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R10 Wrap: Double overtime and Dolla Beals

It was the most exciting round of competition this season, with a game-winning dunk, a double overtime thriller and a lights-out 40-point haul. While Perth have taken the lead up top, the three teams vying for fourth spot all split their results over Round 10. We welcomed two new imports to our shores, but we also said goodbye to one of the most iconic stadiums in NBL history. Vale the Kingdome. Illawarra Hawks 97 def Cairns Taipans 82, WIN Entertainment Centre The Hawks put on an absolute clinic in their fourth straight win on Wednesday, making last season’s minor premiers’ playoff hopes look shaky at best. Illawarra’s ‘Big Three’ were at it once more as Kirk Penney (24 points) took game-high honours, AJ Ogilvy (19 points, nine rebounds) did what he needed to do, and Kevin Lisch played with regular poise for his 16 points. The Hawks controlled the game from start to finish, with Cairns surrendering the lead for good three minutes into the contest. Cairns summoned enough venom in the third quarter to bring the margin back to two points on five-straight Cameron Gliddon points, but Lisch hit back with two buckets and Coenraad a three to stretch the margin out to nine as the home team posted a runaway win. In a stat quirk, Taipan Mark Worthington became just the second NBL player ever to reach 10 points with zero field goals, the other Brad Williamson (Townsville) v South Dragons in February 2009. BOX SCORE Townsville Crocodiles 101 def Adelaide 36ers 100, Townsville Entertainment Centre It was a frantic finish the likes of which had not been equalled in this thrilling NBL season. Down 15 points at the 4:04 mark of the final quarter, Shawn Dennis called timeout. What his troops accomplished in the ensuing moments almost had to be seen to be believed. A Mirko Djeric triple got the ball rolling with 1:55 on the clock, followed by Clint Steindl and two more from Djeric – all tough shots – as a 15-point lead became one with six seconds remaining. The Crocs did an almighty job of denying inbounds passing lanes as Sixers veteran Adam Gibson tried to loft one over the head of Steindl into the waiting hands of Jerome Randle (28 points, seven assists). But the ball never got there, cut off by Townsville’s lanky sharpshooter and kicked on to Nick Kay (19 points, seven boards) for the game-winning breakaway slam. Jordair Jett had a team-high 21 points and Omar Samhan (10 points, six rebounds) was solid in his NBL debut. BOX SCORE Perth Wildcats 113 def Melbourne United 83, Perth Arena Jermaine Beal got off the leash in Thursday’s late game, draining an NBL 40-minute record of 10 three-pointers on his way to an NBL season-high 40 points. The long bombs came from deeper and deeper each time, and Beal simply had no mercy toward a hapless United that has now lost five of its last seven outings. Perth didn’t just take top spot from Melbourne, they absolutely destroyed United, and in the process planted a seed for a potential playoff meeting. The visitors actually jumped out of the blocks on a 15-6 run to lead 21-15 at quarter time. Beal (0-2 FGs) was kept scoreless over that stretch but exploded for 18 points in the second as Melbourne failed to learn their lesson on defending the ball screen. Beal’s three midrange jumpshots soon became three-pointers and the rest was history for United, who were outscored 34-12, 30-25 and 34-25 over the final three quarters respectively. Casey Prather had an efficient 20 points (7-13 FGs), as Daniel Kickert (23 points) led United. Four players for each side posted double figures. BOX SCORE New Zealand Breakers 96 def Sydney Kings 84, Vector Arena The bottom-of-the-ladder Sydney Kings gave New Zealand a scare on Friday. New coach Joe Connelly looked to have inspired a newfound defensive intensity in the Kings camp, but they simply could not sustain it as NZ roped in a 45-37 half-time deficit to take a four-point lead into the final term. Corey Webster (5-20 FGs) had a night to forget but chipped in with two buckets and two assists through the 26-14 third term. Cedric Jackson (17 points, seven rebounds, nine assists) came out of half time in