COMPOSED and clinical – the Albury-Wodonga Bandits took care of business on Saturday night.
Improving to an 8-6 record with their 107-80 thumping of the Melbourne Tigers, the Bandits will now hit the road for consecutive double-headers.
The box score was a showcase of everything that makes the Bandits one of the most potent offensive teams in the league this season.
Deba George once again led the way finishing just a few rebounds shy of a triple double on his way to 22 points, eight rebounds and 1 assists.
TJ Robinson (22 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists) dominated around the basket, while Darcy Harding (11 points) and Sawyer Dearborn (7) provided plenty of spark coming off the bench.
Mitch Newton (21, 10) and import JT Terrell (18, 3 assists) also provided important contributions.
Head coach Brad Chalmers said it was a solid performance ahead of a tough two-week stretch.
Our ball movement was good, we were making the extra pass - something we've talked about doing recently.Brad Chalmers
“We were pretty tidy, it was a nice all-round performance,” he said.
“Everyone played their role, it’s good to chalk one up before going on the road for a couple of weeks.”
Harding appeared fully fit after returning from an ankle injury, while Dearborn is back to full strength now as well.
The Bandits outscored the Tigers in all four quarters, but Chalmers said work still needed to be done on their defence.
The Tigers have been averaging 75 points per game, but scored 80 against the Bandits.
“I think it was a bit difficult not to look at the scoreboard at times," Chalmers said.
“Once we get someone down, we need to do a better job of staying with it and throttling them.
“They were able to tighten things up at times, but to our credit, we were able to get back in control.
“It’s still hard to know exactly where we’re at with our defence.
“We have to focus on every possession, play hard, especially with a big couple of weeks coming up.”
Next-week’s back-to-back, starting with a Friday night match against south conference leaders Hobart, will mark a crucial juncture in the Bandits’ season.
Successful road trips will close the gap between them and third-placed Geelong (10-5), while dropping too many will put them in a race for fourth place with Sandringham, who are two games behind the Bandits at 8-8.
The Tasmanian road trip could potentially be a season-defining one for the Bandits – the Chargers are on a two-game losing streak, while Saturday’s opponent, fifth-placed North-West Tasmania, have won their last three.
After achieving a level of consistency over the last month, if things go the Bandits’ way they could make the playoff for a third-straight season, a feat never achieved in the club’s history.