ points. Antonia Henderson was Manly’s only player in double figures with 10 points, although Rachel Duncan, Emilie Krimmer, and Caitlin Keefe all finished with 8 points.

Box Score

Hornsby 81 defeated Norths 71

Hornsby picked up a vital win over Norths to stay above .500 and remain in touch with the teams fighting for the second bye into the semi-finals alongside Central Coast.

Hornsby’s high-powered offence went to work in the first term to provide the team with a solid platform from which to work for the rest of the game. Maddy Della Franca scored four early points before Kristina Moore registered 10 and Jess Sancataldo added 8 in a 24 point first quarter for the Spiders. However, Norths remained in touch courtesy of six points from Milly Yates and eight from Ali Burke which saw the first term finish 24-18 in Hornsby’s favour.

Alysha Skerritt earned and converted an and-one to move Norths within three on the opening possession of the second quarter. But five consecutive points from Moore helped move Hornsby out to a 37-25 lead before Yates and Katerina Diamant moved Norths back within 8 shortly after. Serena Waters converted a pair of free throws for Hornsby late in the term, but Burke scored the last four points of the quarter to see the half end 41-35 to the home side.

Burke opened the term with another basket, and when Charlotte Gorman knocked down a three with 6:44 remaining in the third quarter, Norths were on a 13-0 run and suddenly held a 44-41 lead. Waters earned another pair of free throws and promptly knocked down both, before Sancataldo and Moore led the Spiders on a 13-1 run of their own to retake the lead and extend it to a healthy 54-45 margin. Yates, Burke, and Skerritt all added points late on for Norths, but Moore and Waters ensured the lead remained at nine as Hornsby held a 60-51 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Five points from Sarah-Jane Thomas gave Norths another unexpected scoring option, and when Yates and Diamant each tallied baskets just shy of midway through the final term, Hornsby’s lead had been trimmed to 62-60 and suddenly there was a real contest brewing yet again. However, the Spiders kicked again. Della Franca, Sancataldo, and Waters continued their excellent scoring days to move Hornsby out to a 72-62 lead, and this time they would not give up their healthy margin. Burke and Skerritt added more late scoring for Norths, but Moore and Waters tallied some late points of their own to see Hornsby emerge 81-71 winners in a game that was far tighter than the scoreline suggested.

Box Score

Newcastle 50 lost to Central Coast 77

Central Coast continued their charge towards securing the top seed for the finals with a win over Newcastle sending the Crusaders three games clear at the top of the table.

The Crusaders started on an absolute charge, with Rachel Williams and Shakera Reilly each scoring five points in the first three minutes to put the visitors up 12-0 early. Sophie Parente snapped the run with Newcastle’s first points of the game, but Central Coast were undeterred. The ladder leaders promptly broke off another 13-3 run to establish a 25-5 lead after a quarter.

Central Coast’s scoring slowed slightly in the second quarter, with Losalini Katia’s 6 points for the term the highlight of the quarter for the visitors. Newcastle were able to generate more offence than they had been able to muster in the opening term, with Parente tallying five more points as the quarter ended 14-12 in the Hunters’ favour. Despite this, the first quarter onslaught from Central Coast meant that the visitors headed to the locker room leading 37-19.

Reilly and Katia continued to rack up the points in the third quarter as the Crusaders continued to assert their dominance. Grace Kibble and Rachel James each knocked down a three for Newcastle, but Central Coast continued to extend their lead. Melling Patfield added four late points for the Hunters, but the Crusaders still held a 55-29 advantage going into the final term.

Kibble fired for Newcastle on offence in the fourth quarter, registering nine of her 15 points in the final term. Reilly continued to swell her ever-increasing points tally, but Kibble’s efforts ensured the Central Coast lead would not blow out much further than it already had. The fourth quarter finished 22-21 in the Crusaders’ favour to see the visitors emerge 77-50 victors to strengthen their grip on top spot.

Shakera Reilly led all scorers with 23 points, with Losalini Katia registering 18 and Rachel Williams adding 11. Grace Kibble led Newcastle with 15 points, whilst Sophie Parente also finished in double figures with 10 points for the Hunters.

Box Score

Sutherland 42 lost to Hills 52

A win here for Sutherland would have seen the Sharks jump right into the finals mix, but instead it was Hills strengthening their finals credentials as the Hornets moved to 8-5 with a 10 point win.

The Hornets got out of the blocks quickly, with seven points Madison Hare leading a shared scoring effort which delivered a 16-7 lead first quarter lead for the visitors. With Sutherland’s offence struggling to find open looks, the game was in danger of getting away from the home side early in the piece.

Hills opened the second quarter on a 9-2 run, with Gabby Turnbull the only Sutherland player able to add any points for the Sharks in the early stages of the term. In a low-scoring term, Turnbull scored six of Sutherland’s eight points. Fortunately for the Sharks, Hills were only able to add 11 points to their own total which at the very least meant that Sutherland weren’t entirely out of the contest at 27-15 down at halftime.

Maddy Norris stepped up for the Sharks in the third quarter, starting the term with a pair of threes from the top of the arc to draw the home side within eight at 29-21. The margin remained in single-figure territory for much of the third quarter as Sutherland did their best to make a dent in Hills’ lead. The third quarter ended with the margin at 11 though, with a late Laura Davidson basket putting the visitors up 38-27 with ten minutes remaining.

The fourth quarter belonged to Sherrie Calleia. The Sydney Uni Sparks guard earned and converted two pairs of free throws, before Sutherland were able to trim the margin back to 7 courtesy of baskets from Deanna Kalivitis and Hannah Clinen. Kelsey Curtin brought some swagger to the party for Hills soon after though, hitting a vital three and flicking her wrist on the follow-through as the ball swished through the bottom of the net for good measure. The shot put Hills up 10 with seven minutes to play and proved to be crucial as Hills’ offence could only manage two more points in the next six minutes. The Sharks crept within five with a minute to play, but with Hills able to get the ball to Calleia on inbounds plays and the home side forced to foul, the Hornets’ star was able to showcase her free throw ability. Calleia connected on another four shots from the charity stripe to ice the game for Hills and help deliver a 52-42 win.

Sherrie Calleia led all scorers with 14 points, ten of those coming from the free throw line. Madison Hare added 13 points, and Zoe Burke tallied 10 points in the Hornets’ win. Maddy Norris was Sutherland’s top scorer with 12 points, whilst Hannah Clinen finished with 10 for the Sharks.

Box Score

Bankstown 68 defeated Newcastle 60

After watching their own thin finals hopes fall by the wayside on Saturday, Bankstown then all but delivered the same fate to Newcastle on Sunday with an eight point victory.

Tasmyn Haynes was the star in the early stages for the Bruins, scoring eight points in the first quarter as the home side established an 18-10 lead courtesy of a 9-2 run to end the first quarter. However, the second quarter saw Newcastle score the first five points of the term to move within three points before Haynes returned with a vengeance. An 11-0 run led by 8 points from the Bruins’ star pushed the Bankstown lead out to 29-15 before Hannah Fox snapped the run before the home side could completely blow the game open. The back end of the quarter saw the teams trade baskets to keep the margin hovering around the 13 point mark, with Newcastle getting the lead down to 10 at one point for Bankstown pushed ahead once again. Five late points from Grace Kibble proved to be like gold dust for Newcastle, who managed to stay within 11 as the scoreboard read 36-25 in Bankstown’s favour at halftime.

Haynes continued her onslaught with five points to open the second half before Georgia Gale got in the action with some early scoring of her own as Bankstown quickly pushed their lead out to 47-29. Gale continued to exhibit her scoring prowess throughout the third quarter, whilst for the Hunters it was Fox and Melanie Edwards doing their best to keep their team in the game. Despite this, Bankstown took a 16 point lead into the final term to all but have the game wrapped up with 10 minutes to play.

