IT was a full night of Men’s SBL action on Saturday with six games taking place with the Goldfields Giants, Cockburn Cougars and Perry Lakes Hawks winning tight affairs and the Geraldton Buccaneers, Joondalup Wolves and Lakeside Lightning also coming out victorious.
There might have been just two games in the Men’s SBL on Friday night to open Round 15 but they were contests that didn’t disappoint.
Over 1200 people showed up at Mike Barnett Sports Complex as the Rockingham Flames beat the South West Slammers 96-78 while the Perth Redbacks claimed a heartstopper 77-76 over the Willetton Tigers at Belmont Oasis.
That set the stage for six huge matches on Saturday night including three in the regional centres that saw the Goldfields Giants beat the Stirling Senators 112-110, the Geraldton Buccaneers defeat the East Perth Eagles 96-88 and the Joondalup Wolves down the South West Slammers 102-80.
Then in the metro area, the Lakeside Lightning continued their good form beating the Mandurah Magic 107-78 while the Cockburn Cougars beat the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 98-93 and the Perry Lakes Hawks kept their charge going with an 80-77 victory over the defending champion Perth Redbacks.
All six matches had plenty at stake in the Men’s SBL on Saturday night including at Active West Stadium with the Buccaneers hosting the Eagles.
Geraldton handed Joondalup its first ever loss at HBF Arena last Saturday night but were then blown out by Perry Lakes on Sunday while East Perth made the trip on a three-game winning run to put themselves back in the playoff mix.
East Perth certainly threw everything at the Buccs as well only trailing by two points at quarter-time and five at the half before delivering a tremendous third quarter that saw the Eagles head into the fourth period leading 70-66.
The Buccaneers turned things around, though, with 30 points to 18 in the final period to claim the eight-point win and improve to a 16-3 record in second position. The Eagles slipped to 8-12 despite the encouraging display.
Former Perth Wildcats NBL guard Earnest Ross led the way for the Buccs with 25 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals including hitting 3/6 from three-point territory.
He received plenty of support with Gokul Natesan finishing with 22 points and three assists, Colter Lasher 22 points, six rebounds, six steals and four assists, Liam Hunt 12 points and seven boards, and Marcus Alipate nine points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Jonathan Morse top-scored for the Eagles with 22 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks and two assists with Anthony Golden contributing 20 points, four boards and three assists, Corey Easley 17 points and Ngor Manyang 15 points and seven rebounds.
It had been quite the eventful seven days for the Giants heading into their clash at home to the Senators with Scott Manton taking over as head coach for the next two games after Scott Rubery was suspended following two heartbreaking losses to Willetton and Cockburn.
On top of that, Goldfields lost prolific rebounder and strong all-round presence Jake Martin late in that Saturday night loss to Willetton before he missed Sunday’s game at Cockburn and was again unavailable against Stirling on Saturday night at Niels Hansen Basketball Stadium.
What resulted was a simply remarkable double overtime spectacle between the Giants and Senators just to keep the drama rolling.
First it was a Jayden Coburn buzzer-beating three that did force the first overtime period when he connected for the Senators.
It was then Goldfields who had to pull something out in the first period of extra time with Tom Witts putting Stirling up 100-96 with 45 seconds remaining. But Daniel Forlano then hit a triple for the Giants and ultimately Kyle Sovine hit the free throws to force a second overtime.
Again a Forlano triple gave the Giants the advantage with Brandon Holloway making the lead three with 2:24 remaining. But still the Senators would regain the lead on two more occasions, firstly through a three-point play from Logan Thwaites and then layup from Justin King.
Bu four consecutive Sovine free throws sealed the deal for the two-point win for the Giants to cap the dramatic eight days and get them off the bottom of the table in the process.
Kyle Sovine ended the evening with 34 points, 23 rebounds, six blocked shots and five assists in a stunning display for Goldfields on the back of shooting 11/19 from the field and 11/12 at the foul line.
Jeylyn Sharpe also put up 27 points, nine rebounds, five assists and five steals with Brandon Holloway contributing 14 points and 12 assists, Daniel Forlano 12 points and Jerome Reid 11 points and three assists. Russell Hurst made a return too for six points and seven rebounds.
The Senators made the trip to Geraldton minus Cody Ellis and Corban Wroe, but Justin King came up big with 36 points, 16 rebounds and five assists on 13/33 shooting and 9/10 from the charity stripe.
Robert Anshila added 23 points, 17 rebounds, four assists and four steals for Stirling before fouling out while Jayden Coburn finished with 13 points, six rebounds and three steals, Tom Witts 13 points and four boards, and Jay Thwaites 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
It was then always set to be a cracking contest at Bendat Basketball Centre between the Hawks and Redbacks with Perry Lakes in its best patch of form for the season and Perth coming off strong wins over the Joondalup Wolves and Willetton Tigers.
The game didn’t fail to deliver, that’s for sure, with nothing more than seven points the difference the entire game.
It was destined to come down to the wire and after Shawn Redhage put the Redbacks up 77-75 with 1:30 left, his former Wildcats teammate Ben Purser tied scores up.
