Triple-threat Toohey batters Bandits

A MAGNIFICENT shooting performance from James Toohey was enough to get the Canberra Gunners past the Albury-Wodonga Bandits in the opening round of the NBL1 Men’s season at Lauren Jackson Sports Centre on Saturday night.

The Gunners stormed home in the final term to retake the lead after the Bandits claimed a scoreboard advantage in the third quarter, following an arm-wrestle in the opening half. Canberra jumped out to an early lead in the first term, but Albury-Wodonga tightened things up on the defensive end to remain in the match.

Although the home side took control of the game’s momentum in the third, a 26-17 final quarter from Canberra saw the Gunners snatch back the lead and hold on for a five-point road victory.

Toohey was clearly the match’s standout, registering over a third of his team’s points with a marvellous performance shooting the ball behind the arc. The Gunners offence worked extremely hard to get him open via screens and ball movement, and the guard certainly rewarded the team with his offensive output.

Albury Wodonga Bandits (80) def. by Canberra Gunners (85)

James Toohey – 32 points, one rebound

Toohey torched the Bandits defence with a mesmerising shooting performance from the field, doing most of his damage from long-range.

He poured in a game-high 32 points, an impressive feat given the fact that his side only registered 85 points for the match. His 19 field goal attempts were also an equal game-high figure, with teammate Glenn Morrison posting the same number of shots but making five less.

Toohey drained 63 per cent of his attempts from the field (12/19 FG), and at times, looked as if he could not miss, despite the defence’s best efforts.

He was the match’s biggest perimeter threat, looking to get open for a catch and shoot scenario whenever he could, and Canberra’s ball movement benefited that strategy. Toohey looks at his best when keeping the ball off the floor and firing off a shot almost instantly, and was able to do so quite a bit against the Bandits.

He splashed home eight three-pointers on 13 attempts, constantly hurting the opposition with his terrific shooting motion.

The most remarkable part of his performance is the fact that 18 of his 32 points came in the last quarter, when the Gunners made their run. With a good balance of inside lay-ups and perimeter shooting, he simply took over to produce a match-winning performance, and showcase the offensive capability he truly possesses.

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