The Melbourne Tigers Women and Men’s teams travelled north to the border to take on the Albury-Wodonga Bandits. Both sides were hoping to get back on the winners list and had taken full strength teams up north.
The Women were on court first against the Lady Bandits and in the 1st minute of the game the Tigers looked a bit off as they turned the ball over twice. It didn’t last long though as Hannah Zavecz was able to get herself the free throw line and made both shots to get the Tigers on the board. Moments later, Peri Kalka scored and the Tigers were out to a 4-point lead. The Tigers controlled the early stages of the game and with 4:08 left to play Louella Tomlinson scored on a jump shot to give the Tigers a 4 – 11 lead. The Tigers continued to extend their lead and with under 2 minutes to play the Tigers were out to an 11-point lead. The Lady Bandits scored the last 4 points of the 1st quarter though and the Tigers went into the Quarter Time break leading 10 – 17.
The Melbourne Tigers continued to control the game as they had gone back out to an 11-point lead inside the opening 2 minutes of the 2nd quarter before the Lady Bandits scored the next 5 points to being the Tigers lead back to 6. Albury-Wodonga were trying to work their way back into the game and after some back and forth action the Lady Bandits were back to within 4 points with 4:20 left to play in the half. The Tigers though used the last 2 minutes of the quarter to go on a late 11 – 2 run to take their lead to 27 – 40 at halftime.
The Tigers had been the dominant side in the 1st half but Albury-Wodonga were still in with a sniff when the 2nd half began and within 30 seconds of the 3rd quarter starting, the Tigers had extended their lead to 17. The Lady Bandits tried to answer back but the Tigers were having none of it and kept on working the Lady Bandits over. A 3-pointer by Monique Conti with 7:42 to play in the quarter kickstarted a big Tigers run that all but started to put the nails into the coffin early, as they scored the next 16 straight points. After Allison Dunkley-Smith made 2 free throws with 4:18 left, the Tigers lead was out to 30, 34 – 64. The Tigers continued their dominance as they went into the last break leading 40 – 72.
Louella kicked off the 4th quarter leading the Tigers to an opening 9 – 2 run by scoring 6 of those 9 points. The last basket put the Tigers up by 39. The Tigers got out to as much as 40 points until Louella took a seat midway through the last quarter and the nearly all the starters (just Briana Babic was left on the floor) were on the bench when the Lady Bandits tried to make a little bit of ground back. Which they were successful in doing after scoring 13 straight points. A last second shot by Briana Babic though gave the Tigers a comfortable 65 – 93 win.
With that win, the Women’s side has tied the Men’s win total for their debut season and tied the men’s win total for this year.
All Melbourne Tigers players scored in this game and all the starters scored in double figures with Hannah Zavecz leading the way with 17 points. Briana Babic had 16 points, Monique Conti added 13 points and Peri Kalka had 10 points but it was Louella Tomlinson who was the star of the night with 16 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and an incredible 9 blocks.
The Men were taking the court next hoping to break their 8 game losing streak and make it 2 victories for the Tigers trip up north. The opening minute of the game certainly made it look like the Tigers were going to be in with a chance when Daryl Corletto got going early as he scored the Tigers first 4 points inside the opening minute. The Tigers led 3 – 4 after 1 minute of play but from there the Bandits put an 11 – 1 run together and turned it into a 14 – 5 lead. The Tigers battled hard but the Bandit’s defence was making life hard for the Tigers shooters who struggled to find the bottom of the net. By the time the end of the 1st quarter came around the Tigers were down 25 -17.
The Bandits continued to put the pressure on the Tigers at the start of the 2nd quarter as they opened up with the first 7 points before Bo Liu got going. Bo scored all 6 of the Tigers points in the early going of the quarter but the Bandits were still going as they scored 7 points. With 5:14 still left on the clock a 3 to Albury-Wodonga gave them a 20-point lead and the Tigers were staring down the barrel. In response the Tigers in a little around 2 ½ minutes outscored Albury-Wodonga 14 – 5 and cut the lead back to 11 points. Albury-Wodonga responded with a 7 -4 run to outscore the Tigers to close out the quarter and take a 56 – 42 lead into halftime.
The Melbourne Tigers had work to do in the 2nd half and they got down to business as quickly as they could. Within 2 minutes they had closed the margin to 8 points and were beginning to look dangerous. After Albury-Wodonga had taken the lead back to 11 on a 3 pointer. A Jimmy Todd jump shot brought it back to 9 points with 5:55 to play in the 3rd quarter. That would be the closest the Tigers would get though as the Bandits closed the quarter out outscoring Melbounrne 24 – 11 which gave them a commanding 88 – 66 lead heading into the last quarter.
The Tigers entered the last quarter with the task of trying to get some respectability into the score line and with 6:35 to play in the game. The Tigers had only gotten the Bandits lead down to 19 and that would be as close as they would get. Albury-Wodonga would close the game out on a 12 – 4 run and take a comfortable 107 – 80.
The Men might have lost by a large deficit but the score could have been much closer. The Albury-Wodonga Bandits shot 15/15 from the free throw line where as the Tigers had shot 6/16. The Tigers also allowed the Bandits to shoot at 55% from the floor compared to the Tigers 43%. With the Tigers taking 6 more field goal attempts than the Bandits but made 6 less. The Tigers were much improved on 2nd chance points and points off turnovers, winning those stats. The Bandits did win the battle of the boards by 10 but the Tigers won the offensive boards 10 – 6.
The Tigers leading scorer was Ari Stewart with 23 points. Ari also had a team high 8 rebounds. Daryl Corletto had a season high 14 points and Bo Liu off the bench added 12 points and 6 rebounds.