Dan Thomas then put Perry Lakes up by two and a Jacob Holmen free-throw stretched that to three as the Hawks triumphed in a frantic finish against the defending champions.
The win is a fifth straight for Perry Lakes who suddenly at 11-8 is right in the hunt for a top four position while Perth still is third at 13-7.
Lochlan Cummings’ improved form has coincided with the winning streak for the Hawks and he had another 21 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals on shooting 8/15 from the field, 2/6 from long range and 3/5 from the free-throw line.
Ben Purser had a strong game too with 20 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists while Dan Thomas contributed 12 points and four assists, Ryan Smith nine points and three boards, and Jacob Holmen seven points and four rebounds despite only shooting 3/11.
Shawn Redhage came off the bench for the Redbacks and top-scored with 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals.
Jackson Hussey also came off the bench and finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists with Lee Roberts adding 14 points, seven boards and three steals for the Redbacks, Michael Vigor 11 points, eight rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots, and Mo Barrow nine points and six boards.
Lakeside might have had a hiccup two weeks ago against the Kalamunda Eastern Suns, but the Lightning continued their strong form on Saturday night with a big win over the Magic at Lakeside Recreation Centre.
The Lightning were on top from the outset and led by as much as 29 points which ended up being the final margin as they held on to fourth position at 11-8 while Mandurah slipped to the bottom at 3-14 with five consecutive defeats.
It was the Lightning imports who were again tremendous with John Isenbarger finishing with 28 points, five rebounds and three assists including a stunning 7/11 from three-point territory.
Daniel Alexander might have shot just 9/24 overall but he nailed 5/11 from downtown on his way to 27 points, 13 rebounds and five assists.
Matt Vinci added 15 points and three rebounds for the Lightning, Rowan Mackenzie 10 points and five assists, and Michael Garbellini six points, five assists and four rebounds.
Jamal Shabazz came off the bench for the Magic but top-scored with 28 points, eight rebounds and four assists with Shaun Stewart contributing 19 points, eight assists and seven boards, and Chudier Pal eight points and 11 rebounds.
There was then plenty of intrigue surround the clash with the Slammers and Wolves at Eaton Recreation Centre with South West trying to win to keep its season alive while Joondalup still sat on top, but had lost twice last weekend to the Redbacks and Buccs.
The Wolfpack also hammered the Slammers by 49 points earlier in the season at HBF Arena, but it was a more competitive South West outfit this time around on their home floor.
The Slammers started solidly too to lead by three at quarter-time following the Friday night loss in Rockingham. But the Wolves soon took over with a 32-point to 18 second quarter and they sealed the deal in the fourth to come away with the 22-point triumph.
The win steadies Joondalup in top spot at 17-3 while the job for South West to stay in the playoff hunt got tougher with them 4-14 and on a four-game losing slide.
Jalen Billups top-scored for the Wolfpack with 24 points, seven rebounds and three assists with Rob Huntington adding 16 points and three boards. Damian Matacz put up 15 points and six rebounds too as the Wolves frontcourt got on top.
Seb Salinas contributed 12 points and eight rebounds for the Wolves, Brian Sullivan 10 points, five assists and four steals, and Trian Iliadis 10 points.
Brian Voelkel battled manfully again for the Slammers with 22 points, 15 rebounds and five assists with Michael Lay finishing with 15 points and five assists, Brandon Thompson 14 points and Matthew Leary nine.
The last game to look at in Round 15 was another nail-biter with plenty at stake for both teams with the Cougars hosting the Eastern Suns at Wally Hagan Stadium.
Both teams are trying to break into the top eight raising the stakes but it was Kalamunda who put themselves in a strong position leading 70-66 at three quarter-time.
But Cockburn delivered a tremendous fourth quarter with 32 points to 23 to win by five and improve to an 8-11 record with the Eastern Suns slipping to 9-12.
Julian Pesava continued his impressive form for the Cougars putting up 24 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and four assists while nailing 4/8 from downtown and 8/8 from the free-throw line.
Seva Chan added 16 points and four assists for Cockburn, Brandon Sebirumbi 18 points and 11 rebounds, Jaarod Holmes 10 points and five boards, Gavin Field 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and Calvin Kamara nine points.
Courtney Belger top-scored for Kalamunda with 18 points to go with seven assists and six rebounds with Kevin Davis contributing 16 points and nine boards, Louis Timms 16 points and seven rebounds, and Ryan Blanchett 12 points and nine boards.
WEEK 15 MEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Rockingham Flames 96 defeated South West Slammers 78
Perth Redbacks 77 defeated Willetton Tigers 76
Goldfields Giants 112 defeated Stirling Senators 110
Geraldton Buccaneers 96 defeated East Perth Eagles 88
South West Slammers 80 lost to Joondalup Wolves 102
Lakeside Lightning 107 defeated Mandurah Magic 78
Cockburn Cougars 98 defeated Kalamunda Eastern Suns 93
Perry Lakes Hawks 80 defeated Perth Redbacks 77