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WNBL: Eastern Mavericks can take a bow

SOUTH Australian junior girls basketball traditionally is dominated by Sturt and Forestville but it was the far less-fancied Eastern Mavericks which could take a justifiable bow tonight as Melbourne Boomers swamped WNBL title favourite Southside 89-72 in Townsville.

Tess Madgen (24 points at 50 per cent, 5-of-8 threes, nine rebounds, five assists, one steal) and Cayla George (24 points at 56 per cent, 3-of-5 threes, eight rebounds, four assists, one steal and a block) turned this contest on its ear from midway through the second quarter after the Boomers trailed by as many as 13 points.

To effect a 30-point turnaround despite Ezi Magbegor's foul-hampered performance, Melbourne's dynamic duo led an inside-outside Boomers rampage which left the star-studded Flyers floundering.

Ashleigh Karaitiana came off the Boomers' bench to sink a wicked 6-of-8 three bombs, each one burying all the dreams any Southside fan entertained of their team coming out of this hub season undefeated.

MADGEN MAGIC: Tess Madgen opens the scoring for Melbourne in today's rout of Southside.

The team IS stacked with seven past or present Opals but even early, there were signs of over-confidence and a casualness which Melbourne attacked and exploited.

By the time the Flyers recognised the game was being whisked away from them, it was too late and even Liz Cambage's first-half keyway dominance did not daunt the underdogs.

Melbourne winning was no shock, smart pundits rating them amid the few genuine title contenders. But winning by 17 after trailing by 13? Now that WAS a surprise.

Southside captain Jenna O'Hea had a game to forget and the Flyers drew zero of consequence from their highly-rated bench, in stark contrast to the Boomers.

The result arguably was the reality check the Flyers needed, a timely reminder talent without commitment is merely unrequited potential.

And Melbourne reminded everyone it has all the tools necessary to construct a championship campaign.

* * *

THE Boomers' two stars today were Cayla George - obviously relishing playing in Townsville where she is a championship-winner, and Tess Madgen, also back in her previous happy hunting ground.

But Eastern Mavericks is where their stories began, Cayla becoming the club's historic first Halls Medallist in 2008 as SA's fairest and most brilliant player.

Two years later in 2010, Madgen became Eastern's second Halls Medallist.

The Mavericks have only had three, the third being Alex Wilson who, alongside Stephanie Talbot on Wednesday led Adelaide Lightning to an unexpected 85-73 overtime win against defending dual-champion Canberra.

Talbot started her junior career at Forestville and Wilson at Sturt. But both reached unprecedented heights together from under-16s and upwards at ... yes, you guessed it, Eastern Mavericks.

There certainly would be justification tonight for a number of basketball people in Mount Barker, Murray Bridge and Mt Lofty to be celebrating.

MELBOURNE BOOMERS 89 (George, Madgen 24, Karaitiana 18, Beck 10; Madgen 9 rebs; Madgen 5 assts) d SOUTHSIDE FLYERS 72 (Cambage 24, Cole 13, Sa Blicavs 11; Cambage 19 rebs; Mitchell 7 assts) in Townsville.

Nov 14

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