NBL1 West Players of the Week – Round 9

WITH just a handful of weeks remaining until the end of the season, the race for the finals in the National Basketball League (NBL)1 West is truly starting to heat up.

Now nine rounds into the 2024 fixture, time is running out to book a spot in the postseason, and each game carries a level of significance on the standings with several sides well and truly in the hunt for a finals appearance.

With the games getting much more important, the best players in the competition are starting to put their respective sides on their backs and carry their team to victory with big showings.

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, Randy Bell and Daniel Raber have claimed the honours after producing some outstanding showings for their respective teams.

Randy Bell (Goldfields Giants) vs. Lakeside Lightning

32 points, eight rebounds, nine assists

Bell was everywhere for the Giants as Goldfields handed the Lightning a six-point loss in double overtime when the two teams clashed at Niels Hansen Basketball Stadium on Saturday night.

In one of the most exciting games of the 2024 season, the Lightning fought back from a nine-point deficit at quarter time to slowly chip away at the lead and eventually force extra time with a barnstorming finish. Overtime saw the two sides continue to match each other on the scoring front and it was not until the second extra period that the Giants were able to edge ahead to snag a 115-109 win.

The performance of Bell was a defining factor in the match, with a performance that was full of class and leadership.

He was clearly given the license on the offensive end, posting 32 points on 12/27 shooting from the field. No player poured in more points than Bell, and he always looked to create space and get to his spots, regardless of the defensive attention. Had his eye been in from three-point land (2/10 3PT), it could have been an even bigger game.

On the glass, Bell held his own with eight boards for the game, taking advantage of the opposition’s shooting, which was inaccurate at times, allowing the import guard to snatch the loose ball.

Although he was the go-to option on the scoring front, Bell was still able to share the ball and find his teammates in scoring position more often than not. He shared ball-handling duties with teammate De’Sean Parsons (23 points, nine rebounds, 10 assists) to ensure the team’s offence kept rolling at a consistent level.

Bell was a brilliant performer in a thrilling encounter for the Giants, showcasing why the team brought him in and exactly what he can do.

Daniel Raber (Cockburn Cougars) vs. Perry Lakes Hawks

32 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, three steals

Raber stuffed the stat sheet with a stirring performance as the Cougars comfortably dealt with the Hawks to the tune of 15 points at Bendat Basketball Centre on Friday night.

The Cougars were in control of the match for majority of the contest, jumping out to an early lead to take a solid 23-point buffer into the final change. Although Perry Lakes fought back late and held Cockburn to just nine points, it was too little, too late as the visitors produced an impressive 88-73 win.

Raber was one of the biggest factors in the game as the Cougars maintained a solid lead on the Hawks, proving a towering figure in the context of the match.

She was the top-scorer for the match, shooting 13/21 from the field en route to 32 points for the game. Whenever she got the ball inside the paint, she went to work at rolling to her spots and finding the bottom of the net.

Raber was also an influence on the glass, crashing the boards and getting front position in the box outs to record 13 rebounds for the match. That was also a game-high figure as she was the only player to record double-digits on the glass, showcasing just how far ahead of her peers she was.

It was a massive double-double from Raber, who helped the Cougars get into a winning position over the first three quarters.

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