Bozeman and Barker lead Blues to first win against Geelong
A massive night of round 3 NBL1 action at Frankston Basketball stadium on Friday was capped off with the Frankston RSL Blues fending off the Geelong Supercats to register their first win of the season.
Trailing by 3 points at the last break, the Blues outscored the Supercats 27-19 in the final term to take the win 77-72 behind big performances from import Damon Bozeman (20 points and 5 assists), Igor Hadziomerovic (17 points and 8 rebounds) and Lachlan Barker (16 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals).
Yet the final term was far from clinical despite the Blues having control for most of the period. Geelong tied the scores at 68 when Nick Owusu was left open on the left wing to hit a clutch three-pointer. However the Blues were not to be denied, with Barker responding by making a circus shot at the other end for three and-one to put Frankston ahead for good. Bozeman calmly hit all four of his free throws while Barker added another two of his own down the stretch to ensure a first win of the season in front of a vocal full house.
It was the Blues who got off to the fast start, with Hadziomerovic and Bozeman looking dangerous early. A three by Alistair Macdonald which was followed by a Barker lay-up had the home side leading 12-6. Despite Geelong star DeMarcus Gatlin threatening to take over the game, it was Frankston would maintain their momentum to take a 7 point lead into quarter time.
Geelong changed up their defense in the second, employing a full court press. It paid dividends, forcing the Blues into turnovers and restricting them to just 6 points for the term, punctuated by a Cohen Blyhe steal and over the head assist to Gatlin for the breakaway dunk. The visitors would compile 16 points in comparison to take the ascendancy and a 3 point half time advantage.
The Blues made some adjustments at half time, with their ball movement improving as they attempted to regain control of the contest through Bozeman and Barker. Yet Lewis Thomas was stepping up for Geelong, and together with Gatlin and a triple by Blyhe saw the margin quickly blow out to 9. Through sheer determination, the Blues hung tough and made a living at the charity stripe, with a late Macdonald three closing the margin back to just 1. Gatlin’s floater to closer out the term had Geelong back in front by 3, but with the Blues starting to build momentum.
Both sides traded blows early in the final period, with Bozeman again looking to impose himself on the game. Macdonald hit his third triple of the night to put the home side back in the lead by 1 and to have the fans on their feet, setting the stage for a thrilling victory.
Blues import Najeal Young who played his first game after arriving in the country on Monday, added 4 points, 3 rebounds and 3 steals in a foul plagued 16 minutes. MacDonald added an important 11 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists off the bench, with the blues earning the win despite Majok Majok being limited to just 6 points and 7 rebounds [Box Score].
For Geelong, delivered a game-high 21 points with 10 rebounds and 5 assist, ably supported by double-digit scoring games from Owusu (14 points), Ma’alo Hicks (14 points and 7 rebounds), and Lewis Thomas (11 points and 11 rebounds).
Breaking through for their first win of the season, Frankston and head coach Andrew Harms turn their attention to Bendigo for their Thursday night clash before they return home on ANZAC Day eve when they host rivals Dandenong on 24 April. It is sure to be a cracker of a contest and one of the best nights out a family can have on the peninsula.