ALL 14 Men’s SBL teams were in action on Saturday with top two teams Geraldton Buccaneers and Joondalup Wolves winning thrillers against bottom half top eight teams while the Perth Redbacks, South West Slammers, Perry Lakes Hawks, Kalamunda Eastern Suns and Willetton Tigers won too.
The third last round of the 2018 Men’s SBL season began on Friday night with the Willetton Tigers beating the Mandurah Magic 90-73 at Willetton Basketball Stadium and the Perry Lakes Hawks claiming a thrilling overtime battle with the Joondalup Wolves 106-104 at HBF Arena.
All 14 teams were then in action across seven games on Saturday beginning with the Perth Redbacks beating the Rockingham Flames 100-86 and the South West Slammers defeating the Cockburn Cougars 99-80.
The Geraldton Buccaneers then claimed a 110-98 overtime victory over the Stirling Senators as part of their 30-year anniversary celebrations while the Perry Lakes Hawks made it 10 straight beating the Goldfields Giants 99-87.
The night then concluded with the Joondalup Wolves beating the Lakeside Lightning 88-87, the Kalamunda Eastern Suns hammering the Mandurah Magic 127-74 and the Willetton Tigers defeating the East Perth Eagles 91-78.
FRIDAY NIGHT MEN’S SBL RECAP – WEEK 18
MEN’S SBL PREVIEW – WEEK 18
FIELD KEEPS TAKING PRIDE IN BEING HEART AND SOUL OF COUGARS
TRAHAIR SEES BRIGHT FUTURE IF MAGIC GROUP STICKS TOGETHER
REDBACKS AIMING BIG DESPITE THE TARGET AS DEFENDING CHAMPS
SUNDAY MEN’S SBL RECAP – WEEK 17
LIFE FOR WILLIAMSON THRIVING POST-NBL CAREER
PARSONS EXCITED BY HAWKS FUTURE HAVING FOUGHT THROUGH TOUGH TIMES
Saturday’s action in the Men’s SBL began with two earlier starting matches beginning with the contest at Belmont Oasis between the third placed Redbacks and seventh placed Flames coming into Round 18.
The Flames are still yet to be guaranteed of a playoff berth in 2018 and as a result started strongly to lead the Redbacks 23-19.
But the defending champions turned it on to an incredible degree at both ends of the floor in the second quarter to pile on 38 points offensively and then defensively hold Rockingham to just nine points.
The Flames did fight hard in the second half but could never get close enough to threaten a Redbacks team who won by 14 points to improve to 17-7 on the season while Rockingham is 11-12 with three games to finish against Lakeside, Joondalup and Cockburn.
The six guns for the Redbacks in the absence of captain Joel Wagner all delivered strong performances led by 21 points, nine rebounds and five steals from Michael Vigor.
Shawn Redhage added 18 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for Perth, Mo Barrow 17 points, Lee Roberts 15 points and five boards, Jackson Hussey 13 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, and Ben Smith 13 points, three boards and three assists.
Curtis Washington top-scored for Rockingham with 19 points and five rebounds and Greg Hire contributed 18 points, 15 boards and four assists.
Justin Beard added 15 points, nine rebounds, four steals and three assists for the Flames, Ryan Godfrey 12 points, Kevin White 11 points and nine assists, and Luke Travers 11 points, five rebounds and three assists.
The other early starting game on Saturday took place at Wally Hagan Stadium with the Cougars hosting the Slammers in a battle between two teams all but out of the playoff hunt.
With Danny van Dijk at the helm, the Slammers made the trip to Cockburn sand started impressively with 30 points in the first quarter.
They continued that momentum too to end up leading 54-40 at half-time and then still being up by 20 points at three quarter-time and going on to win by 19 points.
It’s the sixth win of the season for the Slammers while the Cougars slip to 9-15 with the loss to now be all but out of the running to reach the playoffs.
Travis Durnin continued his career-best run of form for the Slammers with another 23 points and seven rebounds on shooting 10/20 from the field.
