SEABL: CJ Massingale reaches 200th game

CJ Massingale. Picture: Gary SissonsALL signs point to a big night at Knox Stadium when revered Knox Raiders import CJ Massingale celebrates his 200th game tomorrow (April 14) at 8pm.
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The Raiders will host Sandringham Sabres in the match which will see Massingale, who was named in the South East Australian Basketball League’s 30th anniversary side, reach a rare milestone for imported players.

It’s worth noting that Massingale hopes to soon lose his import title as he is heading towards Australian citizenship.

Massingale and the Raiders will come into the match hungry for a win after the Raiders dropped a special school holidays clash 87-84 against Dandenong Rangers at Dandenong Stadium last night.

After trailing 71-59 going into the final term, the Raiders fought back and took the lead behind the play of John Philip (20 points) and Lester Strong (18 points, nine rebounds, four blocks).

But just as the Raiders took the lead, the home side battled back with point guard Andrew Harms (23 points) making a tear-drop then some clutch free-throws to give his side a three-point lead with 11 seconds left.

As is so often the case, Massingale (19 points, nine rebounds), who had a quiet night, was left with the three-point shot which just missed handing the Rangers a surprising win.

Raiders coach Graham Longstaff said he expected a memorable performance from his star on such a big stage tomorrow night.

‘‘I’ve coached CJ for a long time now and I can’t remember him ever having two quiet games in a row,’’ Longstaff said.

‘‘His shots weren’t dropping tonight but he was playing good defence and passing the ball, that final shot wasn’t far off going in.’’

Longstaff also commended the Rangers on their defence which limited the usually potent Raiders offence.

‘‘We didn’t have a good night offensively,’’ Longstaff said.

‘‘But credit to Darren [Perry, Rangers coach] and his team, they played terrific defence and that was a factor.’’

Knox Raiders won their SEABL womens clash against Dandenong Rangers 65-54 last night.

New recruit Kelly Wilson, who plays for WNBL side Bendigo Spirit, continued her stellar start to the season with 30 points and nine rebounds while Odette Andrew added 11 points.

The Raiders women also play Sandringham Sabres before the men’s game tomorrow night with tip-off at 6pm.