Basketball: Breakers terrorise Townsville

By Kris Shannon

Five Breakers reached double figures, something of a hallmark last season, while Cedric Jackson recorded his third straight double-double. Photo / Getty Images.
Five Breakers reached double figures, something of a hallmark last season, while Cedric Jackson recorded his third straight double-double. Photo / Getty Images.

Breakers 93
Townsville 63

It looked like a mismatch on paper and that proved true in practice - the sleeping giant that was the Breakers offence is well and truly awake.

The league-leading Breakers (7-1) destroyed the winless Townsville Crocs (0-9) with ruthless efficiency tonight at Vector Arena, winning their seventh straight game 93-63.

The winning streak is now the second-highest in franchise history and, for the first time since their second ever game, the Breakers now have an overall winning record.

It was their 150th all-time victory, to go with 149 losses, and it's doubtful many of the preceding 298 games were as straightforward as tonight's.

Townsville always seemed set to struggle against the two-time defending champions and the Breakers, who had clipped the Crocs twice already this season, made sure of that as they busted out of a season-long offensive mini-slump.

Heading into the contest the Breakers' highest score of the campaign was 81 points - tonight they had 79 through three quarters.

"With a 21-point lead at the half, there's always that danger we let up a little bit and let them back into the game,'' coach Andrej Lemanis said. "But we kept out foot on the throat.''

The Breakers shot an impressive 48 per cent both from the floor and from deep and, for much of the second half, they threatened to double the Townsville total.

Five Breakers reached double figures, something of a hallmark last season, which Lemanis took to be an encouraging sign.

"We've always shared the ball well, we just haven't knocked down some shots so far this season,'' he said. "But now we're starting to get to that point where we've got more than three players playing well.''

Lemanis was pleased with different players contributing at different times this season, exemplified tonight by Alex Pledger's career-best 18 points and Cedric Jackson's third straight double-double.

The rout which was to follow certainly didn't seem apparent in the first quarter, as the Crocs continued to demonstrate a fondness for the Vector Arena rims.

Despite shooting 75 per cent from the floor Townsville went to the first break facing a double digit deficit, after the Breakers rode an 8-0 run to lead 31-21 at the end of a high-scoring opening quarter.

But it fell apart for the Crocs in the second as the shots stopped falling and the Breakers turned the screws on the stingy defence which has carried them this season.

The Crocs went more than six minutes without scoring either side of the first break and the home side were soon out of sight.

Tom Abercrombie's dunk following Peter Crawford's air-ball towards the end of the half provided both personal satisfaction - after the pair's clash in last season's playoffs - and provided the Breakers with a 21-point lead.

It stayed that way as the teams headed to the sheds, with Pledger's game-high 12 points helping the Breakers break 50 in the opening half for the first time this season.

If it looked all over at halftime, that feeling was soon magnified. By the time Townsville called for clemency with a timeout midway through the third, the Breakers' lead had ballooned to an insurmountable 29 points.

A couple of Abercrombie threes ignited the crowd and, with his side shooting better than they had all season, the only remaining intrigue surrounded whether the Breakers could crack a ton.

They were certainly on track at the final break, with back-to-back CJ Bruton threes boosting the advantage to 35 points.

With the game well and truly wrapped up Bruton took to entertaining the crowd in other ways, thanking a spectator with a kiss on the cheek after she helped him back to his feet when he tumbled over the advertising hoardings.

The Breakers followed Bruton's relaxed lead and slightly eased off, even affording to give a couple of development squad members a run, and fell just short in their search for a century.

Breakers 93 (Pledger 18, Abercrombie 16, Bruton 15)
Townsville 63 (Allen 11, Abney 11, Ervin 10)
HT: 50-29

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a4 at 24 Sep 2014 04:31:43 Processing Time: 522ms