Raiders ruthless in first half shooting display

Headshot of Cameron Newbold
Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser

Raiders’ under-18 development squad sent a statement to their fellow finalists in the Albany Basketball Association men’s A-grade competition after a dominant 40-point first-half in round 14 on Tuesday night.

The defending premiers were ruthless in the opening 20 minutes of their clash with Ambassadors, effectively ending the game by half-time as Keanu Weeden and Matt Leary led a shooting procession.

Weeden hit the first two baskets before Leary drained two from deep, and that was the trigger as the Raiders flexed their muscle and quickly raced to a double-figure lead. Not to be outdone by Leary, Weeden drained three consecutive triples as the lead ballooned beyond 20 points.

Ambassadors' Stuart Roberts runs his side into attack.
Camera IconAmbassadors' Stuart Roberts runs his side into attack. Credit: Albany Advertiser

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Leary collected 11 first-half points and Weeden had 13 by the main break, while six of their teammates were also on the scoresheet as the Raiders led handsomely 40-16 at half-time.

Ambassadors started the second half much better as centre Simon Clarendon began to assert his dominance.

Clarendon and forward Caleb Carmen went to work as Ambassadors dragged themselves back into the contest and the deficit was quickly reduced.

Ambassadors' Caleb Carmen goes to the basket as Raiders' Mason Tion defends.
Camera IconAmbassadors' Caleb Carmen goes to the basket as Raiders' Mason Tion defends. Credit: Albany Advertiser

A ninth field goal from Clarendon trimmed the margin to eight points with less than three minutes to play. However, Leary ensured his side would hold on, hitting a fifth three-pointer and then consecutive jump shots as Raiders won 63-48.

Raiders’ execution in the first half was simply outstanding.

Leary finished with 21 points and Weeden added 13, while Daniel van der Merwe was also impressive. Clarendon (16) was the shining light for Ambassadors, but the loss ended their finals hopes.

Raiders' Daniel van der Merwe shoots as Ambassadors' Simon Clarendon defends.
Camera IconRaiders' Daniel van der Merwe shoots as Ambassadors' Simon Clarendon defends. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Two late long-range baskets from Wade Eskett secured a finals spot for Crabs after they prevailed over Dugites 41-34.

Eskett hit two from outside the arc in the dying stages and finished with 13 points as Crabs won a sixth game of the season and went four points clear in fourth place.

Tigers won the other fixture in the penultimate round, downing Wolves 41-38, led by Tim Button (12) and John Santia (10).

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