2022 SEASON REVIEWS: COLES EXPRESS NBL1 EAST AND SPALDING WARATAH LEAGUE
by BACT MEDIA UNIT – 1 September 2022
This year’s Coles Express NBL1 East and Spalding Waratah League have come to an end and two of Basketball ACT’s teams have emerged victorious.
Thank you to everyone who came out to support our athletes and congratulations to all of the award winners. This has been a fantastic year for basketball in the ACT and we are all looking forward to seeing what’s in store for 2023!
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
What a season for the Canberra Gunners!
The side from the capital finished atop the table, with an impressive 16-6 record for the season. Packed out stands at every Belconnen Basketball Stadium game made it almost impossible for the Gunners to lose at home and the deep roster matched up well against every team in the competition.
Canberra claimed the major honour of the 2022 season, crowned inaugural Coles Express NBL1 East champions after defeating the Mustangs in a tight contest. In a nail-biting victory the Gunners proved too clutch, getting stops and sinking free-throws to close out the game and secure the title. With the victory, they booked themselves a ticket to compete in the National NBL1 Championships being held in Melbourne during September. It’s a massive chance for the Gunners to prove they are not just the top team in their conference, but also a top team in Australia.
There were multiple standouts throughout the season for the loaded Canberra side. Glenn Morison (18.5pts/10.5rebs/1.5blks) capped off a dominant season in the paint with an All-Star 5 spot and the Finals MVP. Will Mayfield averaged 18 points over the season and was also part of the All-Star 5, while James Toohey was third in the league for three-pointers made with 64 triples in 21 games. Every player on the roster stepped up when called upon, contributing to the Gunners’ elite status on both ends of the court.
The “Canberra Beast” was certainly unleashed in the Coles Express NBL1 East competition and it’s been an amazing year for the team. Can the Gunners go all the way at the National NBL1 Championships and what will 2023 hold for this incredible side?
It’s been an up and down season for the Canberra Nationals in 2022.
The Nationals got off to a slow start, only winning one of their first six games, as the side struggled for consistency. They knocked off a Lauren Jackson-less Albury Wodonga Bandits in the middle of the year for the upset of the season, and finished with five wins in their final eight games.
The late charge wasn’t quite enough to get Canberra into the Finals, but it demonstrated that this team has potential to break out next season. When the Nationals click, they have the ability to play at an insane pace and shoot lights out from distance, something they managed to do more frequently as the season wore on. With young guns from the Nationals Academy side challenging for roster spots, every player will be ready to take their game to the next level in 2023.
Lizzy Tonks was more-often-than-not the star of the team, averaging a team high in points (18.5) and rebounds (10.72). A 42-point, 21-rebound explosion against the Illawarra Hawks saw the gun named NBL1 East Player of the Week, the only Canberra player to manage this feat. Abby Solway proved her worth as an elite three-point shooter, draining 61 long-bombs in just 20 games and captain Kris Langhorn was a rock in the paint, averaging 10.5 points and 7 rebounds a game.
While the Nationals probably didn’t quite have the year they were hoping for, there was plenty of promising signs and flashes of brilliance that will excite their fans. Watch out for Canberra in 2023, they will be a force to be reckoned with!
Wow wow wow!
An amazing season for the Canberra Nationals Academy saw them drop only a single game on their way to the top of the table. They didn’t lose at home and dominated pretty much everyone they came against. It’s an impressive achievement for the young side in their first season in the top division of the Spalding Waratah League.
The Nationals Academy capped 2022 off with the championship, a fitting reward for the best team in the league. A close game until the fourth quarter, when a Canberra surge powered them to a strong lead over Coffs Harbour Suns and they finished 62-56 winners.
Captain-coach Abbie Ketels was awarded Coach of the Year and also named in the All Star 5 for the Spalding Waratah League. Likewise part of the All Star 5, Ali Francis led the team in three-point makes and total points. Claudea Waihape Andrews was named Defensive Player of the Year, while Mia Slater (12.5pts) was the Finals MVP and an imposing presence in the paint all season long.
It was an almost perfect season for the Nationals Academy. One loss all year, a championship and multiple award winners, you couldn’t have scripted it much better. The young team will only get better over the break so 2023 could very well be a massive year for the Nationals Academy!
It’s been a very solid season for the Canberra Gunners Academy as they stepped up into the top division of the Spalding Waratah League. Four straight victories got 2022 off to a fantastic start, and the Gunners Academy ended with a 14-6 record. They had to rely on a few new faces throughout the season as representative duties and injuries took a toll on the roster, but the team was strong enough to finish fourth on the ladder.
A heartbreaking overtime loss to the Central Coast Waves in the Elimination Final ended Canberra’s season. Belconnen Basketball Stadium was full of cheering fans for the home side and a fourth quarter comeback was nearly enough to keep the season alive, but the Gunners Academy couldn’t quite get over the line in overtime. Despite the early elimination, the side from the capital has had a fantastic year.
Will Rice was impressive all season long, averaging 14 points per game and scoring from all over the court. He was rewarded with a spot in the All Star 5. Top ten in total points and three-point makes, Henry Wallace had a breakout 2022 campaign, while the ever-consistent Zac McDermott was named the Defensive Player of the Season in the Spalding Waratah League. The Gunners Academy had 17 players suit up this season, and each and every member of the team had a part in the team’s success.
Another year to develop for this young Gunner’s Academy team will do them wonders. It was an exceptional 2022 season and you can bet 2023 will be even better!