In what was a widely anticipated encounter, the North Adelaide Men's Premier League team went down badly to Southern, despite being competitive to half time. The final score of 73-107 certainly confirmed the difference between the teams and the different stages of each squad’s development.

Coach Hawkes went with the same starting five as last week with Alex, Adam, Brad, Atem and CJ hitting the court after what had been a long week of intense preparation. The game did start exceptionally well, with the jump ball won and the first half court play resulting in a big dunk from Alex Starling!! Unfortunately at 2-0, this was to be the one and only time the Boys led on the scoreboard all night. Alex did score again soon after to make the score 4-4, and yet again to make it 6-9, but a couple of unnecessary turnovers saw the momentum disappear completely and Southern established an 8 point lead. Despite a time out, several substitutions and baskets from Atem, Adam, Brad, CJ, Nick and Alex the quarter time score was a disappointing 20-34. Alex led the way with 7 points and 3 rebounds.

The 2nd quarter saw both teams start slowly and it took a minute and a half for the first field goal, which was a transition 3 pointer from Brad, following a defensive rebound and assist from CJ. Suddenly the Boys were up and about with Brad again scoring, this time from free throws, followed by baskets from Atem, Alex, and CJ then again from Atem (a big “3”) and the difference was just 5 (35-40). The momentum continued and following an offensive “put back” and a long ‘3” from Alex, on an Adam assist the scores were suddenly tied at 40-40 with four minutes to go!!!!! As is often the case though, a Southern time out saw them settle somewhat and pull away again for an eight point lead before a late basket and some successful free throws to Darcy saw the half time score 52-55. In the circumstances an acceptable result. Alex was up to 20 points and 8 rebounds whilst Atem had 9 points and 4 rebounds. In even better news, we had overtaken the rebound count 21-20 (9 offensive), after being well down at the first break.

The 3rd quarter proved difficult with the Boys again struggling on the boards (7-15 for the quarter), and in turn struggling to score. A quick 4 points by the Tigers saw them 7 up, before Alex scored following an offensive rebound, but the opposition were relentless in their approach to the basket and with three minutes to go they led by 17 (60-77). Our shooting percentage certainly didn’t help (just 5 of 18 attempts made), whilst Southern’s was exceptional making 12 of 18 shots taken!! Three quarter time score was 64-83 and the game was almost out of touch.

Unfortunately we gave up the first 7 points of the last quarter, the score was 64-90 and the game was obviously out of reach. A basket to Brad and a free throw to Matt Trandafil were the only positives whilst Southern added another 11 points and the situation deteriorated quickly. With just over 3 minutes to go the difference was 34 (67-101)!!! Coach Hawkes then took the opportunity to “clear the bench” giving our youngest squad members the chance to get a little experience against the team that has proven to be the title favourite at this early stage.

Final statistics showed Alex led the way with 21 points, 13 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, 1 blocks; Brad had 11 points, 1 rebound, and 1 steal; Atem had 10 points and 4 rebounds; Nick had 10 points and 2 rebounds; Darcy had 7 points, 2 rebound and a steal; CJ had 6 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists; Adam had 5 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and a block; Matt had 3 points, 1 rebound and a block; Marko had 1 rebound and 2 assists.

So, onward and upward, with no game this week the Boys will have four hard training sessions before facing Forestville on April the 7th at home, which is Beyond Blue Day and also Jo's 300th game, so get yourself out there for what will be an historic night.


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