However, Newcastle were having none of that. The visitors opened the fourth quarter with quick scoring from Laura Dick, Sophie Parente, and Grace Kibble, before a Hannah Fox basket with just under 5 minutes to play put the visitors within seven and suddenly in with a shot at a win. Sabrina Zenatti hit a three shortly after to push Bankstown out to a 64-54 lead, but the next four points belonged to the Hunters and with 1:48 to play, the score read 64-58 in Bankstown’s favour.

Haynes was next to score to extend the margin slightly, and it proved to be enough as Newcastle were only able to score one more basket in the final 90 seconds as Maddie Nowland hit a consolation basket with 5 seconds to go to see the final score read 68-60 in Bankstown’s favour.

Tasmyn Haynes was unstoppable with 29 points for Bankstown, whilst Sabrina Zenatti and Georgia Gale tallied 15 points apiece. Hannah Fox was Newcastle’s only player in double figures with 10 points, whilst Grace Kibble and Maddie Nowland registered 9 points apiece.

Box Score

Illawarra 79 defeated Liverpool-Macarthur 38

A good weekend became a great weekend as a second win of the weekend for Illawarra put the Hawks just half a game out of the finals spots after things looked less than promising before this round.

Opening the game on a 19-2 run, Illawarra found scoring from a variety of options in the early stages. Eleri Morris and Soriah Vos both found the bottom of the basket on multiple occasions in the first few minutes, whilst Maddison Delaney, Ebony Petre, Claudia Flynn, and Paige Phillips all chipped in in the early stages as Illawarra asserted their dominance from the outset. Kimberley Sepuloni stopped the rot with a basket with just over 3 minutes to play in the opening term, but five more points from Petre took her to eight for the quarter and helped push Illawarra out to a 24-6 lead after ten minutes of play.

The second quarter was quite symmetrical. Each team had a player score 7 points – Rayan Danine for Liverpool-Macarthur and Maddison Delaney for Illawarra – and each team finished with 16 points as a much-improved effort from the visitors saw the margin hold steady at 18 points through a half of basketball.

However, the third quarter saw Eleri Morris explode on offence for 8 points in 3 minutes to blow the margin out slightly. Sepuloni and Danine did their level best to stop the Illawarra run, but soon enough the margin was approaching the 30 point mark as Tyler Vukovcan added some quick points for the home side. With the score at 61-31 after three quarters, Illawarra had well and truly put the game away with 10 minutes to play.

With that said, the third quarter still had to be played. The scoring slowed, but three consecutive baskets from Paige Phillips late in the game not only shored up her own personal tally, but took Illawarra’s final winning margin past the 40 point mark. With Bianca Carusio’s basket for Liverpool-Macarthur being the only scoring of the final two minutes, the game finished 79-38 in Illawarra’s favour.

Eleri Morris top scored for Illawarra with 19 points, whilst Maddison Delaney added 10 for the home side. Ebony Petre and Tyler Vukovcan each added 9 as eight Illawarra players scored five points or more. Rayan Danine finished with 14 for Liverpool-Macarthur and Taylor Muaulu registered 8 points for the shorthanded Razorbacks, who played just six players.

Box Score

Weekly Scoring Leaders:

Tasmyn Haynes (Bankstown) – 29 points v Newcastle
Kristina Moore (Hornsby) – 27 points v Norths
Alessandra Burke (Norths) – 24 points v Hornsby
Meg Jefferson (Penrith) – 24 points v Manly
Shakera Reilly (Central Coast) – 23 points v Newcastle

Youth League Week 12 Roundup

Central Coast came up trumps in the top of the table clash to put a noticeable gap between themselves and second-placed Manly, whilst Penrith won both games in their double-header to strengthen their finals credentials.

Newcastle 61 defeated Hills 54

No play by play available for this match.  I can’t be everywhere!

Manly 42 lost to Central Coast 57

No play by play available for this match. I still can’t be everywhere!

Penrith 61 defeated Illawarra 52

A potentially season-changing weekend for Penrith started in the best way possible with a 9 point win over Illawarra in a game that saw both teams missing vital components. With Natalia Beaumont out for the Panthers due to SEABL commitments, and Paige Phillips and Eleri Morris playing in Illawarra’s Championship game at Comets, both teams had holes to fill in the starting lineup.

Despite Beaumont’s absence, Sarah Creanor ensured that the Panthers would get off to an excellent start, scoring 8 points in the first quarter. A tough quarter for the Hawks saw the Panthers take a 17-5 lead into the second quarter as Tyler Vukovcan hit Illawarra’s only shots from the field in the opening 10 minutes of play.

Penrith continued to push the lead out in the early stages of the second quarter as Creanor opened the term with a three before Chloe Bloom and Abbi Williams found their way to the free throw line and converted their opportunities. Mercifully for Illawarra, the shots began to fall later in the second term. Claudia Flynn and Ebony Petre managed to put some points on the board for the visitors and when Maddison Delaney knocked down a three in the final minute of the term, the Panthers’ margin had been trimmed to five. Creanor added two late free throws to move Penrith’s halftime lead to 31-24, but it could have been so much worse for the Hawks, who were down by 15 less than six minutes earlier.

Dominika Offner opened the third quarter with five points for Penrith, and quickly the margin was back into double figures. Flynn and Abby Cartwright managed to add some points for Illawarra, but Bloom and Perlita Fotu-Plaza helped Penrith compile their largest lead of the game at 46-30 with 90 seconds to play in the third quarter. A late basket to Petre brought that back to 46-32, but Illawarra were still in a fairly deep hole going into the final quarter.

However, the understrength Hawks rallied once again. With Penrith able to add just a solitary point to their total in the first five minutes of the fourth, Maddison Delaney’s three-point shooting combined with assistance from Flynn, Petre, and Soriah Vos saw the game poised for a thrilling finish at 47-44 in Penrith’s favour with just under five minutes to play.

With their lead in danger of evaporating completely, Penrith called a timeout which proved to be a stroke of genius. The defending champions broke off a 9-0 courtesy of scoring from Bloom, Creanor, and Williams to move 12 points clear with less than two minutes to play. A quick 5-0 run from Illawarra could have made things dicey in the final minute, but Creanor capped an impressive performance with a three to take the score to 59-49 with 45 seconds to play. Vukovcan added a couple more points for Illawarra, but it was too little, too late and Penrith emerged 61-52 victors.

Sarah Creanor led all scorers with 19 points, and was backed up superbly by Chloe Bloom, Abbi Williams, and Dominika Offner. Bloom tallied 13 points, Williams added 12, and Offner registered an even 10 in the win. Claudia Flynn was Illawarra’s best with 15 points, with Maddison Delaney’s three pointers helping her to 13 points, and Tyler Vukovcan added 10 for the Hawks.

Hornsby 106 defeated Bankstown 70

Hornsby struggled to break free of Bankstown in the early stages, but once they did, they well and truly bolted away to register a comprehensive 36 point win in which six Spiders players registered double figures.

The Bankstown “Big Three” of Georgia Gale, Sabrina Zenatti, and Tasmyn Haynes opened the game with some solid early scoring, but NSW Under 20s representative Jess Sancataldo was simply a class above in the opening stages. Sancataldo notched 11 points in the first 7 minutes of the contest as Hornsby opened up a slight lead. Despite Bankstown’s best efforts, some late scoring from Kristina Moore ensured Hornsby would take a 26-16 lead into the second quarter.

However, the Spiders were unable to really increase this lead by any kind of noticeable amount in the second term. Again, Haynes, Gale, and Zenatti were the scoring leaders for Bankstown, and between them they ensured the Spiders would not blow the Bruins out by halftime. Sarah Crisafulli opened the quarter with four points for Hornsby, and Moore again dropped in a couple of late baskets, but at halftime the margin had grown by just one point to 43-32 in the home side’s favour.

The third quarter was a different beast altogether. Moore and Crisafulli continued to rack up points, whilst Sancataldo returned to scoring form with six points late in the term. Serena Waters also added some late points to keep her own tally ticking over, and despite Zenatti adding a number of baskets for Bankstown, Hornsby’s lead exploded to 73-51 with a quarter to play.

