OVER the weekend, the finals kicked off for the National Basketball League (NBL)1 North Men’s competition, and it was an extremely entertaining group of games to kick things off. None more so than the clash between the the Mackay Meteors and the Northside Wizards in which the latter were able to chalk out an overtime win.
The two sides locked horns at Mackay Basketball Stadium on Saturday night, and delivered some of the most exciting action we saw all weekend. It was a game of momentum for much of the contest, with the Meteors grabbing control of the match in the second term, but the Wizards fighting back in the second half to force overtime. In extra time, a dunk to Northside’s star guard Anthony Drmic gave the Wizards the match-winning lead, as they emerged 98-96 winners on the road as they continue their march towards the 2022 title.
Despite a number of contributors chipping in over the course of the match, there was no one more impactful than Drmic, who led the way in a number of ways. It was a masterful shooting performance from the Brisbane Bullets gun, who nailed nine threes over the course of the game, and led all comers when it came to scoring and was among the most damaging rebounders too. To top it all off, he nailed the game-winning bucket, which was the cherry on top of a terrific performance.
Anthony Drmic vs. Meteors – 41 points (9/18 3PT), 11 rebounds
Leading the scoring front, Drmic was a match-winner in more ways than one, putting the Wizards on his back for much of the game. His work scoring the basketball was something to be marvelled, proving a lone hand on the offensive end at various stages of the game.
Of his 15 made field goals (from 31 attempts), nine came from downtown, as the Mackay defence struggled to keep an eye on him behind the arc. Drmic made half of his shots from behind the arc, which is impressive efficiency given how much defensive attention he was copping as the game wore on. He got off to a flying start in the first term, nailing three shots from this range.
The second term was a bit quieter from Drmic, but he was still able to beat the buzzer on the eve of half time to nail his fourth triple of the contest and bring his side back within two points after the Meteors wrestled back momentum in that quarter.
Quarter number three saw the defence collapse on Drmic around the perimeter, which would have certainly been the message at half time. To counteract this, the guard was able to fake the three-point attempt and blow by the Mackay defenders on a number of occasions, with a couple of inside buckets finding the bottom of the net.
With the game on the line in the fourth period, Drmic stepped up and recaptured some of his first quarter form. He led the Wizards offensively with some big buckets, whether it was with a big three-pointer or a tough and-one layup, he managed to get the team back in the game with some much needed scoring.
When the game went to overtime, proceedings were still tied up with just three seconds on the clock. From a sideline inbounds play, Drmic cut to the hoop and threw down the match winning dunk, topping off a marvellous day.
His rebounding was also something that impacted the game significantly, pulling down 11 boards for the match, which was the second most of anyone in the match. His timing was crucial in pulling these down, on his way to one of the best individual showings of the week.