Men's Previews - Round 18

North Adelaide Rockets (12-5, 3rd) v South Adelaide Panthers (4-13, 9th)
Saturday August 4, 6.30pm at Hillcrest

The North Adelaide Rockets can avoid a fourth consecutive Elimination Final if they can defeat the South Adelaide Panthers in the final round of the 2012 season.

The Rockets have finished fifth in each of the last three seasons and failed to make it past the first round in all. They have twice been sent packing by the West Adelaide Bearcats, who will overtake the Rockets if they win and the Rockets lose. A Rocket win would guarantee them the number three seed and a trip to either Wayville or Pasadena, depending on this weekend’s results.

The Panthers are ninth on the ladder and cannot move. Their fate was sealed last week with a 70-83 loss to Sturt – their 11th consecutive defeat. Damian Scanlon had a team-high 20 points, while Jordan Robertson scored 14.

The Rockets improved to 12-5 with a 95-66 victory over Centrals. Pero Vasilijevic scored 31 and Luke Mapunda 23. This is the first year the Rockets have swept the Lions since 2008.

Last time they met, the Rockets defeated the Panthers 83-67. Josh Bond had 20 points and 8 rebounds for the Rockets, while Thomas McKenzie registered 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Panthers.

With North heading north and South heading south, the Rockets should fly away with this one.

Eastern Mavericks (2-15, 10th) v West Adelaide Bearcats (12-5, 4th)
Saturday August 4, 8.15pm at Adelaide Hills

The West Adelaide Bearcats will be looking to keep their top three hopes alive when they visit the Eastern Mavericks.

The Bearcats finished fourth last season, and must win this game and rely on South beating North to avoid a repeat of 2011. Last week the Bearcats recorded a 86-75 win over Norwood, the team they will at this stage be facing in the Elimination Final next week. Howard Salters Jr scored 30, while Blake Truslove and Anthony Spadavecchia chipped in with 15 apiece.

In Round 17, the Mavericks made it onto the winners’ board for just the second time this season, defeating the Warriors 84-81. Edward Millard scored 30 and Will Smith (not the actor) 28.

Last time they met, the Bearcats walloped the Millard-less Mavericks 100-51. Salters had another 30 that night, while Lukass Blicavs was the shining light for the Mavericks with 17.

The Mavericks have improved a lot since Millard’s addition, but probably not enough to produce at least a 50 point turnaround.

Norwood Flames (10-7, 5th) v Forestville Eagles (13-4, 1st)
Saturday August 4, 8.15pm at Mars

In the Match of the Round, the Forestville Eagles can earn a free walk to the Second Semi Final if they can account for the Norwood Flames.

The Eagles have won eight straight, albeit two of their last three triumphs have been very unconvincing. They only just got over a Centrals team they thrashed earlier this year, then after a good win over North, stumbled over the line in overtime against Southern (whom they likewise belted in the first half of the season). Brad Sullivan (20 points) sent the game into overtime with a long three-pointer, before Trent Fildes (14 points) had a major impact in the extra period.

The Eagles’ last loss was to the Flames’, whose season-high five-game winning streak came to an end in Round 17 with a loss to the Bearcats. Brian Moultrie scored 17 points and Matthew Lycett 16. Regardless of the result of this game, the Flames will finish fifth.

In Round 9, Moultrie made his CABL debut and took centre stage right away, racking up 24 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks in the Flames’ upset 82-77 win over the Eagles. Fildes had 19 for the Eagles.

The Eagles have saved their best basketball for the top sides, and the result of this game could come down to how keen they are to have next week off.

Southern Tigers (5-12, 8th) v Central District Lions (6-11, 7th)
Saturday August 4, 8.15pm at Morphett Vale

The Southern Tigers and Central District Lions will be scratching for a top seven finish when they go tail-to-tail at Morphett Vale.

The Lions won the last meeting between these teams 75-72. The Lions have one extra victory, but the Tigers have a higher percentage, so therefore the Tigers must win by at least three points to snatch seventh place.

The Tigers were extremely unlucky to lose to league-leaders Forestville in Round 17, going down 68-71 in overtime. Behind excellent efforts from Tyler Tanis (18 points) and Codey Ellison (15 points), along with a lot of voice from their travelling supporters, the Tigers looked the goods for most of the night. However, the Tigers only made three of their last six free throws in regulation, which ultimately prevented them from closing the game out when they had the chance.

The Lions were no match for the revved-up Rockets, despite the best efforts of Kyle Miller (25 points). The Lions went down by 29 – a 64 point turnaround from when they last hosted the Rockets.

If the Tigers can bring the same defensive intensity as last week and shoot just a little better, then they should be able to finish off Season 2012 with a W.

Sturt Sabres (13-4, 2nd) v Woodville Warriors (8-9, 6th)
Saturday August 4, 8.15pm at Pasadena

The Sturt Sabres can give themselves a chance of winning the Minor Premiership if they can overcome the Woodville Warriors in their final match of the 2012 regular season.

Despite the absence of Tom Daly (18.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 7.6 apg) last weekend, the Sabres made it eight straight road wins by conquering South. Darren Ng, Tim Klaosen and Sam Daly combined for 55 points. The Sabres must now beat the Warriors and rely on Norwood beating Forestville if they are to leapfrog the Eagles into first, and avoid a Qualifying Final against North next week.

The Warriors cannot move up or down regardless of this result. Last Saturday, they became just the second team in 2012 to lose to the Mavericks. Steve Pilkington had 19 points and Luke Stanbridge 15.

Last time they met, the Sabres recorded a pivotal 93-70 triumph. Klaosen had 22 points and 13 rebounds for the Sabres, while Puff Summers scored 22 for the Warriors.

The Warriors have struggled of late, hence it is hard to see them suddenly finding form against this tough Sabres outfit.

By James Woite


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