The fourth quarter continued much in the same vein as Hornsby put their foot on Bankstown’s collective throat. Waters and Sancataldo opened up the quarter with some early points, before young Amy Laws enjoyed a remarkable 10 point fourth quarter after not scoring for the first 32 minutes of the game. Moore continued to keep her total growing, before Madeline Suprain and Piper Duck rounded out an outstanding team performance with points late in the game. In the end, it was the Spiders’ depth that proved the difference. Three players – Gale, Zenatti, and Haynes – accounted for all bar 12 of Bankstown’s points, whereas Hornsby finished with six players in double figures.

Of those six, Jess Sancataldo led the way with 25 points, whilst Kristina Moore followed up her 22 point effort in the earlier Championship game with 23 points here. Serena Waters added 13 and Piper Duck tallied 12, whilst Sarah Crisafulli and Amy Laws added 10 apiece in the rout. Georgia Gale was Bankstown’s best to tally 20 points. Tasmyn Haynes added 19 for the Bruins, whilst Sabrina Zenatti added 16 as the trio did everything they could to keep Bankstown in the hunt.

Norths 72 defeated Sutherland 45

With Manly losing earlier in the day, Norths had the opportunity to put some real pressure on the second-placed Sea Eagles with a win over Sutherland, and that is exactly what the Bears produced in a comprehensive 27 point victory.

With 11 first quarter points, Eastern Illinois commit Lana Marov was the undoubted spark plug for the Norths’ offence in the early stages. Two three pointers within 90 seconds of the opening tip put the Bears on the front foot before Ali Burke added some quick points as Norths set about asserting their dominance on their home floor. With the Sutherland offence unable to get anything of note going, Norths were able to pull away to a 20-6 lead by the end of the first quarter.

The Norths’ offence was not quite as hot in the second quarter, whilst Sutherland managed to improve their scoring after a lacklustre opening term. Maddy Norris opened her scoring midway through the term and quickly added a much-needed seven points for the Sharks as the visitors managed to keep the margin relatively steady for much of the term. Some late scoring from Geena Valos looked as if it may have pushed Norths out to an almost game-winning lead, but Norris quickly hit back to ensure Sutherland were within 14 at halftime with the scoreboard reading 32-18 in Norths’ favour.

If the halftime margin wasn’t at a game-winning level, it certainly was by the end of the third quarter. An eight point third quarter from Milly Yates led the Norths scoring, and despite the continued scoring output of Norris, Sutherland were unable to hold Norths. Marov also added five more points for the Bears as the lead swelled to 50-29 with ten minutes to play.

Norris and Hannah Clinen did what they could in the final term, but the game well and truly belonged to Norths even before the players returned to the court for the fourth quarter. Burke, Yates, and Alysha Skerritt added to the Norths lead, which swelled to 27 by the end of the game as the home side emerged 72-47 victors.

Despite being on the losing side, Maddy Norris led all scorers with 19 points for Sutherland. However, Norris was the Sharks’ only player in double figures, with Gabby Turnbull and Hannah Clinen’s 8 point returns being the team’s next best. Lana Marov’s 11 point first quarter proved to be the major component of her 16 point outing, which led all Norths scorers. Milly Yates tallied 14, whilst Ali Burke added 9 in the Bears’ victory.

Liverpool-Macarthur 44 lost to Penrith 80

Penrith turned a good weekend into a great weekend, making it two wins from two games with a 36 point rout of Liverpool-Macarthur which solidified the Panthers’ position in the finals.

Fresh off a pair of wins in Canberra with the Sydney Uni Sparks, Natalia Beaumont opened the game with Penrith’s first four points before Dominka Offner added five of her own as Penrith began to build a lead. Reprising her role from the day before, Sarah Creanor emerged as the most potent scoring threat for Penrith in the early stages, dropping 8 points in the last 90 seconds of the first quarter to establish a 20-11 lead for the Panthers after ten minutes of action.

Despite some solid outside shooting from Taylor Muaulu, the Panthers continued to build their advantage in the second quarter. Creanor continued to build her personal tally, and received scoring help from just about every Penrith player that touched the ball in the second quarter as the lead continued to snowball. By the time the halftime buzzer had sounded, Penrith’s lead had more than doubled to 39-20, with the visitors showing no signs of slowing down.

Rayan Danine added some early third quarter points for Liverpool-Macarthur, but Penrith were unfazed. Kay Phillips and Abbi Williams added another dimension to the Panthers’ offence by showcasing their offensive prowess in the third term, whilst Creanor continued to enjoy another day out as her scoring continued. A late Muaulu three trimmed the Penrith lead, but the disparity remained between the two teams at 57-34 with a quarter to play.

Offner opened up the final term with a three before Creanor and Beaumont added some late scoring to ensure a dominant Penrith victory. Meg Creanor also tallied a couple of late baskets to finish a solid performance as the Panthers ran out 80-44 victors in a dominant performance.

Sarah Creanor’s 22 points led Penrith for a second time this weekend, with Dominika Offner adding 14. Natalia Beaumont tallied 12 for the Panthers, whilst Kay Phillips added 9. Taylor Muaulu was Liverpool-Macarthur’s only player in double figures with 15, whilst Rayan Danine added 9.

Weekly Scoring Leaders

Cassidy McLean (Newcastle) – 29 points v Hills
Sherrie Calleia (Hills) – 26 points v Newcastle
Jess Sancataldo (Hornsby) – 25 points v Bankstown
Kristina Moore (Hornsby) – 23 points v Bankstown
Sarah Creanor (Penrith) – 22 points v Liverpool-Macarthur

Waratah Championship Week 10 Roundup

Three blowouts and a thriller would be the best way to describe this week’s action. However, that thriller saw Illawarra pick up their first win of the season, and the blowouts only served to make the race for the finals more interesting.

Hornsby 77 defeated Bankstown 57

Kristina Moore was a class above for Hornsby as the young starlet led the Spiders to a comprehensive 20 point win over Bankstown.

Moore and Darneka Rowe led the offensive assault from the home side in the early stages, but Bankstown came to the Brickpit more than ready to put up a fight. The Bruins took a 4 point lead midway through the opening term courtesy of a pair of threes from former WNBL player Casey Samuels, but Serena Waters finished the quarter with four points in four seconds to put Hornsby up 17-14 after the opening term despite some early foul trouble for star forward Rachel Maenpaa.

Moore scored the first five points for Hornsby in the second quarter as a trend began to emerge. The Spiders moved five points clear at 24-19 before Waters drew a foul on Samuels. The foul was Samuels’ third, and with the Bruins’ star off the court, the game swung even further in Hornsby’s favour. The same Hornsby trio that led the scoring in the opening term continued the assault throughout the second quarter and delivered a double-figure lead for the home side by halftime. A 19-10 quarter in Hornsby’s favour saw the Spiders take a 36-25 lead into the locker room, with the home side in position to really break the game wide open in the second half.

As it happens, that is exactly what occurred in the third quarter. Moore and Rowe continued their outstanding days on the offensive end, and with the Hornsby defence stifling a Bankstown side already hindered by foul trouble, the Spiders continued their march to a 10th straight win. Extending their lead to 18 points by the midway point of the quarter, Hornsby were able to hammer nail after nail into the Bruins’ coffin as the margin blew out to 61-39 with a quarter to play.

As the Spiders gave some of their lesser used players a run in the fourth quarter, the game maintained some sense of equilibrium as the margin hovered around the 20 point mark for the final ten minutes. Samuels was able to add some late points to her tally before committing her fifth and final foul late in the contest, but that had little impact on the contest as Hornsby completed a 77-57 victory to move within one win of mathematically securing a finals berth.

Kristina Moore finished an outstanding game with 24 points and 8 rebounds. Darneka Rowe was also excellent to tally 19 points and 8 rebounds. Serena Waters added 10 points, whilst Alicia Poto came close to yet another double-double, finishing with 11 rebounds and 9 assists to go alongside 6 points. Casey Samuels was Bankstown’s only player to finish in double figures, with 22 points, whilst Marjy Grealish was outstanding on the boards to finish with a game-high 12 rebounds.

