THE Cockburn Cougars, Mandurah Magic and Lakeside Lightning won their first games of the 2018 Men’s SBL season on Saturday night while the Geraldton Buccaneers won their home opener and the Joondalup Wolves remained undefeated.
Round 2 of the Men’s SBL began on Friday night with two matches which saw the Perry Lakes Hawks defeat the East Perth Eagles 98-74 and the Perth Redbacks remain unbeaten by downing the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 90-63.
There were then five Saturday night matches starting with the regional teams all playing their home openers but only the Geraldton Buccaneers were successful beating the Rockingham Flames 91-74.
The Cockburn Cougars beat the Goldfields Giants 99-77 and the Mandurah Magic defeated the South West Slammers 82-71.
The other two Saturday night matches saw the Lakeside Lightning beat the Perry Lakes Hawks 116-104 and the Joondalup Wolves defeat the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 121-96.
The Round 2 Men’s SBL action on Saturday night got underway at Niels Hansen Basketball Centre in Kalgoorlie with the Giants attempting to bounce back from road losses to the Flames and Senators last week.
It wasn’t to be, though, with the Cougars coming away from Kalgoorlie with the 22-point victory to open their account for 2018. Cockburn got off to a hot start with a 34 to 18-point first quarter and were never headed from there.
Gavin Field continued his imposing start to the 2018 season for the Cougars with 28 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and two blocked shots on shooting 10/19 from the field, 2/4 from deep and 6/6 at the free-throw line.
Sebirumbi Brandon also finished with 19 points, nine rebounds and four assists for the Cougars with Seva Chan adding 14 points and seven assists, Jaarod Holmes 12 points and six rebounds, and Jake Harris nine points.
Jeylyn Sharpe top-scored for the Giants with 27 points and eight rebounds with Kyle Sovine adding 22 points and boards, and Brandon Holloway 11 points, four rebounds and four assists.
Then at Active West Stadium, the Buccaneers made a winning start to their home season with a 17-point victory over the visiting Flames.
Point guard Gokul Natesan had another strong all-round showing for Geraldton with 22 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocked shots.
Marcus Alipate also had 12 points, four rebounds and three assists for the Buccaneers with Aaron Ralph contributing 16 points and eight rebounds, Dylan Myers 16 points and Colter Lasher 15.
Josh Ritchart top-scored for Rockingham with 28 points and five rebounds while Ryan Godfrey contributed 17 points, five boards and three assists. Justin Beard also had nine points, five boards and four steals.
The other regional fixture on Saturday night saw the Slammers open their season on their home floor hosting the Magic.
Both teams were coming off heavy Round 1 losses but it was Mandurah who bounced back away from home recording the 11-point victory on the back of a 23-point to 14 final period.
Shaun Stewart ended up top-scoring for the Magic with 20 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Jamal Shabazz added 16 points, 11 rebounds and four assists for Mandurah while Sam Julitz finished with 17 points and six boards, Chudier Pal 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Damon Ballantyne nine points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Michael Lay did all he could for the Slammers with 22 points, five rebounds and three steals.
Demetrius Robinson added 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists while Justin Reynolds contributed 11 points and six boards, and Clive Weeden nine points and seven rebounds.
The Eastern Suns backed up their loss to the defending champion Redbacks by hosting the Grand Finalists from last year Joondalup on Saturday night. The Suns started well too with a big second quarter of 36 points to lead 55-49 at the half.
But the Wolfpack responded in the third quarter piling on 39 points to 25 and another 33 points to 16 in the four saw them remain undefeated this season with the 25-point win.
Jalen Billups was at his imposing best for the Wolves with 28 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks.
Trian Iliadis put up 29 points and five assists in just 24 minutes of court time drilling 8/15 from three-point territory.
Brian Sullivan added 13 points and 12 assists for Joondalup, Ben Ironmonger 11 points, four rebounds and four assists, Seb Salinas 10 points and nine assists, Damian Matacz 10 points and Rob Huntington nine points and four boards.
Kevin Davis did all he could to keep the Eastern Suns in the contest against his old team with 32 points, 12 rebounds and three assists on 13/20 shooting.
