By BACT Media Unit – 13 July 2022

With weather trouble postponing Canberra’s Coles Express NBL1 East games against the Maitland Mustangs, it was left to the Canberra Nationals Academy and Canberra Gunners Academy to defend Belconnen Basketball Stadium last Saturday in Spalding Waratah League action.

Up first were the Nationals Academy who took on a Goulburn Bears team with a four-game win streak. This top of the table clash was always going to be a close one, and both teams did not disappoint.

The Bears jumped out to a seven-point lead at the half, with the Canberra team struggling to find a way to score. That changed in the third quarter, as Ali Francis went on a rampage, scoring 12 points in the first five minute of the term to level the game. The Nationals Academy led by six going into the fourth quarter, and although Goulburn mounted a late comeback, the home team emerged victors, 63-60.

Mia Slater top scored for the Nationals Academy with a very important 17 points. She was well supported by double digit scorers Ali Francis (12 pts) and Michayla Wood (10 pts). Abbie Ketels and Nyakiir Dau both had nine points to round out an impressive all-round effort from Canberra.

With the win, the Nationals Academy become the outright ladder leaders for the 2022 Spalding Waratah Women’s League. With only three games left in the regular season, two of which are at home, the Nationals Academy will be feeling confident they can hold on to top spot. With no games scheduled for the weekend of 16-17 July, the Nationals Academy’s next game will be a road-trip to Moss Vale to take on the Magic on Saturday 23 July 2022, with a focus on extending their winning streak out to four, before returning to Belconnen Basketball Stadium for thieir next home game on Saturday 30 July against Queanbeyan Yowies – tip-off at 6pm.

The Gunners Academy tipped off the second game against the Wagga Wagga Heat, who came into this one fresh of a win. The Canberra team were looking to bounce back after a tough loss away from home the round before.

It was the Mitch Robinson and Zac McDermott show in the first quarter, as they combined for 19 points in the term and got the home side off to a hot start. After establishing a double digit lead early in the second quarter, the Gunners Academy continued to score relentlessly, at one point leading by 36 points.  The end score was 95-66, and with only a few rounds remaining for the season, this could be the big win Canberra needs to storm home strongly. 

There was an even spread of scoring for the Gunners Academy, with six players reaching double figures. Will Rice led the way with 17 points and right behind him was Zac McDermott with 16 points of his own. Angus Skrbinsek (12 pts) drained two threes, while Angus Byatt, Mitch Robinson and Jordan Hilder combined for 37 points.

The Gunners Academy sit in equal third on the 2022 Spalding Waratah Men’s League ladder. This game kicked off a “mini home-stand” for the Canberra side, as they play two games next weekend at Belconnen Basketball Stadium in a great opportunity to string a few wins together. The Hornsby Ku Ring Gai Spiders and the Newcastle Falcons will be doing their best to disrupt the Gunners Academy momentum so make sure to stop by on Saturday and Sunday to cheer on Canberra.

(Game Day Photos – courtesy of Discovery One Photography)