THE National Basketball League (NBL)1 season has started in just about every state and territory, and there has been a lot to like about the start of 2022. Across the six competitions (one in each region bar Tasmania and the ACT), there is plenty of basketball to enjoy on a weekly basis. With the competition hosting a raft of NBL players and many that are approaching that level, every game is producing high calibre action.
On the weekend, the NBL1 North competition held its third round of the 2022 season, with a bumper schedule taking place over the course of the weekend. With plenty of spots up for grabs around the top of the ladder, there was a lot at stake in essentially every game. The Frankston Blues have kicked off the season in strong fashion, winning three of their first four outings, as they look to assert themselves in the top four. They took on the Sandringham Sabres, who have won just one game to start the year, so the Blues were expected to get the win, which is exactly what happened. One of the MVP candidates to start the year is Lachlan Barker, who has been electric for the Blues to start the year, and he added to these rumours in Frankston’s 25-point triumph on Sunday. The guard (who suited up for the Phoenix in the NBL a few times in the 2021/22 season) produced a marvellous performance with 37 points, nine boards and four dimes.
Frankston Blues (93) def. Sandringham Sabres (68)
Barker pulled down his first board of the game in the first minute of the game, and his impact only grew from there. He unleashed in the first five minutes of the match, scoring 10 consecutive points for the Blues, with a solid mixture of inside and outside scoring. It did not matter who was guarding him, Barker was a man on a mission, as he has been all season. After the defence harassed him in the minutes that followed, buckets were a bit harder to come by. He still managed two more shots from behind the arc, putting his points total to 16 for the term.
Barker kept rolling into the second term, opening the period with another lay-up. After a quiet period in the middle of the quarter, the guard managed to get back to his first quarter form with yet another offensive burst. He scored another nine points in the last three minutes of the half, including a ridiculous four-point play to give the Blues an 18-point advantage at the main change of play.
With his side well ahead on the scoreboard, Barker showed no signs of wanting to slow down, scoring the first bucket of the half with a crafty lay-up. There was no slowing down the NBL prospect, who added another six points for the quarter. While it did not reach the heights of his previous efforts, it is pretty hard to match what we saw in the first half of play.
While the buckets weren’t flowing as freely for Barker in the final quarter, the game was sealed so he spent a fair bit of time on the bench, so it makes sense. One highlight did come as he combined with his namesake in Lucas Barker to pull off an impressive alley-oop, topping off what was a wonderful day at the office, as murmurs of another NBL contract continue to grow.