Box Score

Newcastle 80 defeated Hills 51

Suzy Batkovic ended her stint at her hometown club with a barnstorming performance as Newcastle ran out comprehensive victors over a valiant Hills side.

The Hunters opened the game on a 13-2 run and never really looked back from there. All five of the home team’s starters tallied points in the first five minutes of the contest as Newcastle set about asserting their dominance in the early stages. Madison Hare was solid for Hills in the early stages, tallying five early points whilst Emma Claus added four as the first quarter ended 22-11 in Newcastle’s favour.

Newcastle stars Batkovic and Cassidy McLean kept things ticking over nicely for Newcastle as the home side continued to extend their margin. Claus, Hare, and Sherrie Calleia helped Hills add 17 points in the second quarter, which in a lot of Waratah League games is a fairly healthy number. However, Newcastle piled on 29 for the term as a number of players provided scoring help to see the Hunters lead 51-28 at halftime.

Things slowed down markedly on the offensive end after halftime, particularly for the home side, although Batkovic continued to dominate in the paint for the Hunters. The five-time WNBL MVP added six of Newcastle’s 19 points for the quarter, with McLean, Cherub Lum, and Kelsey Moss chipping in to extend Newcastle’s margin. Hills were able to hang with the Hunters for the majority of the term, tallying 15 points for the term. However, the Hunters’ margin swelled to 70-43 with a quarter to play.

As the rain lashed down outside, play continued into the fourth quarter. Hare and Calleia each knocked down an early three for Hills, whilst four players combined for ten early points for Newcastle. With five minutes to go, there was a slight delay in proceedings and although the game was able to proceed again shortly after, with the score at 80-51, it was decided by both teams to call the game at this point with the result clearly already decided.

Batkovic led all scorers with 30 points, and also collected 13 rebounds to finish with yet another double-double. Cassidy McLean finished with 16 points, 5 assists, and an incredible 7 steals in an exemplary performance at point guard. Alison Ebzery almost notched a double-double, finishing with 8 points and 9 assists. Madison Hare top scored for Hills with 19 points, with Sherrie Calleia tallying 13 points as the pair finished as Hills’ only double-figure scorers. Emma Claus had an excellent night on the boards to finish with 11 rebounds for the Hornets.

Box Score

Note (5/6/17): It was originally stated in this piece, after talking to players, that this game ended early due to a roof leak. Newcastle Basketball have since released an official statement that this was not the case. Sincere apologies for casting aspersions on the watertightness of Broadmeadow Basketball Stadium’s roof.

Norths 76 defeated Sutherland 52

A tight first quarter gave way to a sterling defensive effort from Norths in the second quarter as the Bears rolled to a 24 point victory which keeps them right on Hornsby’s tail in the chase for top spot.

A slow start for both sides saw the scoreline read 2-2 after three minutes, and a low-scoring game appeared to be on the cards. Mercifully, the scoring improved throughout the rest of the quarter. Bree Delaney’s trio of three-pointers was the highlight for Norths and accounted for almost half of the team’s 19 first quarter points. Sutherland found their points from a number of options, but trailed 19-15 after ten minutes of play.

The Sharks could have used that some offensive output in the second quarter, but instead the visitors were stifled at every turn for most of the second quarter. Things were looking good for Sutherland when they scored the first seven points of the term, but from there, Norths owned the play. Jaimee Kennedy returned with a vengeance after missing last week’s game against Hills, before the backcourt pairing of Kallie Hovatter and Kate Seebohm finished off a comprehensive 14-0 run to end the quarter which put Norths up 33-22 at halftime.

Hovatter extended that run to 16-0 with the opening basket of the third quarter, but things became quite more even in the minutes that followed. Razzearne Muir scored the next six points from Norths to counter Sutherland’s frontcourt scoring from Peta Kneen, Jane Scrivens, and Rachel Herrick, before Eleni Valos knocked down a three for the Bears to push the margin out to 44-31. Young gun Maddy Norris did her best to trim the lead with five quick points, but Hovatter and Muir ensured that Norths would hold on to a significant 54-38 lead going into the final term.

With depth in spades, Norths’ progress to victory could not be slowed in the final quarter. Muffi Loader scored a remarkable 12 points in the final term to all but cover Sutherland’s 14 points for the term, with the former Portland State guard showcasing an exemplary performance in the final period. Despite the best efforts of Rachel Herrick, the Bears were too much for the Sharks on the night, and the home side finished 76-52 victors to move to 7-1.

Loader’s outstanding last quarter effort saw her end the game as equal top-scorer for Norths with Razzearne Muir, with both players finishing with 12 points. Muir also collected 6 rebounds in a solid two-way effort. Kallie Hovatter, Bree Delaney, and Jaimee Kennedy all scored 11 points, with Hovatter’s five steals for the game also a highlight. Tristan Black was a menace on the glass as per usual, collecting an impressive 13 rebounds, whilst Kate Seebohm was solid in all facets to finish with 8 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds.

Rachel Herrick led all scorers with 15 points for Sutherland, and finished with 6 rebounds. Peta Kneen added 11 points, whilst Jane Scrivens was excellent at both ends to finish with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Box Score

Illawarra 61 defeated Comets 59

In what has been a trying season, Illawarra once again faced adversity with the newly arrived Georgia Ohrdorf out for Saturday’s game against Comets. However, the Kittyhawks rallied around each other and secured a thrilling win in a game that wasn’t decided until the final seconds.

Playing with a short bench, the visitors needed to open the game well to stand a chance of victory, and did exactly that. Despite conceding the first four points of the game, Illawarra quickly established a lead of their own through Paige Phillips and Eleri Morris before Olivia White put the home side to the sword in the back end of the opening term. The Kittyhawks forward scored 7 points in the quarter as Illawarra opened up a 24-15 lead which would have been even larger if not for the play of young Comets star Serika Shillingsworth.

Comets were able to flip the script in the second quarter. The home side trimmed the margin to six on the back of scoring from Samantha Hewitt, Jaimee Cohen, and Stephanie Perch. White quickly hit back with four quick points to move Illawarra out to a ten point lead, but a late run fuelled by a number of trips to the free throw line brought Comets right back into the contest. Shillingsworth found her way to the basket late in the quarter, and the half ended with the game on a knife-edge at 35-33 in Illawarra’s favour.

Having dressed just seven players for the game, it would have been understandable if Illawarra faded in the second half. However, coach John Hargreaves rotated his players intelligently and ensured that the minutes were spread across the team with little impact on the team’s performance. With that said, early in the quarter it looked as if Comets may generate some momentum as three pointers to Perch and Hewitt handed the home side a 39-35 lead after three minutes of play in a low-scoring start to the quarter. Illawarra clawed back their lead with a pair of free throws to White followed by a Sparks three, but Shillingsworth returned fire with a three of her own as the teams traded the lead. Morris and Shillingsworth traded baskets before a late Paige Blanton basket gave Illawarra a crucial 50-47 lead with a quarter of basketball to play.

A low-scoring start to the final quarter saw Eleri Morris hit the first basket of the term nearly three minutes in. It would be another two minutes before Lauren Sparks hit a jumper to put Illawarra up 54-47 and within touching distance of their first win of the season. However, it was never going to be that easy. Tatyanna Pogonza-Dumas hit a couple of baskets and with 2 minutes to go the scoreboard read 56-53 in the visitors’ favour.

Sparks and Shillingsworth hit threes within the space of 13 seconds as the final minute commenced. Sparks had another three point opportunity, but missed and Comets grabbed the rebound and called a timeout. Out of the timeout, Shillingsworth drove to the basket to put the home side within a point at 59-58 with 11 seconds remaining. Illawarra took a timeout and Lauren Sparks was immediately fouled on the inbounds pass following the timeout. The Sydney Uni Flames guard was clutch at the line to move Illawarra ahead 61-58.

