THE Albury-Wodonga Bandits capped their most successful weekend of the SEABL season with an impressive road triumph over the Frankston Blues on Saturday night.
Following on from Friday’s last-gasp thriller over Brisbane, the comprehensive 95-76 win over the Blues was a wire-to-wire performance that gave the Border club its third straight victory.
The Bandits raced out of the blocks, establishing a 51-40 half-time advantage that was rarely threatened thereafter.
And it wasn’t just at the offensive end where the damage was done; a committed defensive effort from the Border outfit forced 26 Frankston turnovers and limited its own errors to just nine for the game.
Chief architect of the win was US playmaker Deuce Briscoe, who poured in a game-high 32 points to bounce back from a quiet night against Brisbane.
Fellow import Lamar Mallory again impressed with 22 points and 11 rebounds while the evergreen Nick Payne continued his Indian summer with a superb all-around performance of 17 points, three rebounds, four assists and five steals.
For Frankston, Matthew Hodgson top-scored with 22 points while import Brandon Polk added a double-double of 17 points and 12 boards.
Bandits coach Brad Chalmers acknowledged it was the most complete performance he’d seen from his players this season.
“Just a really good, solid win,” Chalmers said.
“The best game we’ve played all year so I’m very pleased to get that result.
“Again we had a couple of little patches where we struggled to score but it was overall a complete performance.
“I’m just very proud of the playing group for them to keep sticking with it.
“This sort of season can really eat at you but credit to them, they really took everything on board and they’ve shown some character.”
The win was the Bandits’ sixth of the season and just like the Brisbane triumph, also put a big dent in Frankston’s playoff hopes.
While frustrated it had taken this long into the season, Chalmers said the team had some genuine self-belief now.
“I wouldn’t want to be playing us, especially if you’re on the playoff bubble,” Chalmers said.
“If we can continue to play like this, we’ll be a really tough team to beat, I think we can win a few more games in this streak.
“I just want this streak to go as far as it can, see how much we can get out of this season.
“Teams now have to come in and beat us, rather than us beating ourselves.
“Deuce and Lamar have been good and Nick is just in a really rich vein of form.
“We’re getting some really good individual performances right now.”