Sabres hunt down Cavaliers

The Casey Cavaliers will need to re-build quickly after a tough night against the Sabres. 286580 Picture: IN2ACTIONPHOTOGRAPHY

By Lachlan Mitchell

Casey Cavaliers had a tough time of things against the Sandringham Sabres at Casey Stadium on Saturday night.

The Cavs were coming off a bye after a successful weekend in Tasmania a fortnight ago.

The Sabres were next on the agenda for the Cavaliers who enjoyed a distinct home-court advantage.

The women were on the floor first and faced the heat from the opening whistle.

Cavaliers Louise Brown got her account opened early and continued to be a threat offensively, but a quick Sabres run saw them lead 13-20 at the opening break.

A second-quarter run from the Sabres saw them continue to lead the way,

A Funda Nakkasoglu three then stretched the margin out to 17 half way through the second term.

The game continued to stretch further away from the Cavaliers, but Sarah Boothe made a last-minute three-point play after being fouled on a two-point basket….closing the gap to nine at half-time.

A third quarter performance from Nakkasoglu pushed the margin back out to 14 leading into the final quarter.

The Cavaliers managed to outscore the Sabres in the final term, 20-18, but it wasn’t enough to reverse the 65-77 final score.

Boothe top scored for the Cavaliers with 21 points, while also pulling in 16 rebounds, while Taylah Gilliam (16 points), Rachel Bell (15 points) and Brown (14 rebounds) were also influential figures.

Nakkasoglu proved the difference for the Sabres, putting on 24 points and shooting at a stunning 50 per cent from the three-point line.

Women’s coach Alex Palazzolo wasn’t in favour of his sides’ lack of intensity and energy throughout the game.

“It was disappointing to lose,” he explained.

“We feel like we didn’t play up to our level, we just seemed really flat and had no energy about us, which was disappointing because it was an important game for us in the scheme of things.

“We hope to bounce back this weekend.”

The side was coming off two strong wins in Tasmania against the Hobart Chargers and Launceston Tornadoes before the bye.

“We had a really successful trip to Tasmania, getting the two wins and just getting a bit of momentum and that was stopped with the bye,” he said.

“Ideally you would like to keep playing, especially when you get rolling with a few wins.”

The men had a much deeper fight on their hands against Sandringham with a slow first quarter from Casey seeing it trail by 11 at the first break.

William Hickey scored the first five points for the Cavaliers in a quick rush of points.

The Cavaliers managed to wrestle back momentum in the third quarter to lead by three going into the final term.

A final-quarter scoring run from Tohiraukura Smith-Milner led the Sabres to a 94-89 win.

Casey’s Jock Perry finished with 22 points, shooting at 62 per cent from within the arc, while a double-double to Hickey (15 points, 15 rebounds) kept the Cavs in contention until the final buzzer.

Both Cavs sides now face the Eltham Wildcats on Sunday afternoon at Casey Stadium.

The women kick things off at 1pm with the men’s team tipping off at 3pm.