Mildura Weekly : Friday April 8 Vol 10 No 22
SPORT 27 FRIDAY, APRIL 8, 2016 MILDURAWEEKLY.COM.AU Import Alli stars in Lady Heat debut By ADAM LUITJES AZZCO Engineering Mildura Lady Heat American import Alli Gloyd, LEFT, has expe- rienced a dream start to her Big V Basketball League career by being named Player of the Week for Round Two. The 24-year-old starred in her team’s double-header demolition of Latrobe City and Craigieburn last weekend. With captain Vanessa Power sitting on the sidelines due to injury, the University of Arizona product was Mildura’s main offen- sive threat shooting a total of 58 points in the two games. The 185cm forward was equally impres- sive on the boards, registering a total of 42 rebounds during the weekend. “Obviously the statline looked good, but I’m more happy that we are 2-0 and it was definitely a team effort,” Alli said of her de- but. Down by eight points at three quarter time against Latrobe City, the Lady Heat ral- lied scoring 29 points in the final quarter to record a 12-point win, while Sunday’s game saw Mildura demolish a hapless Craigieburn Eagles by 50 points. “It was good competition especially the first game,” Alli said. “It was a lot different to what I am used to, but it wasn’t bad. “The first game had us rattled and we were down the majority of the game, and then we fought our way back. They (Latrobe City) were a pretty solid team.” Supported strongly by a number of her teammates including Bronte Clark and Mi- kayla Delcastegne, the Pheonix, Arizona na- tive was impressed by what she saw on the weekend. “Obviously it’s the beginning of the sea- son for us,” she said. “We still have a lot of things we have to work on. One of those – which will happen naturally as time goes on – is team chemistry, so we’ll get that going for us. “I think we have got a great group of girls, and we have a group of girls who can play, want to compete and want to win.” Used to flying all over the country dur- ing her American college career, Alli said she used last weekend’s road trip to Melbourne as a way to get to know her new teammates. “It was cool, we spent a lot of time to- gether,” she said. “We spent six hours on the bus and then we had some time in the ho- tel, and we did breakfast and all that stuff together. “It was a lot of fun, and it was great get- ting to know them, they are a great group of girls.” Alli has a chance to continue her hot streak tomorrow night when Mildura take on ninth-placed Chelsea at the Toyota Hot- house. “I’m so excited,” Alli said. “Being away was great and coming back with two wins is definitely good, but I can’t wait to put on a show for the crowd here.” By Alan Morris OPERATIONS manager and director of coaching, Russell Knights, believes a packed house is on the cards tomor- row night following excellent performances by Mildura’s senior basketball teams on the road last weekend. Coaches found themselves digging deep into the psycho- logical side of coaching to mo- tivate their players because of major setbacks. Both teams had suffered adversity prior to the week- end’s games, with both coach- es successfully convincing their players to turn adversity into advantage. Lockstar Homes Mildura Heat coach, Jason Spratt, was anxiously waiting until the last seconds for a phone call from the visa department to clear Calvin Henry’s replace- ment Decorey Jones. That phone call didn’t come, and the Heat had to face the double-header with only the one import. This was yet another blow for first-year coach Spratt to contend with, following the debacle with Henry’s visa re- quirements. Spratt, even though his team was undermanned, was able to motivate his players to scrap it out against Latrobe, and in a low scoring affair fell just short by a meagre two points. Second-year import An- thony Thomas was in fine form registering a double- double (22 points and 19 re- bounds) to lead the team in scoring. Jason Spratt also lifted his scoring line with 15 points and Dave Meyer, who was dogged in defence, played a full 40 minutes. Brent Symons also showed he could be in for a good year with a solid 15 points. The final result was Latrobe City Energy 68 to Mil- dura Heat 66. In the following game An- thony Thomas again led all scorers with 20 points to con- vincingly defeat Melbourne Uni 80 to 69. Spratt has big shoes to fill in replacing former coach James Madigan, who had suc- cess with the team a couple of seasons ago. Jason came up playing under Rex Nottage and David Ingham, when the Mavericks were in the higher ABA com- petition, and even though it will be tough being a player- coach, he now has Calvin Henry as an assistant backing him up on the bench, which will help him no end. Azzco Engineering Lady Heat Coach Ian Sandiman also faced major adversity with his main scorer Vanessa Power sitting on the sidelines with a hand injury she sus- tained in the local Premier League grand final. Power, a prolific scorer, had a 49-point game last sea- son and losing her scoring ability is devastating for the team. When asked how he would face the loss, Ian nev- er wavered in his faith in his young charges. His comment was that with Vanessa out, he knew he had to convince the girls to in- crease their self-belief and step up, and the team was able to do just that. What also helped bridge that gap was the inclusion of new American Import Alli Gloyd. Throw in Bronte Clark, who has returned home after a stint playing with the Ballarat Rush in the Australian Basket- ball Association. Clark was the dynamo driving the Mildura Heat Ju- nior Under 16s team when it took out the 2009 Victorian State Country State Title, and finished top eight at the Na- tional Classic. She made it onto the Vic Country State team, and was also a member of the Vic Met- ro side that took out the Un- der 20s national title in 2012. Bronte figured strongly in the Lady Heat’s first game last weekend against Latrobe City. From the outset Latrobe were looking great and led at quarter time by eight points. Despite efforts from Gloyd, Clark, Georgia Mayne and Mikayla Delcastegne they were still trailing at three quar- ter time. In the last quarter an un- believable change took place, Gloyd was rebounding all the defensive boards, which set up the Lady Heat’s runners on the fast break. Everything just lifted, shooting percentage went up, and the Lady Heat’s smoth- ering defence impacted Latrobe’s shooting percentage in the last quarter. An unbelievable 29-point run in the last quarter saw the Lady Heat secure victory by eight points. In the second game against Craigieburn the magic run continued, and from the out- set it was evident that Eagles were going to be no match. This gave coach Sandiman the chance to give all his play- ers significant minutes. Mikay- la Delcastegne showed some of what she picked up while playing for Hartford Univer- sity, shooting 20 points. Big V Basketball League Youth Player of the Year Court- ney Sandiman came into her own with 13 points, and Gloyd again showed her class scoring 31 points and 22 rebounds. An undermanned Sunray- sia Petroleum Youth League side had their colours lowered with Craigeburn almost dou- bling their score 112 to 67. Mildura’s Harrison Cur- ran had a night out with 21 points and newcomer Craig Baker also scored strongly and rebounded well. Damien Ryan also did his part with 11 points and six re- bounds. This weekend’s Toyota Hothouse triple-header – which starts at 4pm with the Youth League – will give spec- tators an opportunity to get their first glimpse at new im- ports Alli Gloyd and Decorey Jones, ABOVE. Packed house expected for basketball triple-header This weekend’s Toyota Hothouse triple- header – which starts at 4pm with the Youth League – will give spectators an opportunity to get their first glimpse at new imports Alli Gloyd and Decorey Jones (PICTURED).
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