NBL1 South Players of the Week – Round 8

ROUND 8 of the National Basketball League (NBL)1 South saw another 26 games take place around Victoria and Tasmania, with several going down to the wire.

Now past the halfway point of the fixture, both the men’s and women’s competitions are in the midst of a thrilling race for the finals, with the postseason standings set to go down to the wire in the coming five weeks.

As per usual, the big outings from an individual standpoint were everywhere over the weekend, with plenty of players impacting their respective outings in more ways than one.

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, Kyle Zunic and Isabelle Bourne stood above their peers with excellent double-doubles for the Keilor Thunder.

Kyle Zunic (Keilor Thunder) vs. Kilsyth Cobras

25 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, one steal

Zunic came quite close to posting a triple-double as the Thunder defeated the Cobras by 11 points when the two sides locked horns at Keilor Stadium on Saturday night.

For much of the contest, it looked as if the Cobras would steal an impressive road win, leading by 14 points at half time. However, the Thunder absolutely took over in the third term, outscoring the visitors 25-7 in what proved to be a defining period in the match, before storming home in the fourth to claim a 76-65 win.

Zunic was a massive spark for Keilor in the victory, chipping in on several fronts to help inspire an impressive turnaround from the Thunder.

Firstly, he was the game’s leading scorer with 25 points on 9/18 shooting from the field, including one three-pointer on three attempts. The Thunder looked to get the ball in his hands in the second half and he rewarded that change in gameplan with an impressive scoring showing.

On the boards, Zunic was always first on the scene to try and secure the possession after an opposition miss, pulling down 10 defensive rebounds to try and generate some transition offence, which was a big factor in the third term.

He was also a crafty playmaker in the win, often combining his defensive rebounds with clever passes in transition to set up his teammates. No player on the court recorded more assists, and his willingness to share the ball helped the Thunder get over the line.

Zunic was tremendous for the Thunder and was the catalyst for the second-half comeback that kept them on the winners’ list.

Isabelle Bourne (Keilor Thunder) vs. Kilsyth Cobras

31 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, one block

Keilor made it two from two with standout performances, as Bourne dominated in the Thunder’s 35-point win over Kilsyth at Keilor Stadium on Saturday evening.

The Thunder were in the box seat from the opening term, and took a double-digit lead into the main break. From there, the home team put the foot down further in the second half to turn the game into a blowout, cruising home to a 94-59 triumph.

Although she is one of the youngest players in the competition, Bourne was the standout with an enormous performance.

Her 31 points were the most of anyone in the game, and came on an accurate 12/19 shooting from the field. This total was boosted by six makes from behind the arc to showcase the impressive range she possesses.

Bourne was also a serious presence on the glass, pulling down 16 rebounds including five offensive boards to keep the possession alive for the Thunder. She towered above her opponents to get first hands on the ball and showed strength when doing so.

Bourne was at her damaging best for the Thunder in the big win, and looms as one of the future stars of Australian basketball.

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