Experienced players begin to find rhythm

Headshot of Justin Fris
Justin FrisSouth Western Times
Cody Hill cruises to the bucket during Wednesday night’s 99-75 win over Tornadoes Black.
Camera IconCody Hill cruises to the bucket during Wednesday night’s 99-75 win over Tornadoes Black. Credit: Justin Fris

Tornadoes Black were given a basketball lesson against the Bulls on Wednesday night, who ran riot at times during their 99-75 win.

With offensive stars Matt Leary and Xavier Cotton among the list of unavailable players, the depleted league leaders struggled to develop an inside presence throughout the game, which ultimately restricted their ability to score fluidly.

It was nip and tuck early in the first half, with both sides freely trading baskets. However once Clive Weeden began to pull the strings at the top of the paint for the Bulls, things quickly began to unravel for Tornadoes Black.

Despite having no shortage of offensive opportunities, the league leaders were forced to eat deep into each possession — as with the paint clogged with tall defenders, they were forced to shoot from beyond the three-point line.

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To their credit, their outside game was impressive at times, however falling in love with the three-point shot can be a risky situation and one which can often leave you high and dry.

Sure enough, Weeden and company managed to take control on the back of multiple defensive stops and high-risk lofted passes, which often resulted in fast-break points at the other end.

The relative ease of how the Bulls went about their business was punctuated late in the third term by a classy lay-up from Travis Durnin, who had two other teammates under the glass with him raffling the ball before it went in.

Aces Sky’s bid for a spot in the top-four gained further momentum after they clinically took care of second-placed Tornadoes Red 85-63. Quite simply, the victors are a quality team, but they are enhanced by the presence of Mitch Keller, whose presence in the paint continues to torment rival defences, and is averaging more than 18 points per game during the month of January alone.

And there was also joy for the Dunsborough Oilers, who won their third game of the season, after Leigh Rickwood-Pitt guided them to a 89-85 win over reigning champs Aces White.

Women’s A-grade teams are officially on notice, given how the Bulls are presently going about their business.

On Wednesday night at the South West Sports Centre, they recorded their most significant win so far this season, after taking care of Tornadoes Black 56-51.

Spectators who came to watch an offensive shootout were rewarded early, with the Bulls racing out toa 6-0 lead inside the opening 75 seconds of the game.

But, predictably, the league leaders responded quickly with an offensive blast of their own, with Kelly Bastow’s three-pointer putting them in front momentarily.

However the Bulls, led by Anita Reca, gradually took control of the contest, leading by double digits late into the third term following a shot from downtown by Mckayhla Pomare.

But Tornadoes Black are never a side who can be written off and through the help of Ebony Bilcich, they came very close to pulling off an impressive comeback, however they ultimately left their surge too late.

The Dunsborough Oilers managed to hold off a fast-finishing Eaton Eagles side 66-63, with the game-high 36 points from Karinda Farrant a highlight, despite the result not going in her side’s favour.

In the remaining game of the round, Tornadoes Red easily defeated Aces Sky 66-37, with influential centre Abbey Hall restricted to 10 points.

On Friday night, the Bulls women’s team made it four wins in a row, after they defeated top-two fancies Tornadoes Red 60-52.

After taking a while to find their mojo offensively, the Bulls have been firing on all cylinders lately, with Anita Reca’s efforts at point guard, coupled by Skye Palmer’s pace, making a noticeable difference.

A quality three-pointer from Palmer helped her side break away from a resolute Tornadoes Red, who managed to eat into the double digit lead once the sting had gone out of the game.

Tornadoes Black also managed to end its two-game losing streak, after defeating the Eaton Eagles 67-55.

Although the Eagles fought to the very end, ultimately Tornadoes Black’s 14-4 offensive burst to open the game proved to be the telling factor in the final result.

In the remaining game of the round, Abbey Hall hit a game-high 23 points as Aces Sky were too slick for the Dunsborough Oilers, 68-44.

Reigning men’s champions Aces White fell two games out of the top four following Friday’s 116-73 loss against Tornadoes Black.

With fourth-placed Aces Sky in a purple patch of form right now, this match was one Aces White really could not afford to drop, however they were unable to quell a fast start by Tornadoes Black, who scooted out to a 25-9 lead by the end of the first quarter — putting the result effectively beyond doubt.

Another team to keep an eye on is the Bulls, who moved to third following their 92-83 victory over Tornadoes Red. When they have their best team out on the floor, the Bulls’ offence can be extremely formidable, as was the case on Friday night.

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