NBL1 East Players of the Week – Round 9

ANOTHER week of National Basketball League (NBL)1 East action saw plenty of double-doubles posted across both the men’s and women’s competitions.

Round 9 of the 2024 season saw a healthy balance of big wins and tight contests, as the contending sides flexed their muscles by reaching triple figures and blowing out their opponents in an ominous sign of things to come.

Across both competitions, there were some massive scoring and rebounding performances produced over the weekend, as the race for the end of season awards heats up as the fixture progresses.

With that in mind, Rookie Me Central will be taking a look at the standout performances from both divisions, after some big numbers were posted over the weekend. This time, Glenn Morison and Jihyun Park proved to be the most damaging with some huge figures coming from their respective outings.

Glenn Morison (Canberra Gunners) vs. Norths Bears

31 points, 15 rebounds, three assists, one steal, two blocks

On a weekend that delivered a plethora of strong individual performances, Morison was the best, leading his Gunners to an 11-point win over the Bears when the two sides clashed at North Sydney Indoor Sports Centre on Saturday evening.

The Gunners came into the game on an impressive winning streak, but the Bears had delivered strong performances of their own over the past few weeks, so it loomed as a danger game. It was a grind of a first half, with Canberra getting its nose in front, but forced to work for its five-point halftime lead.

However, a 28-14 third term put the game to bed given its low-scoring, tense nature, and although the home side tried to fight back in the fourth, it was too little, too late as the Gunners emerged 83-72 winners.

Morison was the star of the show for the Gunners, producing a stirring double-double to steer Canberra to another win.

The big man was extremely efficient from the field, making every post a winner with his scoring opportunities and torching the opposition with unstoppable shotmaking. He started the game in ideal fashion, knocking down an early triple in what was indicative of the rest of his game.

From the field, Morison shot an accurate 11/14 and knocked down all three of his triples, proving extremely important in the game-breaking third term. He did his best work trailing the ball carrier, catching the ball at the top of the arc and driving into the basket where the defence could not stop him.

On the glass, Morison was the premier figure for the match, controlling the skies and doing the dirty work to stop the opposition from getting first hands on the ball. He finished with a game-high 15 boards, and proved an immovable figure that hurt the Bears in a big way.

It was an excellent showing from Morison, who was a towering figure for the Gunners and boosted the team in more ways than one.

Jihyun Park (Bankstown Bruins) vs. Sutherland Sharks

32 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, four steals

Park was a one-woman army for Bankstown in what was a tough loss at the hands of the Sharks, falling by 12 points when the two teams went head to head at Bankstown Basketball Stadium on Saturday evening.

Despite a strong start in which they jumped out to an early lead in the first half, the Bruins allowed the Sharks to stay in the game on the eve of the main break. It went from bad to worse for Bankstown, as Sutherland steamrolled the opposition with a dominant showing in the second half, bursting the game open en route to a 93-81 win.

Although it was not the result she wanted for her side, the Bruins would not have even been in the fight if not for the performance of Park, who was the singular standout figure for Bankstown.

Offensively, Park was the spark in the first half that helped the Bruins get out to an early lead, starting the game in an aggressive manner by chasing her own miss and knocking down a jumpshot to register the first score of the match.

From there, she was able to find her rhythm, particularly shooting the ball even on the move or with a hand in her face. She knocked down several three-pointers to help Bankstown build a hefty lead on the eve of half time.

However, the opposition put plenty of work into her defensively in the second half, and she did not receive enough help from teammates to keep the Bruins in the match as the Sharks stormed home to victory.

She did lift her passing in the second half, taking advantage of the opposition’s overcommitment in guarding her and finding the spare teammate in a good position. Her seven assists were the most of any player on the court and helped Bankstown keep its score ticking over.

Although the loss is disappointing, the performance of Park was simply outstanding for the Bruins, and deserved a better result than it got.

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