Feature photo: Jacqui Neill
Original article can be found at the Geelong Advertiser HERE
THE Geelong Supercats overcame the absence of quality players to record big wins over Diamond Valley to cap off a successful double-header weekend.
With Rebekah O’Donnell missing in action for the women, and Ma’alo Hick and Wang Nyieth on the sidelines for the men, the Supercats still went on to win all four games.
They downed the Sandringham Sabres on Saturday before beating Diamond Valley on Sunday.
The Supercats women had a 95-55 victory, while the men also had a convincing 116-78 win against the Eagles.
In the women’s game, Sara and Steph Blicavs combined for 52 of the team’s 95 points, while Antoniette Emma-Nnopu notched a double double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
A 34-point second quarter for Geelong set the game up for the team, with the home side Diamond Valley not able to claw their way back.
The win is just the fourth of the season for the Supercats women, who are looking strong with the return of Sara Blicavs.
In the men’s game, Geelong continued their rise up the ladder, securing their seventh win of the season off the back of another impressive game from George Blagojevic.
Backing up from the previous night’s 36-point haul, Blagojevic added another 30 points and 12 rebounds to the second win in as many games.
Isaac Turner contributed 26 points for the game with 15 coming from beyond the three-point arc, while Owen Odigie was just shy of his own double double with 15 points and nine rebounds.
The win sees Geelong move into third place in the NBL1 South ladder.
Next weekend the Supercats venture across the Tasman for the postponed double header in Tasmania on Friday and Saturday night.
SABRES NO MATCH FOR OUR SUPERCATS
THE Geelong Supercats made a strong start to resume the NBL1 season, with both the women’s and men’s teams notching emphatic wins by more than 20 points over the
Sandringham Sabres on Saturday night.
The Geelong women controlled their game from the opening tip, putting on a show for the
home fans with a 17-3 run to begin the first quarter.
Jasmine Whatley had the hot hand in the first half, 11 of her 14 points coming in the first two quarters.
Sara Blicavs hit the Geelong Arena court for the first time this year and did not disappoint,
leading all scorers with 20 points while grabbing eight rebounds.
Captain Alex Duck also finished with an impressive stat line, just shy of a triple double with 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the game.
Jumping out to a 26-point lead by halftime, the Supercats were able to hold off the Sabres in
the second half and secure their third win of the season with a 94-71 victory.
Coach Matthew Paton praised his team’s consistency and acknowledged that having Sara Blicavs return was a boost for the team.
“Sara contributes a lot more than statistics,” Paton said.
“Offensively, it allows other people a bit of extra space, with defenders having to account for Sara and her skills.
“And at the other end of the floor, she is an extremely smart defender.”
The Supercats men also jumped out to an early lead over Sandringham in the second game of
the night at the Arena, leading the visitors by 11 points at quarter time.
The Sabres attempted a comeback in the second quarter, cutting the lead to just three points at halftime, before Geelong steadied the ship and ran away with the game in the second half, winning 101-74.
With George Blagojevic also suiting up for the first time this NBL1 season, he made his
presence known, finishing with a game-high 36 points to go with 10 rebounds.
Isaac Turner added 23 points and eight assists to the team’s stat line.
While coach Justin Schueller, fresh off a Melbourne United Championship win on Friday
night, was pleased with his team’s win, he expressed the need for the team to improve for the next game.
“We know we weren’t at our best tonight — even though the scoreline might look that way, we know there’s areas to improve,” Schueller said.
“The first half was frustrating for us, giving them 31 points in that second quarter. We flipped the switch in the second half and held them to just 31 for the half, so we did a better job on our assignments.”
Both teams will travel to Diamond Valley on Sunday for the second leg of their double
header this weekend. — BETH DAVIS