Michael Lay added 16 points and eight assists for South West, Clive Weeden 14 points and five rebounds, Brandon Thompson 11 points and two steals, and Cory Richardson 10 points, four boards, two assists and two steals.
But it was Brian Voelkel who proved the difference with another huge triple-double consisting of 15 points, 21 rebounds and 13 assists on an efficient shooting effort of 4/6 from the field and 7/7 at the foul line.
Brandon Sebirumbi finished with 27 points and 13 rebounds for the Cougars with Gavin Field contributing 26 points, 10 boards, eight assists and four steals.
Seva Chan had a tough shooting night going 3/16 but still had nine points and seven assists with Jaarod Holmes contributing seven points and five rebounds.
The on-fire Hawks then hosted the Giants at Bendat Basketball Centre fresh off their stunning overtime win over the Wolves at HBF Arena on Friday night.
But Goldfields too was coming off a win at home against the Wolves last Saturday night so it was a game with plenty of intrigue.
Then the Giants came out strongly to lead 29-20 at quarter-time before the Hawks fought back in the second quarter to be within a point by half-time.
Perry Lakes continued that momentum in the second half to outscore Goldfields 52-39 to win by 12 points and to make it 10 wins on the trot to be solid in fourth spot at 16-8. The Giants are now 5-18 ahead of Sunday’s clash with East Perth at Morley Sport and Recreation Centre.
Ryan Smith came up big for the Hawks off the bench with 21 points, six rebounds and three assists on shooting 7/15 from three-point territory.
Ben Purser also had 17 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists for Perry Lakes to flirt with a triple-double while Mitch Clarke had 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
It was an awkward night for reigning MVP Jacob Holmen up against his former Giants team and he had 12 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals for the Hawks.
Cooper Hamilton also had 11 points and Brian Carlwell 10 to go with three rebounds.
Jeylyn Sharpe produced another impressive performance for the Giants with 29 points and 12 rebounds on the back of shooting 12/22 from the floor.
Kyle Sovine also had 27 points, nine rebounds and three assists on 9/18 shooting from the field, 3/6 from beyond the arc and 6/8 from the foul line.
Jerome Reid also had 18 points and five rebounds for Goldfields with Russell Hurst contributing 11 points and five boards.
It was a big weekend for the Buccaneers in Geraldton as they celebrated their 30 years of history and it was only fitting it was capped off with an overtime thriller against the visiting Senators.
The league-leading Buccs started strongly with a 31-22 first quarter and still led 55-44 at half-time. But Stirling fought back well throughout the second half with 22 points to 16 in the third quarter, then 28 to 23 in the fourth to force the game into overtime.
But in the extra time period, it was all the Buccaneers as they thrilled their home fans with 16 points to four to end up winning by 12 to make 14 of their last games being victories to retain top position.
The loss sees the Senators slip to a 13-11 record as their three-game winning streak came to an end.
Colter Lasher ended up top-scoring for the Buccs with 26 points, nine rebounds and six assists with Gokul Natesan adding 25 points and three boards.
Marcus Alipate also had 24 points, five assists and three rebounds for Geraldton while Earnest Ross added 20 points, seven rebounds and three assists, and Liam Hunt 15 points, 11 boards and three assists.
Robert Anshila produced a game-high 28 points and 15 rebounds for Stirling with Justin King adding 22 points, nine rebounds and three assists, Caleb Davis 21 points, five boards and four assists, and the returning Cody Ellis 13 points, four rebounds and two assists.
Point guard Corban Wroe also had seven points, six assists and four rebounds for the Senators.
East Perth then hosted Willetton at Morley Sport and Recreation Centre and the only way the Eagles could keep their dwindling playoff hopes alive was to win over a Tigers team who snapped a three-game losing run at home to Mandurah on Friday night.
The fresher Eagles did come out and make an impressive start leading 26-17 by the end of the first period but the Tigers responded well to lead 43-38 at half-time. From there Willetton remained in control with 48 points to 40 in the second half to win by 13.