attack mode, scoring four and setting up three in the first 4:14 of the half, continuing the good form in a 10-point fourth term. Mika Vukona (18 points, 11 rebounds) is back to his best in tandem with Charles Jackson (12 points, eight rebounds), who combine with Tai Wesley and Alex Pledger for a frontcourt rivalling that of Perth’s. Jason Cadee was the Kings’ top scorer with 19, while new import Damion James had seven points and 10 rebounds as the Breakers remain undefeated at home. BOX SCORE Cairns Taipans 103 def Illawarra Hawks 101, Cairns Convention Centre We have had some brilliant games this season, but arguably all pale in comparison to what went on in Cairns Friday night. Both sides pulled Houdini acts with clutch jumpshots, but Taipan Markel Starks (game-high 33 points, including a 19-point second term) had the last laugh in this double-overtime thriller. The Snakes let an 18-point lead slip with 8:31 remaining in the game as Rhys Martin (eight fourth-quarter points) and Kevin Lisch (seven) stepped up to absorb the margin shot by shot. Lisch (30 points, five assists) failed to win the game in regulation, but his side was in the box seat at the end of OT1 before Taipans captain Cameron Gliddon tripled from the top of the key to even it up at 89-89. The Hawks again came up empty as Martin drove left, kicking out to Tim Coenraad whose off-balance baseline jumper hit the top of the backboard. Starks took matters into his own hands with eight points in OT2 – all in the paint – carving up the Hawks’ defence, as the hosts came up with the necessary stops to stave off a soul-crushing and likely season-ending defeat. BOX SCORE Adelaide 36ers 76 def Townsville Crocodiles 66, Titanium Security Arena The Sixers responded to adversity in the best possible fashion on Saturday night, beating Townsville with defence. Not known as a club to lock down their opponents, Adelaide turned the screws on a night that shots weren’t falling. Battling a stomach flu, Jerome Randle had an off game by his standards with an inefficient 19 points (5-16 FGs) and seven assists (seven turnovers). Townsville found little rhythm through the 40 minutes, looking their best when exploring early in the offence. Import centre Omar Samhan (11 points, 11 rebounds and four assists) proved his worth as the Crocs ran offence through the second-gamer, who found the open man for jumpshots on multiple occasions. It was a dour struggle for both sides as neither team shot better than 40 per cent from the field, but Adelaide’s jack-in-the-box guard Nathan Sobey brought Titanium Security Arena to life with a couple of highlights as he earned Player of the Game honours. BOX SCORE Perth Wildcats 87 def Sydney Kings 69, Qantas Credit Union Arena The Sydney Kings said goodbye to the Kingdome forever on Sunday afternoon, but Perth’s Jesse Wagstaff spoiled the party in a milestone game of his own. In his 200th NBL outing (all with Perth), Wagstaff went mad with six threes in the final 8:14 of the fourth period to turn an in-the-balance game into an 18-point romp by full time. After Perth fought back from 10 down late in the third term, Sydney held a 59-58 lead at the 8:23 mark of the final period before the milestone man (26 points on 9-14 shooting) caught fire. The Wildcats rattled off an 18-4 run over the next four minutes and the game was buried. The Kings built some genuine optimism as Angus Brandt nailed three jumpers to take an early 7-2 lead, but Perth – struggling with 15 first-quarter points – got used to Sydney’s zone defence and hung around until money time. Brandt led the Kings with 17 points (7-10 FGs), but they shot just 3-28 triples (10.7 per cent) – their third-worst three-point shooting night (minimum 20 attempts) at the Kingdome in history. BOX SCORE Round 11 sees five games, tipping off with Melbourne hosting Sydney on Wednesday and Cairns playing for their playoff lives at home against Perth on Thursday. Friday is NSW derby night as Illawarra and Sydney do battle at the WIN Entertainment Centre, while Perth completes the Sunshine Swing in Townsville on Saturday. New Zealand rounds off the competition, hosting the Hawks on Sunday.
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