North Men Hold Top Spot With 4 Games to Go
In a game effectively over by half way through the second quarter, the North Adelaide Men’s Premier League team, defeated Centrals by 46 points on Saturday night at Hillcrest, thereby consolidating a spot in the top 3 for the fast approaching finals series. Statistically the game set all sorts of records for 2017, with the most pleasing probably the 37 assists, confirming the fantastic team effort on the night.
Coach Hawkes started with Aric, Leroy, Adam, Brad and Ray and was looking for a good start, but both teams struggled to find the basket early despite plenty of good opportunities. Our first basket didn’t come until two and a half minutes had elapsed, the result of a nice little jumper from Aric on an Adam assist. The boys were really looking to push the ball down the floor and caught Centrals out several times for easy baskets as the quarter progressed, but to be fair Centrals were also getting their share of opportunities. Darcy came off the bench and hit a nice 3 from the corner, followed by a 3 from Brad and a layup to Alex, but couldn’t pull away with just a 14-12 lead with three minutes to go. Brad continued with his good start with another basket and a bonus free throw, leading the way with 8 points at the first break as the boys enjoyed a narrow three point lead (20-17).
Adam got the boys going early in the second quarter with a successful free throw, a short 2 point jumper and a nice defensive rebound, before Darcy and Alex got involved to build the lead to 11 (28-17) with just one and a half minutes gone. The Boys also started to dominate on the boards with at one stage four offensive rebounds in a row, giving us several “extra” opportunities to score. The lead hovered around the 10-12 mark for several minutes, then a couple of runs toward the end of the quarter saw it out to 17 by the main break. Poor shooting (7 of 25) in the first, was replaced with much better decision making in the second and suddenly we were making layups and short jumpers at a much better percentage (11 of 20 or 55%). Brad continued his good start with 14 at the half, with Aric on 13 the other main scorer. Adam was dominating the boards with 7 (3 offensive) ably supported by Alex (6), Brad (6) and Aric (4).
The 3rd quarter saw several big runs by the boys as they started to dominate all over the court. A 12-2 start with baskets from Brad, Aric (one a nice dunk), and a big 3 from Ray saw the score at 62-35 with just two minutes gone and the signs were ominous for Centrals. Alex was quietly getting involved in the game and almost surprisingly had 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals by the three quarter time break. Aric also had another good quarter now up to 21 points to go with his 5 rebounds and 6 assists, ably supported by Brad with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. The only minor issue was Adam (3) and John (4) had some foul issues as they battled to cope with the smaller Centrals line up. So a 29 point lead with one quarter to go and the boys were asked if they could continue pushing on the scoreboard or would they relax as often happens in these situations?
The question was soon answered with the boys outscoring Centrals 38-21 in the 4th, although most of the scoring was done in the last five minutes. Young Nick Marshall in his last appearance before his trip to the US, had a big quarter playing all ten minutes, scoring 6 points (although he did miss his chance for a big dunk!!), and finishing with 2 rebounds, an assist and a blocked shot. Josh Graetz also took his opportunity (playing 8 minutes), despite not impacting the scoreboard, he did have 5 solid rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot. The margin did actually get to 50 at one stage (117-67) but finished at 46 (117-71) for a solid, relaxed win.
Final statistics saw some excellent individual returns. Aric had 39 points (in just 30 minutes), 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals; Brad had arguably his best game in the red and white with 24 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists; Alex had 13 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists and 6 steals; Darcy had 13 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists and 3 steals; Raymond had 10 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals; Leroy had 5 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal and 3 blocked shots; John had 4 points and 3 rebounds; Adam had 8 rebounds, 3 assist and a steal.
From a team perspective there were also some excellent statistics. After a first half where the rebounds were relatively close at 34-27, the boys dominated the second half boards with 33-11!! Also we had 37 assists, shot the ball at 47% overall (43 of 91), shot 46% from the 3 point line (12 of 26), had 17 steals, 5 blocks and an efficiency of 156 (to Centrals 47).
So 4 games to go, with a big double header next week with Forestville at Wayville on the Saturday and South at Hillcrest on Sunday. A couple of wins would definitely secure a prime finals position. Hope to see you there.