NWBU. The Tall Timbers Smithton Saints’ men overwhelmed third-placed Latrobe at home last night to take a thrilling 8-point win.
WOMEN: SMI 48 LAT 65
MEN: SMI 86 LAT 78
The Saints’ women weren’t so fortunate, going down to the Demons by 17 points in a fairly restricted affair.
In the men’s game, Smithton were showing positive signs early, rebounding well and shooting consistently to keep within five points of their opponents at the end of the first period.
Saints import Tyrone Lee was at his energetic best, grabbing almost every defensive rebound available before leading up the court to become a key target inside the arc.
Smithton held a one-point lead going into half-time, and battled strongly to stay with a Demons outfit who were keen on maintaining a top-four finish.
With just one point separating the two teams going into the final period, the Saints were able to gain the advantage with the help of several key two-pointers from Daniel Bransden and Steve Poulter on the fast break.
The home crowd was given plenty of reasons to cheer as the Saints held on to a narrow lead to record just their fourth win of the season.
Lee finished with a game-high 35 points and 28 rebounds, while Poulter contributed 23 points to the scoreboard alongside Jason Baker’s 12.
In the early game, the Saints’ women were looking to spoil the 300-game party for Latrobe’s Erin Mann, but fell behind by 10 points by the end of the first period.
Smithton’s Rhonda Price kept a constant presence at both ends of the court, finishing with a game-high 16 rebounds and 21 points.
Despite cutting the deficit to eight points by half-time, the Demons stepped up their intensity in the third, opening up a 16-point margin and maintaining the lead to the end of the match.
A highlight in the final period for the Saints was young Zebrina Tuaoi, who scored her first NWBU points with a successful shot in the last five minutes of the game.
The Saints take on Burnie at home next week in a split round, with the women playing on Tuesday night and the men playing on Friday night following the Allstars reunion match.