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NBL, WNBL Round 2, Friday review

HOW big has the Sydney-Illawarra NBL game become tomorrow, with the arch NSW rivals now staring down 0-2 win-loss records?

And while the Kings and Hawks independently were digging holes for themselves, in the WNBL, Melbourne buried Bendigo 90-63 and Townsville eventually ran away from a plucky Canberra.

The NBL matches gave us two of the best blocks of this young season, with Todd Blanchfield getting up into the clouds in Auckland to reject Rob Loe before in Perth, Illawarra import Demitrius Conger slammed away a Bryce Cotton shot with a rare emphatic two-handed "NO!"

It was stunning stuff.

NBL Round 2: NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS 87 (Penney 25, Newbill 22, Ili 15; Loe, Abercrombie, Newbill, 7 rebs; Ili 4 assts) d SYDNEY KINGS 85 (Ellis 19, Lisch 17, Leslie 15, Blanchfield 13, Newley 11Blanchfield 8 rebs; Blanchfield, Lisch 4 assts) at Spark Arena.

KIRK Penney's 19-point first half underpinned New Zealand's commanding 54-41 halftime lead before Andrew Gaze fired up his listless Kings. Steadily they worked their way back with a 10-0 run and suddenly we had a contest again. Shea Ili's 2-of-2 free throws with 67 seconds left, made it 84-81 for the Breakers, Todd Blanchfield shaved it to 83-84 and when Ili was fouled again, he made 1-of-2 for an 85-83 Breakers lead. Inside the final 11 seconds, Perry Ellis tied the game at 85-apiece when he followed up a Blanchfield miss before DJ Newbill scored a layup on NZ's last play to seal - or steal - the win.

PERTH WILDCATS 74  (Brandt 17, Tokoto 14, Kernich-Drew 11, Walker 10; Brandt, Tokoto, Martin 5 rebs; Martin 5 assts) d ILLAWARRA HAWKS 64 (Conger, Clarke 16, Coenraad 11; Johnson 8 rebs; White, Kay 3 assts) at The Jungle, Perth Arena.

BRANDT KNEW: Angus Brandt dunking on the Hawks. Pic courtesy Wildcats FB

ANGUS Brandt continued his arrival as a quality NBL starter with a dunkfest as Perth broke clear of a plucky Illawarra after halftime. Sticking stringently to their gameplan, the Hawks led 43-37 at the interval but the Wildcats turned up the defensive screws and Illawarra struggled to find a scoring avenue. AJ Ogilvy contributed 2 points on 1-of-3 shooting, with four fouls in 14-ish minutes, leaving some cause-for-pause amid his Boomers-advocates. Perth held the Hawks to seven third quarter points and 21 for the second half, Dexter Kernich-Drew cutting loose with 11 points in 10 minutes as The Jungle hoodoo returned for Illawarra.

WNBL Round 2: MELBOURNE BOOMERS 90 (Cambage 25, Duever 12, Cole, Garrick 10; Cambage 14 rebs; O'Hea 5 assts) d BENDIGO SPIRIT 63 (Payne 16, Karaitiana 11, Rolph 10; Laney 7 rebs; 3 with 2 assts) at Geelong Arena.

WITH dual championship-starters Kelsey Griffin and Gabe Richards ruled out of this match at Geelong Arena before the game, this was virtually over before it began. A 13-2 start by Melbourne then erased any doubt this would be anything but a one-way affair, the Boomers ahead 23-8 at the first break. A 28-12 third period just hammered nails into the Spirit's coffin, Liz Cambage leading the rout with a 25-point, 14-rebound double.

TOWNSVILLE FIRE 76 (Batkovic 20, George 14, Mincy 13; Batkovic 12 rebs; Batkovic, Donnelly 4 assts) d CANBERRA CAPITALS 65 (Scherf, Hurst 13; Scherf 8 rebs; Hurst 6 assts) at The Fire Station, Townsville Stadium.

BATGIRL BACK: Suzy Batkovic dominated for the Fire. Pic courtesy Townsville Fire FB

CANBERRA continued to show it knows no fear by taking it right up to the Fire in Townsville, leading 37-35 at halftime and at one stage enjoying an 8-0 run. But superstar Suzy Batkovic was having none of it. Blatantly hamstrung by over-zealous officiating in the Fire's season-opening win over Melbourne, The Batgirl took control to lead the game in scoring (20), rebounding (12) and steals (3) while dishing a team-high four assists. Lauren Mincy also showed her talents as the Fire wore down the Capitals to retain their unbeaten start.

Oct 14

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