THE Perry Lakes Hawks and Stirling Senators strengthened their Men’s SBL playoff credentials with big wins on Friday night while the Willetton Tigers held off the Kalamunda Eastern Suns to set up Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash with the Geraldton Buccaneers.
Heritage Round in the SBL got underway with the three matches on Friday night that saw the Willetton Tigers win a tight one over the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 96-91 ahead of their clash for top spot with the Buccs on Sunday.
The Perry Lakes Hawks won a third straight match beating the Perth Redbacks 89-71 with the Stirling Senators also defeating the East Perth Eagles 81-69.
WEEK 16 MEN’S SBL PREVIEW
CJ JACKSON GRATEFUL FOR JOURNEY BASKETBALL HAS GIVEN HIM
BELGER AT HOME WITH SUNS SO MUCH HE NEVER WANTS TO LEAVE
HOLMEN NOT GIVING UP ON SUCCESS WITH THE GIANTS
FIRST PLACE WITHIN GRASP OF TIGERS WHO ARE STILL SEARCHING FOR NEXT GEAR
Week 16 of the Men’s SBL began on Friday night with the Hawks hosting the Redbacks at Bendat Basketball Centre.
Perry Lakes needed to win to stay in the top eight while Perth did need to win to maintain its hold on fourth place so there was plenty at stake for both clubs. In the end, it was the Hawks who came away with the 18-point victory to give them two wins over the Redbacks in 2017.
Perry Lakes has now won three games on the trot in its first winning streak of the season to improve to a 9-10 record while the loss sees Perth slip to 12-7 but still in fourth place.
The Redbacks were still within striking distance by half-time, but the Hawks blew the game open in the third quarter with 31 points to 10 to set up the eventual 18-point victory.
Matthew Adekponya finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the Hawks in an impressive triple-double while Brian Carlwell did well inside for 19 points and nine boards.
Rob Waters added 11 points, five rebounds and four assists for Perry Lakes, Ryan O’Sullivan nine points, Ben Purser nine points, 10 rebounds and three assists, and Ryan Smith nine points and five boards.
Marshall Nelson once again stood up for the Redbacks as he continues to star on return from college and in the absence of Shawn Redhage with 23 points and four rebounds on 6-of-10 shooting from the floor, 3-of-4 from beyond the arc and 8-of-9 at the free-throw line.
Neema Kazemi was also impressive for Perth in a breakout performance made up of 13 points from the bench in his 13 minutes while shooting 5-of-8 from the field.
The Senators also needed to win to make sure they remained in the top eight when they hosted the Eagles at Warwick Stadium. East Perth needed to win to revive its playoff hopes, but it wasn’t to be with Stirling coming away with the 12-point victory.
Following a four-game losing streak, the Senators have steadied with two straight wins to improve to a 10-9 to be safe for now in a playoff position.
East Perth has lost four straight games since an impressive win over Willetton and with a record now of 7-14, it’s another significant blow to the hopes of the Eagles of remaining any chance of still taking part in the post-season.
Stirling made a flying start on its home floor to lead by 15 points at quarter-time and East Perth could never make up that gap try as they might.
Cody Ellis ended up top-scoring with 20 points, four rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocked shots for the Senators with Rhys Vague finishing with 16 points, seven boards, four blocked shots and three assists.
Josh Throns contributed 11 points for Stirling, Ash Litterick 11 points, six rebounds and three steals, and Corban Wroe 10 points, seven assists, four rebounds and two steals.
Dennis Tawhiti top-scored for the Eagles with 16 points and seven rebounds with Kevin Davis adding 15 points and six boards, and new father Drew Williamson 11 points, five assists and three steals.
The Eastern Suns had a big task to continue their improved form up against a team they haven’t got close to in some time, the Tigers at Willetton Basketball Stadium.
Kalamunda’s last visit to the venue was last year’s 81-point Anzac Day destruction, but coming off strong wins over the Giants and Slammers on the road, they had a degree of confidence and put in a good showing against the second placed team.
But ultimately Willetton’s class prevailed with the five-point victory that sets up the clash with the Buccs with top spot in the Men’s SBL on the line.
The Tigers opened a handy 56-35 lead by half-time and in the past the Eastern Suns might have seen that lead to a huge loss, but they fought hard and outscored Willetton in the second half 56-40 to make a real contest out of it.
Ray Turner finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Tigers with Kyle Armour contributing 20 points and five assists.
Damien Scott also had 20 points, six assists and four rebounds for Willetton while Lachie Evans added 12 points, three boards and three assists, and Jay Bowie 12 points.
Kerrod Horn had another big game for the Eastern Suns with 28 points and seven rebounds.
Courtney Belger added 22 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists and three steals for the Suns, Rob Brandenberg 21 points, five boards and three steals, Billy Grey 11 points and nine rebounds, and Jamieson Lewis nine points, four assists and three boards.
The Friday night results set the scene nicely for a massive Saturday evening that sees the Perth Redbacks play the Cockburn Cougars, the South West Slammers take on the Rockingham Flames, the Joondalup City Wolves face the Goldfields Giants, the Mandurah Magic host the Perry Lakes Hawks and the East Perth Eagles lock horns with the Geraldton Buccaneers.
There’s then another three crucial games on Sunday with the Stirling Senators playing the Goldfields Giants, the Willetton Tigers hosting the Geraldton Buccaneers and the Lakeside Lightning facing the Joondalup City Wolves.
FRIDAY NIGHT ROUND 16 MEN’S SBL RESULTS
Perry Lakes Hawks 89 defeated Perth Redbacks 71
Stirling Senators 81 defeated East Perth Eagles 69
Willetton Tigers 96 defeated Kalamunda Eastern Suns 91
SATURDAY NIGHT ROUND 16 MEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Perth Redbacks v Cockburn Cougars – Belmont Oasis 8pm
South West Slammers v Rockingham Flames – Eaton Recreation Centre 8pm
Joondalup City Wolves v Goldfields Giants – Joondalup Basketball Stadium 8pm
Mandurah Magic v Perry Lakes Hawks – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 8pm
East Perth Eagles v Geraldton Buccaneers – Morley Sport and Recreation Centre 8pm
SUNDAY ROUND 16 MEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Stirling Senators v Goldfields Giants – Warwick Stadium 12pm
Willetton Tigers v Geraldton Buccaneers – Willetton Basketball Stadium 12pm
Lakeside Lightning v Joondalup City Wolves – Lakeside Recreation Centre 4pm
Photo by Vikki Hile