The two wins this weekend steady the Tigers for a playoff position at 12-11 while the Eagles are now out of the running at 8-15 coming into Sunday’s home clash with the Giants.
Jay Bowie top-scored for Willetton with 26 points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists on shooting 11/18 from the field and 2/2 from long range.
Kyle Armour added 12 points, three rebounds and two assists against the team he led to a championship with Damien Scott contributing 12 points, five boards, four assists and three steals, Jake Burston 10 points and Badou Diagne eight points, 13 rebounds and three assists.
Corey Easley finished with 20 points and seven rebounds for the Eagles with Anthony Golden delivering 14 points and three assists, Drew Williamson 14 points, seven assists and six steals, and Jonathan Morse 12 points, nine boards, six assists and four steals.
Kalamunda then made the trip to Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation and the Suns hammered the Magic to end their four-game losing run and keep their playoff hopes just alive.
The Eastern Suns delivered quite the offensive onslaught as the night progressed with 34 points to 26 in the first quarter, 32 to 21 in the second, 29 to 19 in the third and 32 to eight in the fourth to end up winning by 53 points.
The win improves Kalamunda to a 10-14 record in ninth position with two rounds of the season remaining and games against Willetton and South West.
Louis Timms delivered 30 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists for the Eastern Suns on shooting 11/16 from the floor, 3/5 from three-point range and 5/7 from the free-throw line.
Courtney Belger also had 23 points, five steals, four assists and three rebounds for Kalamunda on shooting 6/9 from the floor, 4/4 from beyond the arc and 7/9 from the foul line.
Logan Viskovich contributed 20 points and three rebounds for the Suns, Kevin Davis 15 points, 17 rebounds and three assists, Kerrod Horn 11 points, four assists and three steals, and Carl Aylett nine points, four boards and two assists.
Chudier Pal ended up with 22 points and seven rebounds for Mandurah while Jamal Shabazz had 19 points and four boards, and Shaun Stewart 15 points and four assists.
Undoubtedly the game of the night took place at the Lakeside Recreation Centre with the fifth placed Lightning hosting the second placed Wolves.
The Wolfpack came into the game having lost their last two in thrilling fashion on the road to the Giants and then at home on Friday in overtime to the Hawks while the Lightning were playing their first game since the horrific leg injury to import guard Jack Isenbarger.
The stage was set for a big game and it certainly didn’t fail to deliver.
It was a high-tempo opening with the teams unable to be split at quarter-time having combined for 56 points before the Wolves did begin to pull away in the second quarter to head into half-time leading 49-40.
Lakeside then came out an inspired outfit to open the second half going on a 9-2 run on the back of three-pointers to Bryan Michaels, Matt Vinci and Daniel Alexander.
That set the stage for a tight, tense and exciting second half between the two desperate teams.
Alexander was threatening to take the game away from the Wolves when he hit two more threes late in the third quarter. When Rowan Mackenzie also drilled one from downtown, Lakeside was up 70-63 by three quarter-time having been down nine at the half.
Lakeside was soon up by 10 after a three to Michaels early in the fourth and then still by eight with another triple from Alexander with 7:15 remaining.
Alexander was really started to feel it with another three with 5:30 left too as Lakeside led 83-75.
He drilled another step back jumper from mid-range two minutes later to keep the Lightning up 87-80 but the Wolfpack wasn’t going to be denied.
Trian Iliadis got a steal off Vinci and made a layup soon after and he wasn’t going to let his team lose.
He hit a three with 1:30 left to make it a one-point ball game and then a non-call on what appeared a blatant foul on Alexander with just over a minute left led to a Jalen Billups steal and bucket to put the Wolfpack ahead and that’s where they stayed to win by a point.
Jalen Billups finished the night with 34 points, 10 rebounds and four assists for the Wolves on 15/25 shooting from the field and 3/6 from downtown.
Brian Sullivan added 15 points, eight assists and three steals while Trian Iliadis had 14 points and five steals, Rob Huntington 12 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals, and Jordan Wellsteed eight points and two boards.
