ROUND 6 REVIEW
The Perth Wheelcats have maintained top spot on the NWBL ladder with a three-game sweep of the Red Dust Heelers in Round 6, holding the Kilsyth Cobras at bay for another week.
Starting on Friday night, the Wheelcats escaped with a one-point win after owning a 13-point lead at half-time.
Red Dust scored the last nine points of the game as Brad Ness (27 points, 21 rebounds) finished in a flurry but the damage had been done by Kim Robins (22 points, 15 rebounds) and Shaun Norris (24 points, seven rebounds, ten assists).
The following two games were hosted by the Heelers but they were unable to secure a win, losing by seven points on Saturday night and nine points on Sunday.
Robins had another double-double in the third game to average 27.3 points and 9.7 rebounds for the weekend while Norris again proved unstoppable, collecting two more triple-doubles on the road for 21.3 points, 10.3 boards and 12.7 assists over the round.
The Heelers were paced by Ness (28.7 points, 14 rebounds and 8.3 assists) who came close to a triple-double for the weekend himself. Ryan Morich and Jannik Blair were also strong throughout the three games but a lack of defensive stoppers proved their downfall as they dropped to fourth on the ladder.
Red Dust were overtaken by Wollongong for third place despite the Roller Hawks splitting Round 6 against the RSL Queensland Spinning Bullets.
Saturday night saw Queensland record a 77-68 victory as they benefited from an advantage from the free-throw line.
That success broke a six-game losing streak but the Spinning Bullets were unable to capitalise the following day as Wollongong overcame a seven-point deficit at three-quarter time to win 69-65.
Brett Stibners (24 points per game) led the charge, scoring nine points in the fourth term and he was assisted by Luke Pople (15 points per game), Nick Taylor (13.5 points and 7.5 assists) and Michael Auprince (13.5 points).
Tom O’Neill Thorne was a menace at both ends of the floor for Queensland in the first clash, going close to a triple-double with 31 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists before he recorded 24 points the next day.
Bill Latham (23 points, 11 boards per game) collected two double-doubles to help the Spinning Bullets move just two games outside the top four.
In the other games for the round, Kilsyth Cobras kept the Sydney Metro Blues winless with two big victories at home, winning by an average margin of 60 points including a 103-36 demolition on Saturday night.
Tristan Knowles did as he pleased in both contests, scoring 35 points in consecutive games in addition to an average of six rebounds and 12 assists while Dan Del Toso (18 points, 11.5 boards) had two double-doubles.
Shawn Russell and Joshua Allison also enjoyed solid weekends while the Cobras’ bench showed their mettle as Brian Carminati, Michael D’Amelio, Phil Turner and veteran Shaun Groenewegen also enjoyed some court time.
For Sydney, Darren Skuse was a stand-out with a double-double in the first game while Clarance McCarthy-Grogan was efficient on Sunday with 11 points in just 18 minutes.
Their losing streak has extended to ten however, while Kilsyth’s 10-1 record means they are only a game behind Perth with a game in hand.