Basketball: Breakers pull off impressive comeback

By Steve Deane

Breaker Daryl Corletto lays the ball up against the Townsville Crocodiles at Vector Arena last night. Photo / Getty Images
Breaker Daryl Corletto lays the ball up against the Townsville Crocodiles at Vector Arena last night. Photo / Getty Images

Breakers 88 Townsville 74

The Breakers arrested their form slump in the most dramatic fashion last night at Vector Arena, overcoming a 23-point deficit to record one of the great ANBL comeback victories.

The crowd of 4571 could have been forgiven for wondering which team were the defending champions as the Townsville Crocodiles pounded the Breakers 33-14 in a horribly one-sided opening quarter.

However, led by sparkling displays from Daryl Corletto and Thomas Abercrombie, the Breakers fought back in thrilling style and ended up running out convincing 14-point winners. Making his first start in place of the still struggling CJ Bruton, Corletto was particularly impressive. He ended with 16 points, many of them from clutch three-pointers that paved the way for the Breakers' remarkable comeback.

Abercrombie, who led the side with 19 points, appears to be a maturing talent. Anointed as the star of the future following Kirk Penney's departure, he stood up when his team needed him.

A sparkling cameo from Leon Henry on his return from injury was another major plus for a side that snapped a two-match skid to move to 6-3.

However Bruton's form and fitness remain a serious concern. After going 0-9 in Sunday's defeat to Cairns, he failed to put up a shot against the Crocs, recording his third scoreless outing of the season.

Their slow start didn't initially hurt the Breakers, with Townsville also struggling to find the hoop in the opening stages. However mid-way through the opening quarter the Crocodiles began to make a mockery of the common belief that the rims of the Vector hoops are unfriendly. The long ball did most of the damage for the visitors in their 33-point opening-quarter rampage, however the Breakers would have been bitterly disappointed with their lacklustre transition defence and wayward shooting.

With Peter Crawford, Michael Cedar and Jacob Holmes all on fire for the visitors, the lead blew out to 23 points after just 12 minutes.

It took Josh Bloxham's introduction off the bench to spark the Breakers, with the rookie guard's three-pointer finally arresting the Crocs' momentum. Abercrombie then discovered his touch, nailing back-to-back threes to help the Breakers claw back.

Abercrombie had a three-point attempt on the buzzer that would have closed the gap to single fingers, however the shot clattered away and the Breakers had to settle for a 21-14 second quarter.

The impressive Holmes lashed in his third three to start the second quarter but the Breakers weren't troubled, embarking on an Abercrombie and Corletto-inspired 12-0 run to pull within three.

Abercrombie's three-point play from a fast break gave the Breakers their first lead of the match with 11 seconds remaining in the quarter. Holmes finished the quarter the way he started it with a clutch three to put the visitors back in front by a point at the final break.

Henry's three-pointer gave the Breakers the lead and some early momentum to start the final quarter. The Crocs remained in the hunt until back-to-back threes from Corletto and Cedric Jackson kicked the Breakers eight points clear with 3.10 remaining.

- NZ Herald

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