Olympians upset competition leaders Franchise in Goldfields basketball fixtures

Neale HarveyKalgoorlie Miner
Saints' Michael Wood and CBC's Sam Morrow.
Camera IconSaints' Michael Wood and CBC's Sam Morrow. Credit: Carwyn Monck/Kalgoorlie Miner/Kalgoorlie Miner

Goldfields basketball’s men’s division 1 competition has suddenly taken on a new look after last-placed Olympians upset highly-touted Franchise last Friday night.

A week after Franchise coach Scott Manton warned that Olympians were building in strength and confidence, the red and whites tuned in a season-best display on the back of Mitch Sheppard’s team-high offence to win 62-57.

Jerome Reid scored a game-high 25 points for Franchise.

But it was negated by Sheppard’s 20-point haul in the opposition camp and a combined 25 points from teammates Garry Sidebottom and Hamish Cummings.

It was just Olympians’ second win of the season and broke a frustrating drought since toppling Saints by 21 points in round three.

Olympians also displayed some defensive nous, with Ethan McGhie’s 10 points the next-best alongside Reid, but short of his season average of just under 14 per game.

Franchise, however, were without Russell Hurst, who is averaging a competition-best 25.25 points per game through his eight matches.

Olympians’ Mitchell Sheppard during round five of the men’s division one Kalgoorlie-Boulder Basketball Association league
Camera IconOlympians’ Mitchell Sheppard during round five of the men’s division one Kalgoorlie-Boulder Basketball Association league Credit: Amber Lilley/Kalgoorlie Miner/Kalgoorlie Miner

Manton said his players fought it out well, but was full of praise for Olympians.

Despite the result, Franchise retained a one-game lead in the standings.

“It was disappointing to lose, but we’ve still had a decent start to the season with a lot of interrupted line-ups,” Manton said.

“Olympians played well, limited our inside presence and outclassed us.

“But to our credit, we were still in it until the last possessions.”

Round 10 got under way last Thursday night, when Saints cashed in on big offensive nights from Michael Gardner and Manylok Malek to edge CBC 85-78.

Gardner led the charge with 25 and Malek (23 points) proved how important he will be at the business end of the season after last month being reacquired by the Goldfields Giants for the 2022 NBL1 campaign.

Malek was the Giants’ 2020 MVP.

Laine Warena rounded out Saints’ offence with 16 points.

In a classic shoot-out, Sam Morrow (24 points), Harrison Klasztorny (21) and Miles Tierney (18) all turned in big games for CBC that went unrewarded.

The Collegians, however, remain a game clear of Saints in second place.

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