BASKETBALL ACT – Coles Express NBL 1 East – Canberra Gunners – Round 2 Review
By BACT Media Unit – 13 April 2022
An action-packed Coles Express NBL1 East double header for the Canberra Gunners last weekend as they faced off against the Sutherland Sharks and the Illawarra Hawks. The two-day home-stand at Belconnen Basketball Stadium was the perfect opportunity for the Gunners to build upon their first-round victory against the Norths Bears.
Their Saturday game pitted the Canberra side up against tough opponents, Sutherland Sharks. Each team came into this one off the back of victories, so the stakes were high as both teams sought to keep their perfect records intact.
The Gunners came out firing, pouring in a massive 27 points in the first quarter alone. They backed it up with another 25 in the second before Akech Aliir exploded for 15 third quarter points, singlehandedly taking the game away from a valiant Sharks outfit.
Aliir finished with 23 points and 7 rebounds in the 112-75 victory. He was ably supported by sharpshooter Max Cooper (17 points – hitting 3 three-pointers) and William Mayfield (19 pts/6 rebs).
In a losing side Callum Norris was electric from deep, draining four three-pointers on his way to 18 points. Lochlan Hutchison notched up his first double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 assists.
The Gunners then faced the Illawarra Hawks on Sunday, their second game of the round. An unbeaten side in Canberra coming up against the 0-2 Hawks didn’t mean this game was going to be easy.
A 12-point lead to the Gunners at the half was reduced to just 4 by the end of the third quarter. The final term of the game was edge-of-your-seat stuff as the two sides went back and forth relentlessly. The whistle blew to conclude the game and unfortunately for Canberra fans, the Hawks led 97-89.
Some hot shooting from Shaun Mills kept the Gunners in the contest, cashing in 6 three-pointers on his way to 20 points. A little bit of everything from William Mayfield on the night, contributing 20 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and a block. Glenn Morrison had an efficient 20-point outing, only missing one shot from the field all game.
Keyondrei Gardner carried the load for the Hawks, top scoring with 29, while a big double-double from Harry Morris (24 pts/11 rebs) was ample support in the victory.
Splitting their games at home with a win and loss means the Gunners now sit 2-1 after two rounds, which places them third on the Coles Express NBL1 East Men’s ladder. They get a break over Easter, before having the BYE for Round 3 but you can catch them back in action for their Round 4 double-header on the road to face Maitland Mustangs (30 April) and Newcastle Falcons (1 May).
All games live-streamed through NBL1.com.au/east or the NBL 1 App.
(Photos courtesy – @daynaransleyphoto)