Shillingsworth attempted a three in the dying seconds, but Tiarna Porter caught just enough of the ball to prevent the shot having any chance of being successful. Rachel Harris committed a foul in the rebounding contest, sending Hewitt to the line. Hewitt hit the first before intentionally missing the second, but a Comets player committed a lane violation attempting to grab the rebound. But with just 0.2 seconds on the clock, it made little difference as Illawarra survived to grab their first win of the season, 61-59.

Two Illawarra players finished with double-doubles in the win. Olivia White top scored with 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, whilst Eleri Morris registered 11 points and 12 boards in an outstanding performance. Lauren Sparks played a solid captain’s knock with 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. Serika Shillingsworth led Comets with 20 points and 5 rebounds, whilst Samantha Hewitt added 14 points and 9 rebounds.

Box Score

Weekly Scoring Leaders

Suzy Batkovic (Newcastle) – 30 points v Hills
Kristina Moore (Hornsby) – 24 points v Bankstown
Casey Samuels (Bankstown) – 22 points v Hornsby
Serika Shillingsworth (Comets) – 20 points v Illawarra
Olivia White (Illawarra) – 20 points v Comets

At The Turn: Hornsby Ku-Ring-Gai Spiders

As each Waratah Championship team reaches the halfway mark of their season, Sky Blue Hoops will take a look at their campaign to this point and their chances going forward. In this piece, we focus on the Hornsby Ku-Ring-Gai Spiders, who are sitting pretty on top of the table – with a big, round zero in the loss column!

After a generally solid 2016 season that saw the Spiders come within a last-second Jaimee Kennedy shot that bounced away of making the grand final, Hornsby suffered a bit of an exodus in both the playing and coaching ranks coming into the 2017 season. Coach Shannon Seebohm made the shift down the Pacific Highway to become the head coach at Norths, taking with him several players, including Kate Seebohm, Jaimee Kennedy, Tristan Black, Muffi Loader, and Alessandra Burke. Fortunately, the Spiders managed to recruit well under new head coach Sarah Graham, and have once again put together a side that can challenge for the team’s first title since 2014, and have started in outstanding fashion.

With former Albury-Wodonga forward Rachel Maenpaa and 2004 Olympian Alicia Poto joining the team, the roster shaped up pretty decently considering the number of player losses. Core players such as Olivia Sheehan and Darneka Rowe remain with the team, and young players such as Kristina Moore, Tylah Mundine, Rebecca Black, and Nicole Hutchins have stepped up at various moments. Whilst the path so far hasn’t been 100% smooth, the Spiders remain the sole undefeated team at this point courtesy of a 65-62 win over Norths at the weekend.

Eight wins in a row is no mean feat, and the Spiders have done it the hard way at times. Somehow they escaped Newcastle with a win after allowing the defending champions to open up an 18 point lead in a game that saw both Cassidy McLean and Suzy Batkovic on the court for the Hunters. In that game, a well-rounded team performance saw Alicia Poto, Darneka Rowe, Olivia Sheehan, and young Serena Waters all finish in double figures to counter Suzy Batkovic’s outstanding individual effort. Then there was last week’s win over Norths. Hornsby allowed the Bears 85 field goal attempts in comparison to their comparatively paltry 63 attempts, but shooting accuracy was the difference as the Spiders got away with the win. The Spiders also just snuck home against Sutherland in an 84-82 thriller that at times also looked to have got away from the Hornsby side. Whilst their five other wins have come by an average margin of 24 points, it is those three close victories that have Hornsby in prime position to not only make the finals, but finish top of the table.

This weekend, the Spiders host a Newcastle side that will be hungry for revenge after throwing away certain victory in the last meeting between the two sides. The Hunters also need to keep winning just to keep their finals hopes alive, so the Spiders will need to be at the top of their game to secure a win. Making finals seems a mere formality at this point, but the Spiders will need to play outstandingly for the remainder of the season to secure top spot, as Norths’ only loss this season came in last week’s game against the Spiders. They won’t be able to rely on 18 point comebacks and opposition teams shooting 29%, as has happened in two of their close wins.

Whilst the experienced of quartet of Maenpaa, Poto, Rowe, and Sheehan lead the team in scoring, Kristina Moore has been one of the most outstanding young players in the league. Moore averages 10.4 points per game, and has justifiably cemented a starting berth for herself in the Spiders’ lineup. With these five players all in solid form, and a young but talented bench chipping in with the occasional outstanding effort when required, things are looking pretty rosy for the Spiders as they look to make the last eight games of the regular season as successful as the first eight.

Waratah Championship Week 8 Roundup

Just the three games in the Waratah Championship this week, but there was plenty of action. Illawarra showed vast improvement upon the return of key pieces, and the battle of the undefeated teams between Norths and Hornsby went right down to the wire.

Illawarra 64 lost to Sutherland 73

Lauren Sparks and Rachel Harris returned to the team, and Georgia Ohrdorf came into the Hawks side on her return from college, but the continued absence of Olivia White stung Illawarra in a loss to Sutherland.

As expected, Sutherland opened up an early lead. Illawarra had kept things tight in the opening moments, but the Sharks exhibited their class in the back half of the opening quarter. A 17-4 run, led by six points from Lisa Watkins, delivered the visitors a 24-12 lead after the first period of play.

Sutherland extended their lead in the second quarter, but not before Illawarra had trimmed the margin to 26-23 courtesy of six consecutive points from young starlet Eleri Morris. But once again, Sutherland delivered an extended run of scoring in the second half of the quarter. Peta Kneen was chief destroyer for the Sharks as they ended the half on an 18-4 run which mirrored the first quarter. By the end of the term, the Sharks’ lead was 44-27 and the game had seemed to have gotten away from the Hawks.

Despite the margin, Georgia Ohrdorf was outstanding throughout the third quarter. Despite landing in the country mere hours earlier, Ohrdorf added 10 points in the third term to exhibit the skill set that she has developed in her years at Metro State University in Denver. Despite Ohrdorf’s heroics, Sutherland held a 59-43 lead with a quarter to play.

Ohrdorf continued to shine as the Hawks chipped into the Sharks’ lead throughout the fourth quarter. With Tiarna Porter also chipping in at times, Illawarra narrowed the margin, but not quite fast enough. Whilst the home side were able to trim the lead to 68-62, this came with just 36 seconds to play. Peta Kneen added a pair from the line to push Sutherland ahead 70-62, which iced the game for Sutherland before some late scoring at either end saw the final score read 73-64 in Sutherland’s favour.

Despite the loss and the jetlag, Georgia Ohrdorf was outstanding with a 28 point, 6 rebound effort in her return to Illawarra. Tiarna Porter was outstanding in support with 16 points and 11 rebounds to complete a double-double. Lauren Sparks also delivered 11 assists for the Hawks. Peta Kneen was again excellent for Sutherland, registering 27 points and 9 rebounds to lead her team. Lisa Watkins was outstanding in the backcourt, finishing with 19 points on 70% field goal shooting, whilst Clare Thomson almost completed a double-double with 9 points and 9 rebounds.

Box Score

Norths 62 lost to Hornsby 65

The battle of the undefeated teams may not have been overflowing with quality scoring, but it was certainly a tussle until the final buzzer as Hornsby escaped the Bear Cave with a win.

A scrappy start to the game saw neither team able to get on the board until Kate Seebohm’s three after 2:36 of play opened Norths’ account. Kristina Moore and Razzearne Muir added a basket for either side, but when Darneka Rowe converted a pair of free throws with 4:12 to play in the opening term, the score was still just 5-4 in Norths’ favour. Fortunately, the end of the quarter brought a little more scoring, with Nicole Hutchins’ basket with 35 seconds to play handing Hornsby a 12-11 lead to end the term.

