THE Mandurah Magic shocked the Geraldton Buccaneers in the Men’s SBL on Saturday night while the Perry Lakes Hawks, Rockingham Flames and Cockburn Cougars all scored crucial wins as they chase playoff positions.
The Saturday Week 17 Men’s SBL action began in Northam with the Perry Lakes Hawks defeating the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 97-76.
The Mandurah Magic then won consecutive games for the first time in 2017 beating the Geraldton Buccaneers 84-79 with the Rockingham Flames beating the East Perth Eagles 105-103 and the Cockburn Cougars defeating the Goldfields Giants 94-90.
The three games to open Week 17 of the Men’s SBL on Friday night saw the Joondalup City Wolves defeat the Perth Redbacks 87-75, the Willetton Tigers defeat the South West Slammers and the Stirling Senators score a 98-85 victory over the Lakeside Lightning.
Saturday’s action began at Northam Recreation Centre with SBL action coming to the town for the first time and with the Hawks claiming a crucial 21-point victory.
Perry Lakes was coming off a surprise loss to Mandurah last Saturday night on the back of a three-game winning streak, and the Hawks responded well on Saturday to return to eighth position with a 10-11 record.
The Hawks pulled away from the Eastern Suns in the second quarter with 25 points to 13. Then another 28 points to 16 in the third period set up the eventual 21-point triumph.
Matthew Adekponya delivered a strong performance for Perry Lakes with 24 points, six rebounds and five assists while shooting an efficient 7-of-11 from the floor, 2-of-3 from long range and 8-of-8 at the free-throw line.
Ben Purser also had 17 points and eight rebounds for the Hawks with Ryan Smith contributing 13 points and five boards, Ryan O’Sullivan 11 points and Rob Waters 11 points and four assists.
Courtney Belger had a good afternoon for the Eastern Suns with 25 points, four rebounds and four assists on shooting 8-of-13 from the field and 9-of-10 at the charity stripe.
Rob Brandenberg and Jono Diaz both scored nine points for Kalamunda, and Jamieson Lewis and Kerrod Horn eight.
It was then a crucial contest at Neils Hansen Basketball Stadium with the Giants needing a win to stay in the playoff race and the defending champion Cougars also requiring a win to stay solid in the top eight.
That set the scene for a terrific contest and after the Cougars looked in control at one stage leading by as much as 11 points, the Giants came back hard in the fourth quarter but ended up four points short of a dramatic comeback victory.
The result all but ends the Giants’ playoff hopes at 6-15 while the Cougars improve to 13-9 and suddenly rise up into the top four with the chasing Perth Redbacks, South West Slammers and Stirling Senators all a chance to replace them in games on Sunday.
Jalen Billups was a powerful presence for the Cougars ending the night in Kalgoorlie with 25 points and 14 rebounds.
Lochlan Cummings added 20 points for Cockburn, Gavin Field 17 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, Seva Chan 10 points and eight assists, and Rhett Della 10 points.
Captain Jacob Holmen battled hard for the Giants with 29 points, eight rebounds and four assists with JB Pillard contributing 18 points and 14 boards, Jerome Reid 15 points and eight rebounds, and Miles Tierney 14 points and five assists.
The surprise of the night came in Geraldton at Active West Stadium with the bottom placed Magic beating the second placed Buccaneers by five points.
For the first time in 2017, the Magic have won consecutive matches having also beaten Perry Lakes at home last Saturday night and coach Aaron Trahair got to enjoy his first trip back to Geraldton as an opposing coach.
The Buccs were coming off a heartbreaking loss to Willetton on Sunday and looked to have the game wrapped up leading by six points heading into the fourth period.
But Mandurah had nothing to fear and threw everything at the Buccs in the last quarter. It paid off with the Magic delivering 25 points to 14 to run all over the home team and take out the impressive win.
Veteran big man Taylor Mullenax turned back the clock and if he doesn’t go on and play again in 2018, this will be a swan song to remember leading his team to the upset win on the road with 30 points, eight rebounds and two steals.
Will McNeill added 20 points, six rebounds, six steals and three assists for the Magic with Ruot Pal adding 12 points and Damon Ballantyne 10 to go with nine rebounds.
Mo Barrow ended the night with 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Buccaneers with Dwayne Benjamin contributing 22 points, nine boards, three assists and two steals.
Jackson Hussey had another 16 points and seven assists for Geraldton.
The final game on Saturday night saw East Perth host Rockingham at Morley Sport and Recreation, and it was a familiar tale for the Eagles.
Once more they put in a strong showing and had their chances, but ended up on the wrong end of a nail-biting loss with the Flames holding on for the two-point victory.
Remarkably it is East Perth’s eighth loss by four points or less this season and at 7-16, the Eagles are out of the playoff hunt. But the win for Rockingham improves the Flames to 10-13 to remain in the hunt.
Dexter Kernich-Drew delivered the best night of his SBL career for the Flames with 38 points and nine rebounds made up of 12-of-22 shooting from the field, 5-of-14 from three-point range and 9-of-13 at the foul line.
Donovan Jack also had 24 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots for Rockingham, Ryan Godfrey 15 points and 10 assists, Justin Beard 11 points and Vinny Zollo nine points.
Mason Bragg had a strong game for the Eagles with 29 points and 12 assists with Drew Williamson contributing 22 points and Kevin Davis 19 to go with 14 rebounds.
Dennis Tawhiti added 13 points for East Perth and Kevin Anthony 12 to go with six rebounds.
Now on Sunday afternoon, the Perth Redbacks play the Stirling Senators and the Lakeside Lightning face the South West Slammers.
FRIDAY NIGHT ROUND 17 MEN’S SBL RESULTS
Perth Redbacks 75 lost to Joondalup City Wolves 87
South West Slammers 92 lost to Willetton Tigers 99
Stirling Senators 98 defeated Lakeside Lightning 85
SATURDAY NIGHT ROUND 17 MEN’S SBL RESULTS
Perry Lakes Hawks 97 defeated Kalamunda Eastern Suns 76
Geraldton Buccaneers 79 lost to Mandurah Magic 84
East Perth Eagles 103 lost to Rockingham Flames 105
Goldfields Giants 90 lost to Cockburn Cougars 94
SUNDAY ROUND 17 MEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Perth Redbacks v Stirling Senators – Belmont Oasis 2pm
Lakeside Lightning v South West Slammers – Lakeside Recreation Centre 5pm
Photo by Sports Imagery Australia