The JackJumpers have experienced several ‘welcome to the league’ moments in their inaugural season, but this time they delivered the beatdown.
Notably it was Tasmania’s marquee point guard, Josh Magette (22 points, seven threes and eight assists) who led the team to a 24-point victory over New Zealand, the largest winning margin in the club’s short history.
Coming into the round all three of the JackJumpers’ imports (Magette, Josh Adams and MiKyle McIntosh) were under the microscope.
They have all struggled with their scoring and shooting efficiency, a big issue for an expansion franchise looking to its imports for consistent play and experience.
So it was fitting that Magette not only led the way in the team’s two games over the weekend, but elevated those around him.
He’s put up 38 points and 18 assists in his last two outings, which has coincided with back-to-back wins for the first time in team history.
He particularly caught fire in the second term against the Breakers, when he hit five of his seven three-pointers, all from well beyond the arc.
JackJumpers coach Scott Roth said he’s happy that Magette has found some consistency with his shooting.
“In the first half he hit some crucial shots and some open shots,” Roth said.
“Really those are the ones he usually makes in practice, they just haven’t translated to some of the games. Any time you’re making shots, that causes a world of hurt for teams on how to guard you.”
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But accurate outside shooting wasn’t something just reserved for Magette, as the rest of the team landed shots that hadn’t been falling for them all season.
Jack McVeigh (17 points and 3/4 from three) set the tone with eight points in the first term, to help create a strong early lead.
“We’ve really been stressing with Jack for the last two weeks or so on trying to create more shots for him, he’s one of our best shooters, if not our best shooter.” Roth said on McVeigh.
“He’s worked very hard to buy into what we’re doing, this is really his first time playing the four spot and he’s been a huge component of what we’re doing.”
Unlike past outings, Tasmania functioned like a well-oiled machine for the entire game.
From tip off, the JackJumpers’ energy and intensity was clear to see, two uncompromising traits the team has brought since its first game.
But Tasmania’s skills and shot-making haven’t always followed, with the team consistently suffering lapses during games. Sunday’s match represented the JackJumpers’ most complete performance to date, and they maintained a consistent lead while making their shots.
It also meant the team didn’t need to rely on the same players to perform.
Skipper Clint Steindl, who has arguably been Tasmania’s most reliable scorer, was held to zero points.
Roth said the victory is a testament to the hard work his team has been putting in and another milestone in their inaugural season.
“The win’s great, it’s our first streak of two wins,” the coach said.
“Everything’s a first for us so it’s exciting, they played well and it’s hard to play with a lead like that, but we kept our composure.”
A feature of the last two games has also been Matt Kenyon’s (two threes and eight rebounds against the Breakers) elevation to the starting five, something Roth said is reward for effort.
“I think the sky’s the limit for him, I think he’s a diamond in the rough who people have kind of passed over.
“A guy that probably nobody would have really signed if we hadn’t brought him in as a rostered player with our last spot.
“Every day he’s getting better and he deserves the right to be out on the floor and we’ll find minutes for him.”
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