Hornsby’s young stars led the scoring in the early stages of the second quarter. Four points each for Nicole Hutchins and Serena Waters, plus a basket from Kristina Moore, saw Youth League players responsible for the first 10 points of the quarter for the Spiders. On Norths’ side, it was Kate Cranney and Kate Seebohm hitting shots with aplomb. Rebecca Black finished the quarter strongly for Hornsby to allow the Spiders to maintain their lead until halftime, with the visitors holding a 30-26 advantage as the teams headed to the locker rooms.

Youth made way for experience in the third quarter for Hornsby as Rachel Maenpaa and Alicia Poto did the bulk of the scoring as the Spiders opened the half on a 14-0 run. A three point barrage from Kallie Hovatter and Bree Delaney helped trim the margin back to 49-44, but the Bears would need the shots to keep falling after a generally poor night shooting before Hovatter and Delaney got the team back on track. As it was, neither team had much luck scoring in the final couple of minutes of the quarter. Moore and Cranney added two points for each side, and the five point margin remained intact at 51-46 with ten minutes to play.

Cranney opened the final term with a pair of baskets, and when Muffi Loader found her way to the basket, Norths had not only reduced Hornsby’s lead, they had taken one of their own at 52-51 with 8:06 to play. Rachel Maenpaa quickly restored Hornsby’s advantage, before Darneka Rowe pushed the margin back out to 56-52 with a three pointer. However, as the game progressed, it became clear that neither team was going to win this by a large margin. Cranney hit a jumper and Jaimee Kennedy knocked down a pair of free throws to tie things up at 56-56, but Moore gave Hornsby a 58-56 lead with 5:26 to play. Maenpaa hit two consecutive baskets which appeared to give Hornsby a bit of breathing room at 62-56, but Hovatter hit back on Norths’ next possession to trim the margin to four with 2:48 to play.

Cranney hit a jumper with 1:53 to play, but Maenpaa found her way to the free throw line and converted a pair from the stripe. Norths had their chances to narrow the margin late on. Cranney twice split a pair at the line, but those two free throws were enough to have Norths within a basket with 30 seconds to play. Despite this, the Bears had to foul to stop the clock. Alicia Poto went to the line and split a pair of her own free throws to give Hornsby a 65-62 lead with 10 seconds to play.

Bree Delaney missed a three with six seconds to play, but Kennedy snared the offensive rebound and was fouled. Kennedy missed the first, but had to intentionally miss the second regardless to give Norths a chance at winning. She did so, and Norths grabbed the rebound, but Delaney’s final second three pointer was off target and Hornsby held on for the win.

A rounded scoring performance saw four Hornsby players finish in double figures. Kristina Moore and Rachel Maenpaa each tallied 14 points for the Spiders. Alicia Poto tallied an 11 point, 13 rebound double-double and also registered 7 assists, whilst Nicole Hutchins added 11 points of her own.

Kate Cranney was Norths’ top scorer with 18 points, and also picked up 8 rebounds. Kallie Hovatter added 13 points, whilst Kate Seebohm registered 11 points. However, despite managing 85 field goal attempts to Hornsby’s 63, Norths’ 29% shooting clip did their chances no favours.

Box Score

Comets 50 lost to Manly 62

Comets gave a solid account of themselves throughout the middle portion of the game, but a first quarter blitzkrieg from Manly set the Sea Eagles up for victory to further solidify their position in the top four.

Led by Rebecca Duke and Candice Trevenna, Manly scored the first 11 points of the game in just 129 seconds of game time to set themselves up for success from the outset. Maja Jurlina broke Manly’s run with a three, and although Comets were able to trim the margin to six through Serika Shillingsworth, late baskets to Jess Cullen and Fiona Sparks pushed Manly back out to a 22-11 lead after ten minutes of play.

Duke, Trevenna, and Kristen Forbes kept Manly’s score ticking over, but Tatyanna Pogonza-Dumas provided a real spark off the bench for Comets. Some quick points from the young star helped trim the margin to 32-28 but Kristen Forbes countered with two baskets of her own to push Manly back out to a 36-28 lead at halftime. However, Comets had trimmed the lead by three and the game was still in the balance after the first half.

The home side continued to show their fight in the third quarter, but unfortunately it only shone through after Duke had helped Manly establish a 16 point lead midway through the term. Somehow, at 49-33 down, something switched on in the Comets’ brains and the home side rattled off the last 10 points of the third quarter. A pair of baskets to Georgia Flanigan bookended the run and a game that had looked over just minutes earlier was now back in the balance.

However, Comets started the fourth quarter slowly and there are only so many times a team can charge back. Manly moved 13 points ahead early in the final term and an extended period of no scoring from either team worked in the Sea Eagles’ favour. Manly pushed ahead 62-49, and with a solitary Samantha Hewitt free throw the only point of the final two minutes, the visitors secured a 62-50 win.

Serika Shillingsworth led Comets with 13 points. Samantha Hewitt fell just shy of a double-double with 9 points and 10 rebounds, whilst Tatyanna Pogonza-Dumas collected 9 boards of her own. Kristen Forbes was outstanding for Manly with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Rebecca Duke added 16 points and 9 rebounds of her own, whilst Candice Trevenna added 11 points.

Box Score

Weekly Scoring Leaders

Georgia Ohrdorf (Illawarra) – 28 points v Sutherland
Peta Kneen (Sutherland) – 27 points v Illawarra
Kristen Forbes (Manly) – 22 points v Comets
Lisa Watkins (Sutherland) – 19 points v Illawarra
Kate Cranney (Norths) – 18 points v Hornsby

Youth League Week 10 Roundup

For the second time in three weeks we have seen a player drop 40 in Youth League as Tasmyn Haynes torched Liverpool-Macarthur in the second half. Elsewhere, Hornsby sprung an upset over Norths to strengthen their finals credentials.

Liverpool-Macarthur 85 lost to Bankstown 91

The points came thick and fast in this one as Liverpool-Macarthur came within striking distance of their second win of the season. However, Tasmyn Haynes ensured Bankstown would escape with the W.

The Razorbacks came out firing and opened up a 15-5 lead within the first five minutes of the contest. Despite a small mid-quarter run from Bankstown, Liverpool-Macarthur increased their lead in the back end of the opening term to see themselves up 27-14 after a quarter.

Bankstown hit back in the opening stages of the second quarter to move within four midway through the quarter, but a post-timeout three pointer for Biancia Carusio put the Razorbacks up 33-26. The home side would hold that lead until halftime, with Kimberley Sepuloni’s free throws right on halftime giving Liverpool-Macarthur a 44-36 lead as the teams headed to the locker rooms.

Despite the Razorbacks’ excellent first half, Tasmyn Haynes’ third quarter rendered the first twenty minutes of play a mere memory. Five points in the opening minute of the half were just the start of a positively mind-boggling 22 point quarter for Haynes as Bankstown won the third quarter 36-15 to completely flip the script heading into the final term.

The Razorbacks fought back, and by midway through the fourth quarter had trimmed the margin to a solitary point at 77-76 with 5 minutes to play. However, a 12-5 run for Bankstown gave the visitors enough of a cushion to ride out one last charge from Liverpool-Macarthur to secure a 91-85 win.

Tasmyn Haynes was beyond dominant for Bankstown, finishing with 40 points. Georgia Gale and Sabrina Zenatti each provided solid support with 12 points. Four players finished in double figures for Liverpool-Macarthur. Renee Muaulu top scored with 19 points, with Kimberley Sepuloni adding 18 of her own. Bianca Carusio tallied 15 for the home side, and Eloise Faalavaau registered 12.

Box Score

Illawarra 58 defeated Sutherland 56

Maddy Norris continued a remarkable scoring streak, but Illawarra managed to escape with a win in this rivalry matchup.

The match was a close one from the outset. Eleri Morris and Claudia Flynn helped Illawarra to an early six point lead, but it lasted mere seconds as Sutherland tied the game at 14-14 before Morris’ basket in the final minute restored Illawarra’s slender advantage. Five quick points from Brittany Clark to start the second quarter pushed Illawarra ahead by 7, before Flynn cancelled out five points from Sutherland to give the Hawks a healthy 30-20 lead with three minutes remaining in the half. Hannah Clinen and Maddy Norris trimmed that lead momentarily before Flynn knocked down a three to help Illawarra to a 33-25 lead at halftime.

