THE Joondalup City Wolves replaced the Geraldton Buccaneers in second place in the Men’s SBL with a tense and tight playoff-type battle on Sunday while the Perry Lakes Hawks also further consolidated their finals position.
There were two matches on Sunday afternoon to conclude Week 18 of the 2017 Men’s SBL season with the Joondalup City Wolves beating the Geraldton Buccaneers 94-89 and the Perry Lakes Hawks downing the Goldfields Giants 98-76.
That came after the round began back on Friday night with the Perry Lakes Hawks beating the Rockingham Flames 88-73, the Lakeside Lightning defeating the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 114-100 and the Perth Redbacks downing the Willetton Tigers 82-73.
Then on Saturday night, the Perth Redbacks beat the Geraldton Buccaneers 96-90, the Lakeside Lightning beat the Goldfields Giants 91-85, the Stirling Senators downed the South West Slammers 105-95, the East Perth Eagles prevailed 129-122 over the Mandurah Magic and the Joondalup City Wolves beat the Cockburn Cougars 71-64.
WEEK 18 SATURDAY NIGHT MEN’S SBL RESULTS
WEEK 18 FRIDAY NIGHT MEN’S SBL RESULTS
WEEK 18 MEN’S SBL PREVIEW
REID KEEN TO CONTINUE GROWING WITH GIANTS
SLAMMERS STARS DELIVERING AS THEY EMERGE AS CHAMPIONSHIP THREATS
EVANS WOULD LOVE NOTHING MORE THAN DELIVERING SKIPPER A TITLE
OATMAN HOPES TO LEAD LIGHTNING’S DEVELOPMENT INTO 2018
Second spot was on the line when the Wolves hosted the Buccs at Joondalup Basketball Stadium.
Both teams were coming off tough encounters on Saturday night with the Wolfpack winning a fourth straight match beating the Cougars by seven points in a grand final rematch. The Buccs, meanwhile, lost their third match in-a-row falling to the Redbacks by six points.
That set the stage for a terrific contest on Sunday and it certainly didn’t fail to deliver. Both teams threw everything at getting the victory and the tempo, atmosphere and intensity was without a question playoff-like.
No more than eight points ever separated the two teams and the only thing slowing the tempo was the 42 fouls being called with Wolves captain Seb Salinas and fellow guard Reece Maxwell fouling out, and a host of Buccs players battling foul trouble.
It didn’t deter the teams putting on a great show, though, with the Buccs threatening to open a match-winning lead early in the fourth term leading by six points and then still being three points up 4:15 left after an unstoppable move to the hole by Dwayne Benjamin.
But Trian Iliadis responded with a three for the Wolves. A powerful put back slam by Ryan Wright on an offensive board followed by an Iliadis drive and layup saw the home side lead by three with 3:15 left.
Rob Huntington free-throws stretched Joondalup’s lead but a Benjamin triple kept the Buccs within three with time running out. The visitors then appeared to foul Iliadis with 1.5 seconds left. But the referees said it happened with no time left and that was the game.
It was a big win for the Wolfpack who move into second spot at 18-6 with the Buccs slipping to 17-6. But Geraldton does hold the series split.
Iliadis ended up top-scoring for the Wolves with 25 points including hitting 4-of-9 three-point attempts.
Wright added 19 points and six rebounds with Huntington contributing 11 points, seven boards and four assists, Salinas nine points, five rebounds and five assists, Maxwell nine points, Rhys Smyth eight points and Ben Ironmonger eight to go with nine assists and seven rebounds.
Benjamin once again starred for the Buccaneers with 30 points on 11-of-21 shooting from the floor, 3-of-6 from downtown and 5-of-6 at the foul line.
Mo Barrow added 17 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Buccs, Jackson Hussey 14 points and seven assists, Matt Hancock 10 points and Mat Wundenberg seven points and eight rebounds.
Buccs veteran Aaron Ralph remains confident in his team bouncing back from this four-game losing streak to move back into second spot and be primed for the playoffs.
“It’s just all about us ironing out a few kinks out down the stretch. In previous games things have fallen for us but when things don’t go our way we just have to get the offence running. We have quite a few kinks to iron out over the next couple of weeks before playoffs,” Ralph said.
“All three of those teams are quality opposition and it’s just a shot here and there, and execution down the stretch. Those are the things we need to iron out so that when it gets to the end of games we are comfortable in doing the things we need to win games like we were at the start of the year.
“I’m confident in this group that we can do that. That Mandurah game was one of those games to forget but that’s taking nothing away from them. They played exceptionally and outplayed us and deserved to win.
“A four-game losing streak doesn’t sound good for a team that’s sitting second, but we just have to focus on getting better over these last two weeks starting with another road trip next week.”
The other Sunday fixture took place at Bendat Basketball Centre with the Hawks taking on the Giants.
Perry Lakes was coming off a win over Rockingham on Friday night to remain in eighth position while the Giants’ playoffs were already over before losing a fourth straight match to Lakeside on Saturday.
Goldfields actually came out firing on Sunday with a dominant first quarter going on a 12-0 run and opening a 21-point lead. They were still up by 17 points at quarter-time.
But Perry Lakes had too much at stake knowing a loss would again open the door for the chasing Rockingham and Lakeside desperate for a playoff berth.
The Hawks began to steady the ship before half-time but the Giants still led 55-36 at the break.
It was all Perry Lakes in the second half, though, with the home team going on an 18-0 run at one stage and the 22-point lead at the finish was the biggest of the game.
The 43-point turnaround to score the important win was a good effort by the Hawks who have now won six of their past seven games.
Matthew Adekponya delivered another standout performance for Perry Lakes with 28 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocked shots.
Rob Waters added 22 points, six steals and five rebounds for the Hawks while Ben Purser finished with 21 points, nine boards and six assists, and Brian Carlwell 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Jacob Holmen again top-scored for the Giants with 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists with Jerome Reid contributing 14 points and five boards.
Atem Atem contributed 11 points and four rebounds for Goldfields, Daniel Goodluck 10 points and six assists, JB Pillard nine points and seven rebounds, and Brandon Holloway eight points and six assists.
FRIDAY NIGHT ROUND 18 MEN’S SBL RESULTS
Rockingham Flames 73 lost to Perry Lakes Hawks 88
Kalamunda Eastern Suns 100 lost to Lakeside Lightning 114
Willetton Tigers 73 lost to Perth Redbacks 82
SATURDAY NIGHT ROUND 18 MEN’S SBL RESULTS
Perth Redbacks 96 defeated Geraldton Buccaneers 90
Lakeside Lightning 91 defeated Goldfields Giants 85
South West Slammers 95 lost to Stirling Senators 105
Mandurah Magic 122 lost to East Perth Eagles 129
Cockburn Cougars 64 lost to Joondalup City Wolves 71
SUNDAY ROUND 18 MEN’S SBL RESULTS
Perry Lakes Hawks 98 defeated Goldfields Giants 76
Joondalup City Wolves 94 defeated Geraldton Buccaneers 89
Photo by Sebpix Photography