Hodgson stars in college game

A LITTLE bit of the US came to Bundamba on Monday night and no-one left disappointed.

From the national anthems belted out before the game it was clear something special was happening when the St Mary's Gaels took on the Cairns Taipans at Ipswich Stadium.

The US college team were in town as part of their Australian pre-season tour, with Ipswich product Matt Hodgson the star attraction.

Hodgson gave a sign of things to come to the crowd of more than 400 with a reverse dunk in the warm-ups.

Once the game started Hodgson moved well for a big bloke playing with a hole in his meniscus.

However the Cairns defence played tough and tight, making it difficult for Hodgson and the other Gaels big guys to find any space under the basket.

The intense defence from both sides meant scoring percentages were unflattering.

Both teams improved as the game wore on, but Cairns' greater cohesion earned them a 76-66 win.

The Gaels lack of structure was partly because of their high rotation policy, but head coach Randy Bennett was happy with what his team got from the match.

"It was a good game," Bennett said.

"It's tough because we played (rotated) 13 guys.

"It's a fine line between being competitive and wanting to win while making sure you give everybody some experience."

The loss meant the Gaels had won three of their five games on tour, before a rematch with the Taipans at Southport last night.

"We know we can compete with these guys," Bennett said.

"We're getting better every game. I think we were outplayed in the guards.

"I don't think we were great at anything but our inside guys played well."

Bennett was happy with Hodgson's contribution, while offering some advice.

"He had some good moments," the coach said.

"His inside play was pretty good.

"He needs minutes and experience out there, under pressure, to make some plays.

"As do the others.

"It was good for him having the pressure of playing in front of his home crowd. He played well and is progressing on this trip."

TOUR DOWN UNDER

  • St Mary's 72 def Wollongong Hawks 69
  • St Mary's 69 def Manly Warringah 55
  • St Mary's 81 def Dandenong 68
  • Melbourne Tigers 70 def St Mary's 67
  • Cairns Taipans 76 def St Mary's 66


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