As the third quarter progressed, it looked unlikely that Sutherland stood any chance of getting back into the game. A steady stream of points from Illawarra meant that the margin held steady despite Illawarra finding their way to the basket, before a Hawks’ surge in the final couple of minutes of the quarter saw the home side up 50-34 with a quarter to play.

Enter Maddy Norris. The Sutherland star had played a solid game to this point, but her fourth quarter was simply spectacular. With the Illawarra offence starting to stutter, Norris, backed up by Parrish Leavai and Meredith Hines, set about chipping away at the lead. Within three minutes, the lead was down to 9. When Leavai went to the line and converted a pair with three minutes to play, it was a two point game at 54-52. Clark managed to find the bottom of the basket with a minute to play, before Norris found her way to the line. The NSW Under 20s representative converted both, and then tied the game at 56-56 with 19 seconds to play. A timeout ensued, and Eleri Morris restored Illawarra’s advantage with 13 seconds remaining. Yet another timeout followed, but Sutherland were unable to find the winning basket on the final play of the game, and Illawarra had somehow escaped a fourth quarter implosion with a win.

Norris continued her outstanding season with another 29 points, whilst Parrish Leavai added 10 for the Sharks. Claudia Flynn was excellent for Illawarra with 20 points. Eleri Morris added 16 points, including the game-winner, and Brittany Clark tallied 13 for the Hawks.

Box Score

Central Coast 64 defeated Hills 49

With both sides missing a player to SEABL commitments, this game more or less went according to the script as Central Coast came away with a comfortable win after a tight first half.

Despite missing Charlie Evans, Central Coast were bolstered by the return of Taylor Ferris from college, who hit an early three pointer to give the Crusaders an early 9-4 lead. However, Zoe Burke was lightning in the first quarter for Hills, with her six points keeping the visitors in touch. Despite this, two late baskets from Shakera Reilly pushed the Crusaders’ lead to 21-12 after one quarter of play.

Burke continued to lead Hills with five more points early in the second quarter, and by late in the second quarter the margin was just three as Central Coast’s offence failed to get much going. Scoring just 8 points in the quarter, the Crusaders had allowed Hills right back into the contest at a point where they should have been consolidating their lead.

Central Coast re-established their margin early in the third quarter, and it all came from Losalini Katia. The FIBA Oceania Under 18s all-star scored the first eight points of the second half to move the Crusaders 13 points ahead and break the game wide open. Shakera Reilly continued to add points at regular intervals, and Alessandra Gasparotto chipped in with four points in quick time as Central Coast pushed the lead to 16 points by the end of the third term, aided by Lucy Chapman’s two late three pointers.

Any notions of a Hills comeback were quickly put to bed as the visitors could only add five points in the first four minutes of the final term. Whilst the Crusaders’ offence wasn’t exactly lighting it up, they didn’t need to with Hills unable to eat into the lead. Gasparotto added two pairs of late free throws to put the icing a 64-49 win for Central Coast to keep the side atop the table.

Chapman led Central Coast with 12 points, whilst Shakera Reilly added 11. Losalini Katia and Alessandra Gasparotto each finished with 10, whilst Taylor Ferris added 9 in her return to the team. Zoe Burke was Hills’ only player in double figures, finishing with 14 points.

Box Score

Norths 66 lost to Hornsby 81

Hornsby roared back into finals contention on the back of an upset win over Norths, who sit a game back from top spot.

The first quarter was high scoring but tight for the most part. Tylah Mundine and Serena Waters established an early advantage for Hornsby, but Alessandra Burke hit a couple of quick baskets to swing the game in Norths’ favour. The teams remained within a couple of points until some baskets in quick succession for Nicole Hutchins allowed the Spiders to open up a 26-20 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Mundine opened the second quarter with a three pointer, but a pair of treys from Charlotte Gorman all but eliminated Hornsby’s lead, with the scoreboard reading 31-30 in the Spiders’ favour after 4 minutes of the second term. Mundine and Kristina Moore helped to restore the Spiders’ advantage, eventually building a 44-34 lead by halftime to hold a handy advantage.

Burke and Carla Liebenberg put a dent in the Hornsby lead early in the third term, but soon enough the Spiders were able to push further ahead. Mundine and Moore continued their excellent outings,  extending Hornsby’s lead to 16. However, as quickly as the lead was pushed out, Norths reeled the Spiders back in. Katerina Diamant hit a couple of shots, and Milly Yates ended the quarter with a basket that saw Hornsby’s lead trimmed to 62-55 with 10 minutes to play.

Hornsby started the final term the better of the two teams, but Norths’ fighting spirit saw them remain within 8 points with five minutes to play. Unfortunately for the Bears, that would be the closest they would get. The Spiders closed the game out with an emphatic 11-4 run which put the game to bed and sealed an 81-66 victory.

Tylah Mundine led Hornsby with an outstanding 24 points. Kristina Moore was also solid with 17, and Serena Waters added 11 for the Spiders. Alessandra Burke top scored for Norths with 14 points, whilst Zara Olsen added 13 and Katerina Diamant tallied 9 for the Bears.

Box Score

Weekly Scoring Leaders:

Tasmyn Haynes (Bankstown) – 40 points v Liverpool-Macarthur
Madeleine Norris (Sutherland) – 29 points v Illawarra
Tylah Mundine (Hornsby) – 24 points v Norths
Claudia Flynn (Illawarra) – 20 points v Sutherland
Renee Muaulu (Liverpool-Macarthur) – 19 points v Bankstown

Youth League Week 7 Roundup

Maddy Della Franca was the hero for Hornsby on Saturday, whilst Central Coast continued their outstanding start to the season.

Illawarra 60 lost to Hornsby 62

In what was no doubt one of the games of the season, Hornsby looked destined for victory before Illawarra came storming back to set up a frantic last couple of minutes which culminated in a dramatic finish.

The teams traded baskets in a cagey start to the game, with Illawarra scoring the final four points of the first quarter to take a 12-10 lead into the second term. With points tough to come by, both teams looked to a variety of options for their scoring. Eleri Morris and Paige Phillips each hit baskets in quick succession to put Illawarra up by five, but Hornsby quickly fired back through Piper Duck and Madeline Suprain to lead 24-22 at halftime.

Paige Phillips and Tylah Mundine scored five points apiece to start the third as the game remained incredibly tight. However, despite neither team opening up a meaningful lead for the entire game to that point, Hornsby suddenly exploded with a 7-0 run to finish the third quarter courtesy of five points from Maddy Della Franca and a late basket from youngster Amy Laws to lead 41-34 with ten minutes to play.

Illawarra hit back in the early stages of the fourth quarter, taking a 46-45 lead just three minutes into the fourth quarter. Hornsby were able to regain the lead on a Tylah Mundine three-pointer, before Illawarra managed to take a lead and extend the margin to 60-55 with 48 seconds to play as Soriah Vos and Eleri Morris managed to find the bottom of the basket. Four free throws from Tylah Mundine in the space of 26 seconds put the Spiders within a point, and from there, everything went a little bit crazy.

With just 13 seconds remaining, Illawarra were up 60-59 and inbounding the ball in their own offensive half. Enter Maddy Della Franca for Hornsby. Picking off the inbounds pass, Della Franca managed to draw the foul on the way up and finish from a tough angle to put the Spiders up 61-60. One of Hornsby’s best on the day, Della Franca then stepped up to complete the and-one and force Illawarra into a final decision – go for the three to win, or try to take the game to overtime? The options looked simple enough – either Paige Phillips for three, or Eleri Morris driving to the basket for the lay-up. In the end, Illawarra had looks at both. Out of the timeout, Phillips was the initial option, but the Hornsby defence jammed up on the Illawarra star and forced her to hand the ball off to Morris. Morris found a seam and drove to the hoop, but her release was a fraction of a second late, and Hornsby held on for a 62-60 win with Morris’ attempted lay-up coming off the front of the rim in any case.