Wolves coach Ben Ettridge was pleased with the performance of his team to get the tight win on the back of the narrow losses over the previous seven days to the Giants and Hawks.
“When you have guys like Trian Iliadis and Reece Maxwell who are proud players and have achieved a lot then you are going to bank on their resilience down the end,” Ettridge said.
“Trian was 0/8 and the one triple he hits was the go-ahead and he had two steals in the last 30 seconds, one on the ball and one off the ball. That’s phenomenal. As I said to the guys we love being tested and it’s been the same the last couple of games, we just haven’t hit the shot.
“Tonight we got it right and in every game we can learn something and this league is so close with so many good players and coaches that this is the type of games you want to be playing in.
“For a long time I’ve been taught in the SBL that if you split your double-headers you are doing a good job. It’s not only last night, it was last week up in Kalgoorlie with a game that went down to the wire so it’s the business end of the season and teams are jostling for those playoff position.
“We’re thankful we did the work early this season to get ourselves in a good spot and now it’s just a matter of winning the close ones can and making sure everyone is fit and healthy for two weeks’ time.”
Daniel Alexander finished with 26 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots for the Lightning including 8/17 from downtown.
Bryan Michaels also had 20 points, seven rebounds, four assist and two steals for the Lightning, Rowan Mackenzie 19 points and four boards, and Michael Garbellini 10 points.
Lightning coach Dave Daniels liked a lot of what his team delivered against the Wolves much like last Sunday against the Buccs despite losing both games narrowly following the horrific injury to Isenbarger.
“We came out a little bit hesitant as guys were adjusting to some new roles and DA didn’t get started right away. We were pretty defensively in the first quarter and we continued to improve both defensively and finishing possessions with defensive rebounds,” Daniels said.
“Then we got the pace up and that all kind of flows together when you defend and rebound, and then we like to run so we can push it and we can find each other for some easy shots. It kind of plays off each other.
“This may sound a little crazy, but it’s not too tough of a loss to take. We came into this one wanting to focus on ourselves and making the adjustments of not having Jack. There were some mistakes and we had 21 turnovers to four but guys were getting comfortable with having the ball in their hands more.
“But overall Matt Vinci stepped into that starting role and did a great job so it’s just a matter of getting acclimated. I’m just super proud of the guys. Our season’s not dependant on this game whether we won or lost it.
“Obviously we want to win but we wanted to focus on ourselves and take a step ahead and prove to ourselves we can compete with the best teams in the league. To me I think that’s what has come out of these last two games and we just need to tighten things up, and take care of the ball better.”
What happened to Isenbarger last season had the potential to go one of two ways for the Lightning – bring the group closer together or be a devastating blow. Daniels couldn’t be happier with how they have responded.
“I’m more proud of how the guys have come together which I think has been evidenced in the games. But also the way that Jack has handled himself and the way that the guys have come around Jack and each other has been obvious,” Daniels said.
“One thing really special about this group is that they genuinely love and care for each other and that’s the thing that I’ve been most proud of.
“Out of that, the guys have really played together and fought, and continued to battle and that’s going to continue through to the end. It will take us a little while to make a couple of adjustments but I’m really proud of the team.”
WEEK 18 MEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Joondalup Wolves 104 lost to Perry Lakes Hawks 106
Willetton Tigers 90 defeated Mandurah Magic 73
Perth Redbacks 100 defeated Rockingham Flames 86
Cockburn Cougars 80 lost to South West Slammers 99
Geraldton Buccaneers 110 defeated Stirling Senators 98
Perry Lakes Hawks 99 defeated Goldfields Giants 87
Lakeside Lightning 87 lost to Joondalup Wolves 88
Mandurah Magic 74 lost to Kalamunda Eastern Suns 127
East Perth Eagles 78 lost to Willetton Tigers 91
East Perth Eagles v Goldfields Giants – Morley Sport and Recreation Centre 12.00pm