THE Kennedy’s Tours and Bomaderry RSL Shoalhaven Waratah State League Tigers have taken one step closer to achieving their goal for season 2013 when they defeated the highly rated Sutherland Sharks on Saturday afternoon with a solid 66-49 win at the Shark Tank.
The Tigers made the short trip up the Princes Highway on Saturday afternoon with a great band of loyal supporters to take on the Sharks in a second chance quarter-final.
The Tigers started the game in a typical Shoalhaven fashion, allowing the Sharks to get out early.
But the ship was steadied when the Tigers opened their scoring with Brent Nemeth and skipper Tom Cook made consecutive sets of free throws followed by a field goal from veteran off guard Paul Roddam and a triple from Jeremy Goode.
Tigers coach Scott Balsar set the game plan out for his team and it was all about the defence.
“Veteran teams like Sutherland usually shoot the ball about 45 per cent so it was all about limiting their touches, winning the rebound count, and at the same time taking care of the basketball and not turning it over while we had possession,” he said.
“All year our focus has been to keep teams to just 10 points a quarter, and we were pretty close to doing this. Sutherland scored 13 in the first, nine in the second, 14 in the third and 13 in the final quarter, so we were just off the mark. But we managed to get the job done.”
The second quarter saw the Tigers push their early lead out to as many as 18 at one stage, forcing the Sharks to go to a zone defence which rattled the Tigers’ offensive structure, allowing the Sharks to claw their way back into the game. Balsar reinforced his zone offence through a timeout to get his team back on track.
The Tigers continued to struggle against the zone, but managed to keep their noses in front.
This again was generated by the solid defence and continued pressure on the Sharks guards.
At the end of the major break the Tigers led 32-22.
The start of the second half saw the Tigers surge ahead, forcing the Sharks into errors and turnovers, allowing the Tigers to again push their lead out.
The composure and patience kept the Tigers’ scoreboard ticking over.
This was orchestrated by the Tigers guard rotation in Cook, Chiumento and Roddam.
American import Chris Moore was proving to be a handful for the Sharks’ bigs on the boards, while cleaning up any of the Tigers’ missed attempts.
Some solid minutes by Keiryn Corbyn and a short stint by veteran centre Brad Mulvihill allowed Balsar to rest his bigs in Nemeth and Moore, and they continued to keep the work rate up and the interior presence that Nemeth and Moore had created all game.
Ben Morris saw some valuable time as well, giving Jeremy Goode some well-earned rest.
Cook, Chiumento, Goode and Roddam continued to attack the basket and at the end of the third the Tigers led 49–32.
The final quarter started at a frantic pace with the Sharks finding the basket and starting to get into a flow.
Again Cook, Moore and Roddam answered coach Balsar’s plea, scoring back to back baskets and getting to the free throw line to make three-point plays, edging their team ahead.
With less than three minutes to go, the Tigers had pushed ahead by as many as 15 points and it looked like they were going to secure the win.
The Sharks injected their three-point shooters to try and reign the lead back in, but again Cook and Moore combined to keep the Tigers in front and secure the victory and a spot in the final four.