Knox raids Frankston for NBL1 round 7 road win
In a high-scoring shootout at Frankston Basketball Stadium, the Powerade Frankston Blues were overrun in the final quarter by the Knox Raiders who came away with a 108-95 road win in round 7 of NBL1.
Led by Steph Reid’s 30 points and 8 assists, the Blues managed to stick with the talent-laden Raiders for three quarters. Yet despite their valiant efforts, Frankston out of legs down the stretch.
Richards was impressive for the Blues in just her second game back, adding 23 points (11-14 FG), 7 rebounds and 2 assists before fouling out midway through the final term. Her early exit coupled with that of fellow import JoAnna Smith (2 points and 2 assists) who also fouled out in playing just 17 minutes, conspired against the Blues from causing a big upset.
The Raiders were led by a massive 32 points, 20 rebounds and 6 assists from WNBL star Lauren Scherf who was a dominant force inside and out. The versatile centre combined well with Abbey Wehrung who exploded for 29 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists, together draining 9-14 three-pointers in a shooting exhibition.
Taylor Lee set the pace early in the first for the Blues, while the Raiders received good early production from Bec Ott. Wehrung caught fire from beyond the arc, draining three triples for the term. However when Erin Riley came up with a steal and then hit a buzzer-beater from almost mid-court, the Blues had tied up the game at 29-all.
As it turned out, it was the Reid and Wehrung show for most of the first half, with the star guards scoring at will at either end. Reid was causing most of her damage by getting into the paint, whereas Wehrung was on fire from beyond the arc. When Ott continued to hit from distance, the Raiders were threatening to blow open the game. Yet Reid and Richards lifted to another level to momentarily take the lead, however Marena Whittle scored just before the half time buzzer to have the Raiders in front by 1 point. Both Reid and Wehrung had compiled 21 points up to half time to have the crowd in a buzz.
Scherf tried to take control of the game in the third period, however the Blues continued to respond each time through either Richards, Lee, Riley or Reid, setting the scene for a final quarter whereby the home crowd were hoping for an upset.
Lee was found open on the win for a triple to open the quarter, and when Saraid Taylor was also fed by Reid for an open score, it was still just a 1 point ball game. However that would be as close as the Blues would get, with Wehrung and Scherf hit treys to quickly push the margin out to 9 points and from their they were never seriously challenged with Richards and Smith sitting on the sidelines with 5 fouls.
While Reid and Richards were the big scorers, Lee was also very good in contributing 19 points (3-6 3PT), while Taylor chimed in with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.
For Knox, while Scherf and Wehrung were the standouts, they also received 25 points from Ott, with the trip combining for a remarkable 86 of the Raiders’ 108 points.
Both teams shot better than 50% from the field, but it was the Raiders’ dominance in the paint that helped them earn victory, outrebounding the Blues 47-25 [Box Score].
The Blues will look to regroup as they seek their third win of the season next week at home against the Hobart Huskies before backing up to play the Ringwood Hawks on the road on Sunday.