THE Perry Lakes Hawks took another big step towards locking in a Men’s SBL playoff spot beating the Rockingham Flames on Friday night while the Perth Redbacks knocked off the league-leading Willetton Tigers to return to some ominous form at the right time.
There were three games in the Men’s SBL on Friday night with the Perry Lakes Hawks beating the Rockingham Flames 88-73 as the two teams went to battle over eighth position.
The Perth Redbacks also revived their top four hopes with an 82-73 victory over the Willetton Tigers with the Lakeside Lightning reigniting its slim playoff chances with a high-scoring 114-100 win against the Kalamunda Eastern Suns.
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Kalamunda and Lakeside are two of the more youthful teams in the Men’s SBL in 2017 and looking to create something this year to build on in 2018. That created an entertaining and high-scoring affair at Ray Owen Sports Centre on Friday night.
The Suns bolted out of the blocks on their home floor racing to a 35-22 lead at quarter-time and they went on to lead by as much as 16 points.
But the Lightning held firm and worked their way back into the contest going on a 12-0 run at one point to turn that 16-point deficit into an 18-point lead to end up winning by 14 points.
The win improves the Lightning to 9-14 on the season and while 12 wins would be unlikely to be enough to sneak into the playoffs, it at least gives them some hope. The Suns slip to 6-18 with the loss still needing one win to match what they did in 2016.
Corey Shervill, James Padgett and Devon Atkinson all put in monster performances for the Lightning.
Shervill delivered a career-best performance with 34 points and 14 rebounds shooting 14-of-25 from the field, 2-of-3 from beyond the arc and 4-of-7 at the free-throw line.
Padgett also had a monster game inside with 31 points, 16 rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots shooting 11-of-16 from the floor and 9-of-10 at the stripe.
Atkinson shook off his foot complaint for 25 points and six assists as well including hitting 3-of-5 from three-point range. Rowan Mackenzie added nine points and five rebounds for Lakeside.
Courtney Belger had a big night for the Eastern Suns finishing with 36 points, eight rebounds and eight assists with Kerrod Horn contributing 20 points, Rob Brandenberg 15 and Ryan Blanchett nine.
Perry Lakes made the trip to Mike Barnett Sports Complex on Friday night locked in a battle over eighth position with the Flames heading into Week 18 of the Men’s SBL season.
The Hawks started strongly with Brian Carlwell setting the tone inside getting on top of Flames big man Donovan Jack. He had 15 points and eight rebounds by half-time with Perry Lakes leading 51-37.
Rob Waters then came up big in the second half for the Hawks along with Matthew Adekponya and that was enough for the visitors to come away with the 15-point win even if the Flames did threaten a late comeback after falling 25 points down.
It was a crucial win for Perry Lakes who now improve to an 11-11 record on the season in eighth position to be ahead of the ninth placed Rockingham who is 10-14.
Waters ended up top-scoring for the Hawks with 20 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals with Carlwell finishing with 19 points, 10 boards, four blocked shots and three assists.
Adekponya added 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Perry Lakes with Ben Purser finishing with 10 points, 10 boards and eight assists, and Ryan O’Sullivan eight points.
Perry Lakes coach Matt Parsons was delighted with his team’s showing.
“We promoted this game during the week inside our little hub that it was going to be our grand final. We prepared probably as well as we have all season for this one,” Parsons said.
“One of the things you always know you will get and against Rockingham is that it will be tough and physical, and we did all the little things and ticked all the boxes during the week. The guys came prepared and knew the match ups and knew our scout really well, and executed it pretty well.
“We were fortunate enough to get the win even though we got a bit of a scare towards the end with Rockingham having a bit of a go. But that’s what good teams do, they don’t give but credit to Sammy (Brad Samuelson) and his mob. They’ve had a pretty good season and it’s not over them, they will put us pressure on us as they can and we have a lot of work to do still.”
