THE Perth Redbacks are still awaiting their Men’s SBL Grand Final opponents after the Joondalup City Wolves claimed a thrilling 87-84 victory in Game 2 of the semi finals against the Geraldton Buccaneers on Saturday night.
The Redbacks booked their spot in the Grand Final for 2017 next Saturday night at Bendat Basketball Centre by beating the Willetton Tigers in two games confirmed by a 101-92 victory on Friday night at Bendat Basketball Centre.
But their opponents are still yet to be determined after the Wolfpack claimed the three-point victory over the Buccs at Joondalup Basketball Stadium on Saturday night.
That means Game 3 will take place back at the same venue on Sunday at 12pm in what will officially be the last ever SBL fixture in the stadium.
GAME 2 MEN’S SBL SEMI-FINAL FRIDAY NIGHT RESULTS
WRIGHT QUICKLY ENDEARS HIMSELF AT WOLFPACK AS HE CHASES FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP
SEMI FINALS WEEK 2 MEN’S SBL PREVIEW
REDHAGE ENJOYING SBL EXPERIENCE AT REDBACKS MORE THAN HE IMAGINED
ARMOUR STRIVING FOR BOYHOOD DREAM WITH WILLETTON
BRINGING SUCCESS TO PLAYING GROUP, REDBACKS LACKOVIC’S FOCUS
The Buccs took the series lead by winning Game 1 against the Wolves in Geraldton last Saturday night setting the stage for a fascinating weekend at Joondalup Basketball Stadium.
The Buccaneers started on fire racing to a 10-2 lead to further put the pressure back on the Wolfpack, but the home team responded with the next eight points to tie scores up.
The Buccs took a three-point advantage into quarter-time on the back of a three from Dwayne Benjamin and that lead soon became seven to start the second term when the returning Alex Ducas scored and Mo Barrow made two free-throws.
Benjamin and Jackson Hussey then combined to help Geraldton to a game-high 11-point lead but the Wolves finished the half well including triples to Seb Salinas and Ben Ironmonger to be within a point at the main break.
Once more, though, it was the Buccaneers who pulled away again to start the second half going on a 7-0 run to lead 59-52. But again Joondalup hit back and took a narrow lead shortly before three quarter-time with scores locked at 66-apiece heading into the fourth.
For the first time in the game it was the turn of the Wolfpack to open up a handy lead to start the final quarter. After four quick points from Trian Iliadis and a big Ryan Wright block on Benjamin, they were up 77-69 with under six minutes left.
A Salinas three-pointer helped the home team to a lead of nine points and even though the Buccs kept fighting and even closed to within two points after an Aaron Ralph basket as time was running down, Iliadis hit a free-throw and then got the rebound on missed second one and that was the game.
Captain Seb Salinas top-scored for the Wolfpack with 21 points, seven rebounds and three assists on shooting 8-of-14 from the field and 5-of-8 from three-point range.
Ben Ironmonger came up huge too for the Wolves with 18 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals nailing 4-of-7 from beyond the arc.
Trian Iliadis contributed 17 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals, Ryan Wright 14 points, Rob Huntington seven points and four rebounds, and Reece Maxwell seven points, six boards and four assists.
Dwayne Benjamin gave his all to try and lift the Buccs into the Grand Final with 27 points, 14 rebounds and six assists.
Jackson Hussey finished with 17 points and four rebounds as well for the Buccaneers while Mo Barrow contributed 15 points, Aaron Ralph 12 points, three rebounds and three steals, and James Paringatai seven points and two blocks. Mat Wundenberg pulled in nine rebounds.
It was an outstanding contest between two teams who every right to feel they deserve to make the Grand Final setting the stage for a tantalising Game 3 on Sunday back at Joondalup Basketball Stadium with the Perth Redbacks awaiting next Saturday night.
MEN’S SBL GAME 2 SEMI FINAL RESULTS
Perth Redbacks 101 defeated Willetton Tigers 92 (Redbacks win 2-0)
MEN’S SBL GAME 2 SEMI FINAL RESULTS
Joondalup City Wolves 87 defeated Geraldton Buccaneers 84 (Tied 1-1)
MEN’S SBL GAME 3 SEMI FINAL FIXTURES
Joondalup City Wolves v Geraldton Buccaneers – Joondalup Basketball Stadium 12pm
Photo by Sports Imagery Australia