Kerrod Horn added 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists for the Suns with Tim Squire adding nine points and Billy Grey eight to go with five boards and five assists.
Lakeside also played its first home game of 2018 on Saturday night and turned up the tempo on a Perry Lakes team down on manpower and coming off a win over East Perth on Friday night.
The end result was a 12-point victory for the Lightning as they put up 116 points by playing a fast and up-tempo style run by Mason Bragg and given they are quite small right now awaiting the arrival of Daniel Alexander.
Bragg’s battle with fellow Perth Wildcats development player Lochlan Cummings was fascinating to watch as their teammates Jean-Pierre Tokoto, Derek Cooke Jr and Rhys Vague looked on.
Bragg probably took the points not only with his Lightning team winning but he also had 27 points and eight assists on 8/16 shooting from the field and 10/16 from the charity stripe.
Cummings had 23 points and six rebounds on 6/21 shooting and 0/10 from deep for the Hawks.
It was the Lakeside back court that was behind the win with Bragg receiving plenty of help. Sharpshooting import John Isenbarger added 27 points and four rebounds with Matt Vinci contributing 22 points and three steals.
Hayden Bell also had eight points, seven rebounds and three assists, Rowan Mackenzie eight points and eight assists, and then Michael Garbellini was outstanding with 14 points.
But it was the legendary warrior Jarrad Prue that was at the heart of the win. After two years out of the league, he has shown he’s lost none of his rebounding skills collecting 22 boards – made up of 12 defensive and 10 at the offensive end – to go with 10 points and two blocked shots.
New Lightning coach Dave Daniels was pleased with his first win at the helm and for Bragg to lead the way.
“That’s how we are going to play and it just worked out that they ended up having their double-header, we have several of them coming up so it will be interesting how it affects us. We are really small right now and our other import is a big, but we want to play fast and run and shoot,” Daniels said.
“Mason has been a great addition and he’s a great guy. Obviously he’s really talented and he’s really fast, and tough to guard.
“He also had eight assists and for someone as talented as he is to come in and really be committed to us being good, while playing well himself, is fantastic. He balanced his attack and making guys around him better. He’s been a fabulous addition.”
The Hawks were coming off beating the Eagles at home on Friday and were again without import Tyler Monroe who could already have seen his season awaiting further results on his injury.
On top of Cummings’ 23 points for Perry Lakes, Ben Purser finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds while Brian Carlwell added 12 points and 11 rebounds, Cooper Hamilton 11 points, Bailey Cole-Heath 10 points, four boards and two steals, and Dan Thomas nine points.
Hawks coach Matt Parsons felt it was a game his team could have done some things better in to slow it down and potentially get the win. But really without Monroe this weekend he wasn’t too displeased to go 1-1.
“They are pretty quick. We knew coming in that transition D was going to be an issue but we did talk about it and worked on it even though we had a really quick turnaround. They had a week and-a-bit to prepare for us and we had a couple of hours but we tried to do as much as we could,” Parsons said.
“The reality was we couldn’t stay in front of them and they made plays, and we hung our big guys out to dry a little bit. But it’s a great opportunity for us to learn and there’s a lot of things to take away from that game, and we will. We will go aware and prepare ourselves now for next week.
“If you told me on Tuesday when we lost Tyler that we’d go 1-1 this weekend we would have taken it. I still believe now that we could have won both games and we let an opportunity slip. To be one of those top echelon teams we have to be smart and be disciplined at the right times.
“We have progressed from last year this year in being able to do that but we need to do it more consistently. Being able to do it is the first thing, now the second thing is to do it on a consistent basis.”
WEEK 2 MEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Perry Lakes Hawks 98 defeated East Perth Eagles 74
Perth Redbacks 90 defeated Kalamunda Eastern Suns 63
Goldfields Giants 77 lost to Cockburn Cougars 99
Geraldton Buccaneers 91 defeated Rockingham Flames 74
South West Slammers 71 lost to Mandurah Magic 82
Lakeside Lightning 116 defeated Perry Lakes Hawks 104
Kalamunda Eastern Suns 96 lost to Joondalup Wolves 121
Stirling Senators v Willetton Tigers – Warwick Stadium 2.00pm