THE Geraldton Buccaneers consolidated top spot in the Men’s SBL with a big win over the Joondalup City Wolves on Saturday night with the Kalamunda Eastern Suns and Goldfields Giants winning to stay alive while the Willetton Tigers and Perth Redbacks had solid victories.
The Saturday night Week 15 Men’s SBL action got underway with the Geraldton Buccaneers beating the Joondalup City Wolves 92-67. The Goldfields Giants also downed the Lakeside Lightning 83-73.
The Kalamunda Eastern Suns won on the road in a thriller 91-88 over the South West Slammers with the Perth Redbacks defeating the Mandurah Magic 95-74 and the Willetton Tigers beating the Rockingham Flames 89-70.
The round got underway on Friday night with the Perry Lakes Hawks beating the Cockburn Cougars 94-77, the South West Slammers defeating the East Perth Eagles 92-90 and the Stirling Senators downing the Rockingham Flames 66-64.
Saturday night’s Men’s SBL action began with the Buccaneers taking another step towards the minor premiership with a 25-point victory over the third placed Wolves at Active West Stadium.
The Buccs were on top virtually all night leading by as much as 33 points and going on a 15-0 run at one point to break the game right open.
It was a statement performance by Geraldton on its home floor to remain on top with a 16-2 record while Joondalup slipped 13-6 to be a little less secure in third position.
Dwayne Benjamin delivered a huge performance for the Buccs with 35 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.
Aaron Ralph added 13 points and five rebounds for the Buccaneers while Mat Wundenberg contributed 10 points and 10 boards, Mo Barrow 10 points, eight boards and five assists, Jackson Hussey eight points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals, and Matt Hancock eight points.
Ryan Wright top-scored for the Wolfpack with 14 points while Reece Maxwell finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, Trian Iliadis eight points, six boards and four assists, and Rob Huntington eight points and five boards.
The Giants kept their playoff dream alive also on Saturday night with a 10-point victory over the Lightning at Neils Hansen Basketball Stadium.
Both teams are currently outside the top eight but have chances of breaking in if they can string wins together in the run home. The Lightning were on top by seven at the half, but Goldfields steadied from there with a 49-point to 32 second half for their sixth win of the season.
Captain Jacob Holmen led the Giants with 23 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots.
Brandon Holloway continued his impressive form for Goldfields with another 21 points and seven assists with Atem Atem contributing 10 points and nine rebounds, Miles Tierney 10 points and JB Pillard eight points and five boards.
James Padgett had a tremendous battle with the bigs of the Giants and was a strong performer for the Lightning with 24 points and 16 rebounds.
Corey Shervill continued his career-best form with 19 points and six rebounds while Rowan Mackenzie added 10 points and seven boards, and Devon Atkinson 10 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
The Slammers are making a habit of being involved in thrillers and after prevailing with a tremendous come from behind win on Friday over East Perth, they couldn’t quite hold on against the Eastern Suns at Eaton Recreation Centre on Saturday night.
The Slammers led by nine points by quarter-time and were still up by three at three quarter-time. But the Suns had some momentum and took over in the fourth period. After being 13 points down during the night, ended up winning by three.
The win improves Kalamunda to 6-15 on the season while South West remains fifth at 11-8.
Courtney Belger led the way for the Eastern Suns with 30 points, seven assists, five rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots.
Rob Brandenberg ended up with 12 points for the Suns while Ryan Blanchett contributed 11 points and four rebounds, and Billy Grey nine points and 11 boards.
Clive Weeden had a big night for the Slammers inside finishing up with 30 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots for his second impressive game against Kalamunda in 2017.
Michael Lay added 21 points, four rebounds and three assists for the Slammers with Tre Nichols contributing 18 points and four assists, and Brian Voelkel another six points, 17 rebounds, six assists and three steals.
The Redbacks made the trip to Mandurah to take on the Magic and came away with a solid 21-point victory.
The win improves Perth to a 12-6 record on the season to now be closing in on third position with the Wolves having now lost a couple of games of late.
The Redbacks were again without Shawn Redhage but a whole host of other players again stood up with Ben Smith top-scoring with 18 points while hitting all three of his efforts from long range.
Lee Roberts added 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Redbacks while Marshall Nelson contributed 13 points and five assists, Zac Gattorna 13 points and Michael Vigor 12 points and seven rebounds.
Will McNeill continues to be a shining light for the Magic putting up another 40 points on the back of shooting 16-of-21 from the floor, 4-of-6 from beyond the arc and 4-of-6 at the foul line.
Taylor Mullenax finished with eight points and six rebounds, and Andrew Bowman eight points.
The Tigers proved too strong for the Flames winning by 19 points also on Saturday night at Willetton Basketball Stadium.
It was a second loss of the weekend for Rockingham in the absence of Dexter Kernich-Drew who was in Broome on Perth Wildcats duties. The win improves the Tigers to a 16-3 record in second spot.
It was the lone game that Willetton expects to be without Ray Turner in the run home as well with Jay Bowie stepping up with 23 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
Damien Scott added 20 points, six rebounds and five assists while Kyle Armour finished with 11 points and six boards, Nic Cody 10 points and four rebounds. Andrew Black also did well for five points, seven rebounds and six assists.
Vinny Zollo ended up with 23 points and 16 rebounds for Rockingham with Donovan Jack contributing 16 points and 11 boards. Ryan Godfrey also had eight points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals.
The round concludes on Sunday afternoon with the Cockburn Cougars play the East Perth Eagles in another crucial contest.
FRIDAY NIGHT ROUND 15 MEN’S SBL RESULTS
Perry Lakes Hawks 94 defeated Cockburn Cougars 77
East Perth Eagles 90 lost to South West Slammers 92
Rockingham Flames 64 lost to Stirling Senators 66
SATURDAY NIGHT ROUND 15 MEN’S SBL RESULTS
Geraldton Buccaneers 92 defeated Joondalup City Wolves 67
Goldfields Giants 83 defeated Lakeside Lightning 73
South West Slammers 88 lost to Kalamunda Eastern Suns 91
Mandurah Magic 74 lost to Perth Redbacks 95
Willetton Tigers 89 defeated Rockingham Flames 70
SUNDAY ROUND 15 MEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Cockburn Cougars v East Perth Eagles – Wally Hagan Stadium 2pm
Photo by Belinda Pike (Croc Photography)