It was a tough night for the Flames with it best summed up by Perth Wildcats championship winner Dexter Kernich-Drew. He competed hard but it just wasn’t his night missing his first nine shots before putting one in when completing an alley-oop.
He did end up with 19 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals but shot just 3-of-16 from the field, 1-of-8 from deep and 12-of-15 at the foul line. He then ended up with a busted mouth after an elbow when trying to defend a pass from Rob Cassir in the dying seconds.
Vinny Zollo did have a much better night for the Flames keeping them in the contest with 24 points and nine rebounds on shooting 9-of-15 from the field.
Jack finished with 10 points, six rebounds and two huge final quarter blocks with Ryan Godfrey contributing 10 points, five boards and four assists.
The thriller of the night took place at Willetton Basketball Stadium with the league-leading Tigers hosting the Redbacks who gladly welcomed back Shawn Redhage and Michael Vigor.
Perth had slipped to a 12-10 record and down to seventh position coming into the round having lost their past four games and six of their past nine. But it was a different looking Redbacks outfit on Friday night than the one that lost to the Stirling Senators last Sunday.
They came out on a mission and it wasn’t all just down to the returns to the line-up of Redhage and Vigor. In the end, Redhage had just three points and nine rebounds on 1-of-11 shooting and Vigor 11 points, seven boards, four blocked shots and three assists.
But they did make their teammates walk taller and it was the type of performance for the Redbacks that puts them back in the top four hunt and shows that they remain in the title race.
The game was tight through three quarters before the Tigers made a break during the third. But the Redbacks dominated the fourth quarter with 22 points to eight to come away with the nine-point win.
Lee Roberts ended up with 29 points and nine rebounds for the Redbacks with Ben Smith adding 17 points and Marshall Nelson 16 to go with six rebounds and five assists.
Ray Turner top-scored for Willetton with 23 points and 14 rebounds with Damien Scott contributing 18 points, Jay Bowie 12 and Andrew Black nine.
Week 18 of the Men’s SBL continues Saturday night with the Perth Redbacks playing the Geraldton Buccaneers, the Lakeside Lightning facing the Goldfields Giants, the South West Slammers hosting the Stirling Senators, the Mandurah Magic taking on the East Perth Eagles and the Cockburn Cougars battling the Joondalup City Wolves.
Then on Sunday afternoon, the Perry Lakes Hawks play the Goldfields Giants and the Joondalup City Wolves host the Geraldton Buccaneers.
Parsons is fully aware that Perry Lakes’ Friday night win will count for little if they don’t back it up on Sunday.
“Our No. 1 goal now is to back it up on Sunday. If this was our grand final, we reset and go again on Sunday. There’s a thing we haven’t achieved this year and that’s to win back-to-back games on a weekend so that’s our next target,” Parsons said.
“The boys are pretty positive about how we are going to try and attack it. We lost a game up in Kal that we could have won when we were undermanned, but now we are starting to get some guys back and we are playing a really exciting brand of basketball.”
FRIDAY NIGHT ROUND 18 MEN’S SBL RESULTS
Rockingham Flames 73 lost to Perry Lakes Hawks 88
Kalamunda Eastern Suns 100 lost to Lakeside Lightning 114
Willetton Tigers 73 lost to Perth Redbacks 82
SATURDAY NIGHT ROUND 18 MEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Perth Redbacks v Geraldton Buccaneers – Belmont Oasis 7.30pm
Lakeside Lightning v Goldfields Giants – Lakeside Recreation Centre 7.30pm
South West Slammers v Stirling Senators – Eaton Recreation Centre 8pm
Mandurah Magic v East Perth Eagles – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 8pm
Cockburn Cougars v Joondalup City Wolves – Wally Hagan Stadium 8pm
SUNDAY ROUND 18 MEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Perry Lakes Hawks v Goldfields Giants – Bendat Basketball Centre 12pm
Joondalup City Wolves v Geraldton Buccaneers – Joondalup Basketball Stadium 12pm
Photo by Belinda Pike (Croc Photography)