A pair of quick scoring streaks comprised the majority of Tylah Mundine’s 14 points which led the Spiders’ scoring. Maddy Della Franca tallied 12 points including the game winning basket. Piper Duck added 11, whilst Serena Waters registered 10 points whilst running the team from the point outstandingly. Eleri Morris and Paige Phillips were each outstanding for Illawarra, scoring 17 and 15 points respectively.

Box Score

Newcastle 54 defeated Manly 50

Newcastle opened up an early lead, but Manly were undeterred and stormed home to almost snatch victory before the Hunters managed to secure the win.

The Hunters started well, but Manly hung with the home side well enough in the early stages to remain just six points in arrears at 16-10 down after a quarter. However, a 7-0 run to open the second quarter established a 13 point lead for the home side and suddenly Manly were in a bit of early trouble. But Rachel Duncan, Kimberley Hodge, and Katelyn Castle stepped up for the Sea Eagles and shortly after halftime the margin was back to 27-26 and the game was on a knife-edge.

Another Manly run a few minutes later saw Castle and Hodge again involved heavily as the Sea Eagles took a 38-33 lead, but with Alison Ebzery and Cassidy McLean firing, the Hunters kept themselves firmly in the contest throughout.

Lauryn Walker opened the final quarter scoring to put the Sea Eagles up 44-38, but that only seemed to spark the Newcastle team. A spectacular 15-1 run put the home side up 53-45 with 90 seconds to play, and whilst Manly found late scoring from Hodge and Castle, it was too little, too late as the Hunters held on for a 54-50 win.

Alison Ebzery and Cassidy McLean led Newcastle with 16 and 14 points respectively, with each getting baskets at vital times throughout the game to lead the home side to victory. Katelyn Castle was Manly’s top scorer with 14 points, whilst Kimberley Hodge notched 10 points.

Box Score

Penrith 46 lost to Hills 53

The defending champions’ early season struggles continued as the Panthers dropped to 3-4 on the back of a loss to Hills. The home side had their start to blame for the defeat, as a last quarter charge from 11 points down proved futile.

Hills came out of the blocks flying, with Madison Hare’s three-pointer to open the scoring a window into what would come. The Hornets found scoring from a number of players and soon pushed the lead to double figures, leading 18-6 after a quarter and putting the Panthers in real trouble.

The Hornets’ charge continued into the second quarter, but Penrith were able to vastly improve their scoring. Although the margin grew to 36-20 by halftime, the efforts of players such as Natalia Beaumont ensured that the Panthers would not be completely blown out of the water by halftime.

Nine third quarter points from Beaumont led a charge from the Panthers that saw the home side head into the fourth quarter down 45-34 following an outstanding defensive effort. With the Hills side able to tally just 9 points in the third quarter, there was certainly a chance for Penrith to complete would have been a remarkable comeback.

However, when Hills scored the first 6 points of the fourth quarter, the game looked done and dusted at 51-34 with six minutes to play. Enter Meg Jefferson, as well as Natalia and Tatiana Beaumont. The Panthers’ trio accounted for the next 12 points of the game to leave the game delicately poised at 51-46 with 2 minutes to play.

But suddenly, the scoring simply dried up. The only further points that would be scored were two free throws from Paris Roditis with 53 seconds to play, and Hills hung on for a 53-46 win that saw the Hornets leapfrog the Panthers in the standings.

Natalia Beaumont was the undoubted star of the game, scoring 23 of the Panthers’ points. Madison Hare top scored for Hills with 11, and Dijana Milisic added 10. The Hornets found substantial scoring from a lot more options than Penrith, with six players scoring six or more points. Conversely, Natalia Beaumont’s sister Tatiana was Penrith’s only other player to score more than five points.

Box Score

Norths 71 defeated Bankstown 46

Norths put Bankstown to the sword with a well-rounded team performance at the Bear Cave on Saturday night, moving to 4-2 for the season and staying in touch with the top teams with a 25 point win.

Milly Yates and Lana Marov were on fire early, helping Norths open up an insurmountable 22-2 lead after 9 minutes. A quick 6-0 run from Bankstown, thanks largely to Tasmyn Haynes, ended the opening quarter, but Norths were still well in control.

Ali Burke and Carla Liebenberg quickly reinstated the Bears’ 20 point margin, and whilst the home side did allow Bankstown another extended run of scoring to end the second quarter, Norths went into halftime up 38-18 and in cruise control. A slightly less frantic third quarter was far closer, with both teams only just reaching double figures as the Bears continued their march to victory.

The fourth quarter became slightly scrappy at times with both teams realising the result was obvious as Norths took a 20 point margin into the final term. However, the Bears were still able to add 19 points in the final term for a 71-46 win.

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Ali Burke stepped up having just played a Championship game to lead Norths with 13 points. Carla Liebenberg added 12 and Lana Marov tallied 11, whilst Milly Yates finished with 8 points and one outstanding block to deny Bankstown a basket in transition. Bankstown were led by Tasmyn Haynes’ 12 points. Haynes was the Bruins’ only player to finish in double figures, leading her team with a valiant effort.

Box Score

Penrith defeated Newcastle

Penrith rebounded with a win over Newcastle, but without more details available, we’re a little bit in the dark when it comes to the actual process by which the win came about!

Box Score

Hornsby 65 lost to Central Coast 70

With a narrow win over Illawarra the previous day in their legs, you could have forgiven Hornsby for finding it tough against the high-flying Central Coast Crusaders. However, the Crusaders had player availability issues of their own, and dressed just six players for this game. Suddenly, the game had a far more even look about it, but the events of the early stages did not suggest anything of that ilk.

Rachel Williams. Charlie Evans. Shakera Reilly. 7-0 Central Coast inside 90 seconds. Hornsby hit back through Kristina Moore and Tylah Mundine and for a minute things looked as if they might settle, but scoring from all five Crusaders starters saw the visitors take a 26-6 lead after a quarter.

Mercifully, the first quarter did end and allowed the Spiders to take a minute to regroup. Charlie Evans continued to knock down shots in the early stages of the second quarter, but Hornsby slowly edged their way back into the game. A Piper Duck three trimmed the margin to 13 with just over 4 minutes to play in the half, but by halftime Central Coast had extended the margin back out to 42-26.

However, with just six players on the roster for the game, the second half would be the real test for the Crusaders. The midway point of the third quarter saw Hornsby looking dead in the water at 21 down, but the second half of the term saw the Spiders turn things around. Tylah Mundine and Amy Laws each knocked down a three, and late points from Kristina Moore and Sarah Crisafulli put the Spiders within range at 59-51 down with a quarter to play.

A basket to Rachel Williams was the Crusaders’ only scoring play for the first six minutes of the quarter, and when Sarah Crisafulli found the bottom of the net with 4:16 to play, Hornsby had stormed back to 61-59 down. Somehow, Central Coast were sparked back into life and found points from Reilly and Williams to push the lead out to six.

Hornsby made it a one-possession game with 28 seconds to play through a pair of free throws from Amy Laws, but their 65th point of the game would be their last. Jamei Pate finished the game with a basket in the dying seconds to seal a 70-65 win for Central Coast.

Shakera Reilly led four Central Coast players in double figures with 22 points. Charlie Evans was also excellent with 18 points, whilst Losalini Katia and Rachel Williams tallied 11 apiece. Kristina Moore and Piper Duck led Hornsby with 19 and 17 points respectively, whilst Nicole Hutchins and Amy Laws added 9 apiece.

Box Score

Weekly Scoring Leaders:

Natalia Beaumont (Penrith) – 23 points v Hills
Shakera Reilly (Central Coast) – 22 points v Hornsby
Kristina Moore (Hornsby) – 19 points v Central Coast
Charlie Evans (Central Coast) – 18 points v Hornsby
Piper Duck (Hornsby) – 17 points v Central Coast
Eleri Morris (Illawarra) – 17 points v Hornsby