Defense was the name of the game for the Geelong Supercats in an exhibition match last night against Chinese youth team, the Dongguan Leopards. The visiting team, a development team for the Brian Goorjian coached CBA team, are in Australia on a twenty day tour to gain experience against some physically tough teams.
The game, sponsored by the Bendigo Bank, was an exhibition match held at the Corio Leisuretime Centre, with money being raised for The Samaritan House.
The Supercats team, consisting of a mixture of SEABL, Victorian Youth Championship, Under 20 and Under 18 players, comfortably defeated the Leopards 73-39.
Nathan Herbert was outstanding for the home team in his first game back in the Supercats colours after taking a year off from basketball, the former Adelaider 36ers player top scoring with 21 points. Fellow SEABL players Seb Loader and Nick Owusu contributed 13 and 11 points respectively, with eight of Nick Owusu’s eleven points coming in the last ninety seconds of the third quarter.
Although providing some tough defensive pressure of their own, the Leopards seemed to have trouble with the Supercats defense, with 26 turnovers for the game including a number of shot clock violations.
Head coach of the team, former SEABL Nunawading Spectres coach Craig Simpson, said that his players would definitely learn from the game. “I think they just got on the back foot a little bit, they aren’t used to this kind of physicality and it made for a sloppy shot selection. But that’s why we came out here to play, we want them to learn how to handle that pressure, and it’s good for them to come up against teams like this and be able to stand their ground. My team definitely isn’t used to losing by this much so it’s going to make them want to improve again.”
The Dongguan Leopards will play three more games in Melbourne this weekend and then head to Sydney for three games in NSW before returning to China. Craig Simpson said that it was good to catch up with family and friends on the tour. “I’ve been in China for eighteen months now and it’s the first time I’ve been home, so it’s great to be back on Australian soil.
Head Coach of the Supercats men’s program, Jamie O’Loughlin was pleased with the effort from the SEABL players as well as the up and coming younger guys. “We’ve only just started pre-season so our guys really aren’t match ready yet, but it’s good to have a hit out. What was really good though was seeing these younger guys out there on the floor, especially the under 18 kids, Ashish Motiani and George Blagojevic. Ashish unfortunately got a bit of an injury but George had a good game, he managed to score three points and he played fifteen minutes and showed some good things.
Another new face on the floor for the Supercats was Kristian Rocci, who has played in the Werribeee Big V Division 1 team for the last few years. “Kristian came to us and said that he wanted to do a pre-season with a SEABL team just to see where he is up to, so he’s been training with us,” said O’Loughlin. “He’s working to try and earn a place on our team so it was good to see what he can offer, he brought a lot of energy and intensity which was good.”
The Geelong Supercats will continue pre-season until the Christmas break, with further player announcements expected early next week.