SPECTRES DOMINANT OVER RAIDERS
NUNAWADING BASKETBALL | The Nunawading Spectres claimed two significant victories at the State Basketball Centre Saturday night, defeating local rivals Knox Raiders in both women’s and men’s NBL1 match ups.
In just her second weekend in a Spectres uniform, WNBL star Maddie Garrick (21 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists) opened the game with a deep corner three-point bucket, looking every bit as comfortable in her role as any player on the Nunawading roster.
A back-and-forth contest across the first 5-minutes, Knox were able to build some margin, leading by 7-points at the first break. The Raiders extended that lead early into the second before the Spectres made some defensive changeups and mounted a 21-0 run to regain control.
“I feel like we did a really good job of staying composed early on,” Spectres Head Coach Paul Flynn said.
“Despite trailing on the board, we maintained pretty good floor spacing and offensive execution. Once we changed the defensive end up a little, we were able to wrestle back control of the game and push on with it.”
The Spectres charge was lead by star forward Kathleen Scheer (23 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists) and captain Rachel Antoniadou (18 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists) whilst also receiving impact contributions from across the floor.
Nunawading stretched their lead out to 21-points at one stage but Knox weren’t rolling over. Former Spectre Marena Whittle (25 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists) did everything in her power to drag her side back into the contest and back-to-back-to-back triples by Leah Santomaggio almost suggested the game was swinging back into the home sides favour - enter the hot hand of Kiera Rowe (15 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists) and the Spectres pulled it back out to a 17-point margin (101-84) at the final buzzer.
“We’re really happy with that win as a group,” Flynn said.
“We’ve been a little up and down the last month, our rhythm has been off since losing Izzy (Chilcott) in the game against Melbourne, so to have a solid performance against a quality side like Knox is very pleasing. Even without the likes of Lauren (Scherf) and Abbey (Wehrung), that Raiders line-up has more talent than you could poke a stick at, I feel like we did a good job disrupting them and forcing them away from their preferred options offensively.”
The win over Knox confirms that the Spectres will participate in the NBL1 Finals, but with two rounds remaining in the regular season there is still plenty to play for with a fight for final ladder positions still very much in effect.
Nunawading’s men put forward one of their most dominant performances of the NBL1 season to date, dismantling the Knox Raiders 106-66.
Finally, at full-strength, Nunawading has issued the rest of the league a stern warning that they mean business and that the NBL1 championship is at the very forefront of their minds.
The Raiders, via Cadarian Raines attacked Spectres big man Simon Conn (14 points, 7 rebounds) early, hoping to send the former SEABL MVP to the bench - but to no avail. At the other end, dynamo guard Costas Hronopoulos (15 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists) carved up the Raiders defence.
“Costas gave us energy right from the start,” Spectres Head Coach Dave Biwer said.
“He was the benchmark while Wrighty set the tempo defensively.”
NBL veteran Lucas Walker (27 points, 10 rebounds) dominated off the bench for Nunawading, the key d riving force behind the Spectres 40-point second term - all but blowing Knox out of the water.
“He gave us a glimpse of why he is an NBL veteran.”
“He attacked his mismatches but also gave great leadership through the backend of the game demanding we upheld our standard.”
The Spectres were able to spread the load, with some valuable game time given down the bench without the foot ever coming off the accelerator.
That win also confirming Nunawading’s place in the NBL1 Men’s Finals, the Spectres focus now shifting to locking down second spot and a home opening final.
Both sides return to the floor this Saturday night when they play host to the Kilsyth Cobras in the NBL1 Indigenous Round.
Women’s Tip Off 5:30pm /// Men’s Tip Off 7:30pm