In what can only be described as a “lacklustre” game, the North Adelaide Men’s Premier League Team went down to South at the Adelaide Arena in front of a very small crowd on Wednesday night. Apart from the first quarter, the boys struggled to find any offensive rhythm during the game, and ended up losing by 4 points (66-70) in a low scoring affair.   

The evening started very well with the confirmation that big John Wernham was suiting up, having missed the previous 3 games with injury, and as an added bonus, North were allocated the palatial 36er’s changing room, which is a far cry from the normal facilities available. So a very positive mood was evident and expectations were high as the boys ran out onto the floor. The up-beat message from the team meeting flowed into what was the best quarter of the game for us, with a good start evident, and a very solid offensive effort. Adam Schild got the scoring going on an assist from Aric, Leroy, following his own defensive rebound and quick transition, scored a layup, and Lucky hit a 3 pointer (again on an assist from Aric). But we were having trouble containing South, and in particular their 7 footer, Bradley Reid, who also started well (8 points) and scores remained close. We did manage to get the margin to 5 points (13-8) on an Aric basket at the 5 minute mark, but South pegged us back, levelling the scores at 16 all.  John Wernham entered the game at the 4 minute 51 second mark and had an immediate impact with 4 quick points. Quarter time scores were 24-21 in our favour, and whilst not dominant, we felt quietly confident that things were going our way if we could restrict their scoring a little better. Aric and Lucky led the way with 6 points each, and Aric also had 4 assists so a particularly good start for him. The rebound count (always one of our focus points) was 9 all, and we had done a very good job on keeping Reid off the boards (he had no rebounds) but their smaller players were getting  involved which was disappointing.

The 2nd quarter was an arm wrestle with neither side able to get any flow into their game. South scored the first 5 points to take the lead at 24-26, before John W stole the ball and levelled the scores at 26 all. But Souths had another little run and scored the next 4 points before a 3 pointer from Tom Rowe, and a couple of baskets from Leroy saw up regain the lead, which we maintained until half time, albeit by a single point. We had some concerns however and in particular the turnover count. On a good night we would have 10 turnovers for the game, buttonight we had 10 for the second quarter !! This resulted in several easy layups for South, keeping them in the game and eating away at our confidence. Half time scores were 39-38. John W was having a good return to the team with 10 points (2 rebounds and a block), Aric 8 points (4 assists, 3 steals), Leroy had 8 points (5 rebound and 1 assist), Lucky 6 points (3 rebounds), Tom 3 points (3 rebounds, 1 assist), Adam 2 points (3 rebounds and 3 assists), Brett 2 points (and an assist), and Pikey in limited minutes had 2 valuable rebounds.  The half time meeting was positive, with plans reiterated on how we need to play to win the game. 

The 3rd quarter  was very similar to the 2nd, with neither team able to get it going. On the positive side the Rocket boys never relinquished the lead and we had only 2 turnovers for the quarter, but we were allowing South too many opportunities to score, letting them stay in the game and despite them being behind, they were always within reach. We managed to build the lead to 5 or 6, but just could not get it to 10 which is often when teams start to doubt their ability to stay in touch. Our shooting percentage started to become a concern (we shot 7 of 19 for the quarter), and only John Wernham was having any joy offensively with 12 points for the quarter (he scored on 7 of 8 attempts) and he was up to 22 for the game. Souths were relying on Reid (15 points) and their import Smith who was proving to be difficult to contain with 19 points. Three quarter time score 56-54. 

If we thought we had difficulty scoring in the 3rd quarter then the 4th was a disaster. We managed only 10 points scoring on 5 of 19 field goal attempts. We took the lead at the 3 minute 47 second mark on a 2 point basket from Aric, 60-58 and the scores remained at that for the next 3 minutes, so both teams were having their difficulties. South did hit the lead with a minute and a half to go and despite several opportunities, we just could not get the lead back, resorting to fouling in the last few seconds to give us a chance.  Final scores were 66-70.  Statistically the leaders were John with 24 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks; Aric 19 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals; Leroy 8 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block; Lucky 6 points, 3 rebounds; Brett 4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assists; Tom 3 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal; Adam 2 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists; Pikey 2 rebounds. As a team we did win the rebound count 42-38, but there were several statistics that were not so positive. One particular concern was the 22 turnovers, which will need to be tidied up for next time.

A disappointing evening for the boys, and the record is now 7 wins and 3 losses but an opportunity for a quick turnaround on Saturday with a game against Sturt at Pasadena. Good chance to cheer the boys back into form.

By the way we have a new Coach’s Award at the end of each game now which is a voucher from the North Adelaide Football Club. The inaugural winner was John Wernham.


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