NEWCASTLE Falcons overcame the loss of captain Jaidyn Goodwin to outlast Illawarra Hawks 78-66 in a tense NBL1 East Conference men's game at Newcastle Basketball Stadium on Saturday night.
In registering their 10th win from their past 11 games, the Falcons remained in top spot on the ladder with a 10-3 record ahead of Canberra Gunners (10-4), Inner West Bulls (8-5), and Illawarra, Maitland and Albury-Wodonga (all 8-6), but the under-manned Hawks pushed them all the way.
Goodwin had to be helped off the court after suffering a knee injury early in the third quarter, and he took no further part in proceedings.
Newcastle led 34-30 when Goodwin left the game and seemed unaffected as they established a 51-41 lead late in the period, but the Hawks closed the quarter on a 15-4 run to take a 56-55 advantage into the final term.
In Goodwin's place, Jakob Dorricott (14 points) made the most of his opportunities in the point guard position and provided energy and enthusiasm at both ends of the floor as the Falcons outscored the Hawks 23-10 in the fourth quarter.
Newcastle held Illawarra scoreless for the final three minutes and 45 seconds, finishing the game with eight unanswered points.
Swingman Ryan Beisty overcame foul trouble to amass 14 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocked shots in another impressive all-round performance, and big man Myles Cherry produced a game-high 21 points and seven rebounds despite close marking under the basket.
Matur Maluach (16 points, five rebounds) and Tom Dawson (seven points, 10 rebounds) also played valuable support roles.
"Games between Newcastle and Illawarra are always tough, always have been, whether it's seniors or juniors or whatever, and this was no different," Falcons coach Peter Astley said.
"They made us work really hard for that win and it was a really pleasing team win because of that. Losing 'Goody' meant we lost our on-court leader and that knocked us around a little bit but defensively we really stepped up in the fourth quarter and held them to 10 points, and that was without Goody and without Beisty for some of it because he had to sit with four fouls.
It was a really pleasing team win.- PETER ASTLEY
"Jakob did a great job when we lost Goody, Tom Dawson really clogged up the middle, and with Myles, Matur, Beisty and Jakob, we had four in double figures, so it was another solid team effort."
Earlier in the women's game, Newcastle avenged an 87-78 loss to Illawarra at the Snakepit on May 21 with a 101-57 rout of the fourth-placed Hawks.
Newcastle set the tone defensively from the opening tip-off, and their third straight victory pushed them to fifth with an 8-4 record, just one win behind Illawarra (9-4). The Falcons put on a three-point shooting clinic, making 16 of 35, and were just as dominant in the paint as they out-rebounded the Hawks 53-39.
Emily Foy nailed seven three-pointers from 11 attempts in her game-high haul of 27 points, Kate Kingham (13 points, seven steals, four assists) knocked down four triples, and Nicole Munger hit three in her tally of 19 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Chyra Evans had another big night out, putting together 23 points, 16 rebounds, three steals and two assists, and Rachael McGinniskin chipped in with nine points and five rebounds off the bench.
Newcastle will be back at home next Saturday in another NBL1 double-header against Hills Hornets.
AAP reports: The Australian Boomers made it two from two in their FIBA World Cup qualifying group after thoroughly outclassing Japan 98-52 victory in Melbourne on Friday night.
The Boomers made light work of their Japanese opponents at John Cain Arena to improve their record to 5-0 in Group B play and earn the chance to secure top spot with a victory over China on Sunday.
Australia closed the first period with a comfortable 22-13 advantage then exerted their dominance by restricting the visitors to just four points in the second quarter to take an emphatic 47-17 lead at halftime.
The Boomers continued to control the game at both ends of the floor after halftime, ensuring there would be no repeat of the previous night's second-half lapse against China as they closed out an impressive 46-point win.
Coach Brian Goorjian was pleased with the way the Boomers built on the momentum gained from the result against China, playing team-first basketball while integrating six new squad members into the program.
"The thing about this group is that they share the ball, there's no hogs out there," Goorjian said after his side amassed 25 assists to Japan's eight.
"If the guy is open for the next one, they throw it and that's just instinctive within the group. I think this group's playing a pretty good brand of basketball and they're doing the things you do that makes it attractive to the eye.
"They're covering each other's backs defensively and they're sharing the ball on offence. They're throwing that extra pass and that's nice."
The lopsided contest allowed Goorjian to hand all 12 squad members at least 10 minutes of court time with Sam McDaniel and William McDowell-White each tallying 14 points apiece, with Sam Froling adding 12 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots.
After struggling to make an impact against Chinese big man Zhou Qi, seven-foot former NBA centre Thon Maker retained his starting spot for the Boomers and inspired a run of 12 unanswered points in the first quarter by blocking two shots on one Japanese possession before sinking a wide-open three-pointer.
The home side quickly built on their nine-point edge with a 9-0 start to the second quarter before Japan's Luke Evans ended his team's scoring drought after five scoreless minutes.
But with Froling scoring with ease around the basket, the Boomers reeled off the final14 points of the half to storm ahead by 30 at the main break.
Tasmania JackJumpers teammates Jack McVeigh and Clint Steindl both exited the game during the third quarter with shoulder issues but the home side still managed to outscore Japan 21-10 for the term before going on to lead by as many as 54 points in the final stages.
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