HERITAGE Round in the Men’s SBL concluded on Sunday afternoon with the South West Slammers moving clear of bottom spot beating the Goldfields Giants while the Perth Redbacks shook off a strong challenge from the Mandurah Magic.
Round 16 of the Men’s SBL got underway on Friday night with the Perry Lakes Hawks beating the Rockingham Flames 82-79, the Stirling Senators defeating the Cockburn Cougars 99-90 and the Joondalup Wolves downing the East Perth Eagles 100-74.
There were then another big five matches on Saturday night starting with the Geraldton Buccaneers celebrating the 400th game of captain Mat Wundenberg beating the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 106-96.
The Mandurah Magic also beat the Goldfields Giants 86-66 while the Perry Lakes Hawks beat the South West Slammers 105-73, the Lakeside Lightning defeated the Willetton Tigers 113-91 and Perth Redbacks downed the Cockburn Cougars 104-93.
That led into the last two games of the round on Sunday afternoon that saw the South West Slammers beat the Goldfields Giants 95-86 and the Perth Redbacks defeat the Mandurah Magic 79-72.
The Sunday afternoon action in the Men’s SBL for Round 16 began at Eaton Recreation Centre with the Slammers hosting the Giants.
Both teams had the four wins for the season coming into the game and both were undermanned with the Slammers without Clive Weeden and the Giants missing Jake Martin the most significant absentees.
South West was coming off a 32-point loss to Perry Lakes the night before too with Goldfields having lost to Mandurah by 20 so confidence was low in both groups even though the Giants did regain coach Scott Rubery after a two-game suspension.
The Slammers came out and made a flying start with 31 points to 20 in the first quarter but the Giants hit back with a 28-16 second period to lead 48-47 at the half.
Goldfields was still up 71-68 at three quarter-time but it was all the Slammers in the fourth period with 27 points to 15 to claim the nine-point win, and move a game clear off the bottom of the table.
Brian Voelkel delivered his second massive triple-double for the Slammers in just over 12 hours producing another 31 points, 27 rebounds and 10 assists on shooting 9/17 from the field and 13/16 from the foul line.
Travis Durnin came up huge too for South West with 32 points and seven rebounds on shooting 10/18 from the floor, 6/13 from beyond the arc and 6/9 at the free-throw line.
Michael Lay added 10 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Slammers too.
Jeylyn Sharpe top-scored for the Giants with 34 points and seven rebounds with Kyle Sovine adding 22 points and 10 boards. Russell Hurst also had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The last match of the round then took place at Belmont Oasis with the Redbacks hosting the Magic.
Perth was coming off a hard fought win over the Cockburn Cougars on Saturday night while the Magic had won their fourth game of the season the previous night too, beating the Giants by 20 points.
The Magic started well on Sunday too against the Redbacks leading by four late in the first quarter and still 22-20 at quarter-time.
But what happened in the second quarter had to be seen to be believed. Mandurah missed every single one of its 15 field goal attempts for the period along with five mostly unforced turnovers. They only scored one solitary point which came from a Chudier Pal free-throw with 47 seconds remaining in the half.
It wasn’t as if the Redbacks were on fire up the other end, but they did score 18 second quarter points to lead 38-23 at half-time.
Mandurah didn’t go away in the second half and made Perth have to fight hard for the win, but the Redbacks did just enough to win by seven and improve to 15-7 while the Magic are 4-15.
Michael Vigor delivered another strong performance for the Redbacks with 21 points, six rebounds and four assists while shooting 8/16 from the floor, 2/3 from downtown and 3/5 from the charity stripe.
Lee Roberts added 20 points and 10 rebounds with Ben Smith contributing 16 points, four boards and three steals, Jackson Hussey 10 points, six boards and four assists, and Mo Barrow 10 points and five rebounds.
Redbacks coach Nik Lackovic was happy to come away from the weekend with the two wins to retain third position on the table.
“Obviously we are trying to make sure we are fine-tuning our processes with the personnel that we have and we didn’t have Shawn this week, Zac (Gattorna) was off sick the whole week and lost a considerable amount of weight with a virus and Lee hasn’t been well either,” Lackovic said.
“But everybody goes through these things at this end of the season. We have got a tremendous amount of respect for the way Mandurah and Cockburn both play, they are laced with players in positions who can have impact in games if they are given the freedom to play their style of play.
“We saw that against Cockburn when we were up 20 at the half and Gav (Field) comes out and decides to flick a switch and play with reckless abandon, and that’s what he can do.
“For us, those sort of challenges are what we try to measure ourselves on because when you play elite teams everyone is going to have someone on the floor at some stage that can do the things that Gav can do in a half or quarter.
“We wanted to pride ourselves on doing some things defensively this weekend, and over the course of the weekend we are pretty happy.
“Obviously getting two wins is great but it’s about fine-tuning where we’re at and having Mike and Lee back now, and Shawn being away allowed them to solidify some rhythm and chemistry out on the floor together.
“Mike is just so valuable for us and he’s the guy that loves making the hockey assist. He reads the play two or threes moves ahead of time, he’s selfless and the things he does on the floor makes everyone out there better. Having him play the way that he is at the moment makes us a really, really good team.”
The Magic again just about lived or died by the performance of their imports with Shaun Stewart finishing with 26 points, four assists, four steals and three rebounds, and Jamal Shabazz 20 points and eight boards. They shot a combined 19/39 from the field.
Chudier Pal did also have nine points and five rebounds for Mandurah and Nick Lawrence eight points and seven boards.
Mandurah coach Aaron Trahair was proud of the fight his young group showed against the defending champions.
“We probably uglied it up a bit as far as what the basketball side of things looked like, but I was super proud of the boys and that was the first thing I said to them after the game,” Trahair said.
“At the end of the day, we won three out of the four quarters and obviously we lost our way in that second quarter by scoring one point. But that’s our battle. We have those moments within games where we lose our way and the second quarter was that today.
“That time where we lose our way is getting smaller and smaller, it was a whole quarter today, but that’s a goal with us to make that time where we lose our way a little bit smaller, and keep persevering and working.
“I thought we did that for 30 minutes today and even in that second quarter I still thought we competed and tried really hard, and missed some gimmes.
“Then even down the stretch when we were eight or nine down, we had some chances there to make a couple of shots that we missed to put a bit more pressure on them. Overall I was really proud of what they did today backing up a good win last night so it was really pleasing in a lot of ways.”
WEEK 16 MEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Rockingham Flames 79 lost to Perry Lakes Hawks 82
Stirling Senators 99 defeated Cockburn Cougars 90
East Perth Eagles 74 lost to Joondalup Wolves 100
Geraldton Buccaneers 106 defeated Kalamunda Eastern Suns 96
Mandurah Magic 86 defeated Goldfields Giants 66
Perry Lakes Hawks 105 defeated South West Slammers 73
Willetton Tigers 91 lost to Lakeside Lightning 113
Cockburn Cougars 93 lost to Perth Redbacks 104
South West Slammers 95 defeated Goldfields Giants 86
Perth Redbacks 79 defeated Mandurah Magic 72