THE Joondalup City Wolves winning and the Geraldton Buccaneers losing on Saturday night in the Men’s SBL set up a battle over second between the two on Sunday with the Perth Redbacks, Lakeside Lightning, East Perth Eagles and Stirling Senators all winning as well.
It could well turn out being a season-defining night in the Men’s SBL as part of Week 18 with the Stirling Senators moving into fourth position with a 105-95 victory over the South West Slammers.
The Perth Redbacks backed up their win over the league-leading Willetton on Friday night by beating the second placed Geraldton Buccaneers 96-90 also on Saturday night.
Other results saw the Lakeside Lightning defeat the Goldfields Giants 91-85, the East Perth Eagles down the Mandurah Magic 129-122 and the Joondalup City Wolves prevail 71-64 over the Cockburn Cougars in a grand final rematch.
That came after on Friday night, the Perry Lakes Hawks beat the Rockingham Flames 88-73, the Lakeside Lightning defeated the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 114-100 and the Perth Redbacks downed the Willetton Tigers 82-73.
WEEK 18 FRIDAY NIGHT MEN’S SBL RESULTS
WEEK 18 MEN’S SBL PREVIEW
REID KEEN TO CONTINUE GROWING WITH GIANTS
SLAMMERS STARS DELIVERING AS THEY EMERGE AS CHAMPIONSHIP THREATS
EVANS WOULD LOVE NOTHING MORE THAN DELIVERING SKIPPER A TITLE
OATMAN HOPES TO LEAD LIGHTNING’S DEVELOPMENT INTO 2018
The Redbacks returned to some impressive form beating the league-leading Tigers at Willetton on Friday night ahead of their clash with the second placed Buccaneers at Belmont Oasis on Saturday night.
The return of Shawn Redhage and Michael Vigor had made a significant difference for the Redbacks and that was again the case on Saturday night as they beat the Buccs by six points to improve to 14-10 and to be back in the hunt for a top four finish.
It’s a third straight loss for the Buccs who now need to beat the Wolves on Sunday at Joondalup Basketball Stadium to remain in second position.
Lee Roberts once again delivered a standout performance for the Redbacks with 29 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals on shooting 9-of-15 from the floor, 2-of-3 from long range and a perfect 9-of-9 at the stripe.
Redhage added 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for Perth with Ben Smith contributing 14 points, four boards and four assists, Marshall Nelson 11 points, Joel Wagner 10 points and four assists, and Vigor seven points, seven steals, four rebounds and four assists.
Dwayne Benjamin top-scored for the Buccaneers with 22 points while Aaron Ralph delivered 19 points, Jackson Hussey 16 (14 assists) and Mo Barrow 15 (nine rebounds, four steals, three assists).
The Lightning then recorded their second win of the weekend to maintain their faint playoff hopes. After beating the Suns on Friday night, Lakeside scored a solid six-point win over the Giants at Lakeside Recreation Centre on Saturday night.
The win improves the Lightning to a 10-14 record to remain in 10th spot and if things go their way and they win their last two games, they could still end up with a playoff position. But a lot would need to fall their way.
However, to pick up some momentum with two good wins this weekend is a positive for the Lightning while the Giants slipped to 6-16 with the loss to now be on a four-game losing run.
The Giants did look good for three quarters leading by as much as 14 points and still being up by five heading into the fourth quarter. But the Lightning put on 27 fourth period points to 16 for the six-point win.
James Padgett had another powerful performance inside for Lakeside finishing with 29 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Corey Shervill continued his breakout form with another 22 points, six rebounds and five steals with Devon Atkinson contributing 14 points and nine assists, and Darrell Morgan 10 points and four rebounds.
Captain Jacob Holmen battled hard for the Giants ending the night with 22 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals.
JB Pillard added 14 points and 12 rebounds for Goldfields, Brandon Holloway 13 points and seven assists, Atem Atem 11 points and six rebounds, Mike Exell 10 points and five boards, and Jerome Reid eight points and four assists.
The Magic and Eagles might be two teams out of playoff contention but they put on quite a show at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre on Saturday night putting up a combined 251 points between them.
The Eagles did have a match-winning advantage heading into the fourth quarter up 103-79. But the Magic refused to lie down to put up 43 points in the final period to only fall seven points short of the win.
Kevin Davis had a big night inside for the Eagles with 31 points and seven rebounds on 14-of-21 shooting from the field.
Kevin Anthony was finally given enough minutes to show what he’s capable of and didn’t disappoint with 29 points and seven rebounds made up of shooting 10-of-13 from the floor and 9-of-13 at the stripe.
Mason Bragg added 28 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and three steals for East Perth with Drew Williamson contributing 22 points and six assists, and Corey Easley 12 points and seven rebounds.
Veteran big man Taylor Mullenax continued to show he has plenty of gas left in the tank with 31 points and eight rebounds for the Magic.
Will McNeill added 27 points and eight assists for Mandurah with Fletcher Klasztorny also delivering 17 points, four rebounds and three assists.
The Wolves kept their top two hopes alive with a low-scoring and hard fought grand final rematch victory over the Cougars at Wally Hagan Stadium to the tune of seven points.
It turned out a defensive grind between two teams hoping to be championship threats again in 2017 but the Wolfpack had just enough firepower to get the job done.
Ryan Wright led the way for Joondalup having a strong presence inside with 25 points and 10 rebounds while Trian Iliadis added 21 points and four assists. Ben Ironmonger also contributed eight points, five rebounds and four assists.
Jalen Billups battled hard for Cockburn with 22 points and nine rebounds while Lochlan Cummings contributed 14 points, five boards and four assists, and Rhett Della 11 points and six rebounds.
Fourth place then went on the line between the Slammers and Senators at Eaton Recreation Centre.
Both teams have had their tough moments throughout the season, but are both in season-best form right now heading towards the business end of the season and a top four finish would be a big boost to their hopes of contending for the championship.
The Senators did start strongly leading by nine points at quarter-time but the Slammers have made a habit of fighting back and by three quarter-time had closed the gap to just two points.
But Stirling steadied and took full advantage of Clive Weeden, Brian Voelkel, Chris Douglas, Tre Nichols and Ty Harrelson all battling foul trouble to control the game down the stretch to win by 10 points and claim fourth position, at least for now.
Cody Ellis continued his impressive form for the Senators with another 23 points and seven assists with Corban Wroe doing well against the Slammers’ dynamic back court with 23 points and four rebounds.
Rhys Vague added 18 points and 10 rebounds for Stirling, Drew Naymick 14 points and nine boards, and Ash Litterick 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Nichols played just 25 minutes for the Slammers but still delivered 28 points and three assists on shooting 11-of-17 from the floor, 2-of-3 from deep and 4-of-6 at the line.
Michael Lay added 24 points for South West with Weeden contributing 13 points and 10 rebounds, Harrelson 12 points and Voelkel eight points and six boards restricted to just 21 minutes.
Now on Sunday afternoon, the Perry Lakes Hawks play the Goldfields Giants and the Joondalup City Wolves host the Geraldton Buccaneers.
Hawks coach Matt Parsons is fully aware that Perry Lakes’ Friday night in Rockingham 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 RESULTS
Perth Redbacks 96 defeated Geraldton Buccaneers 90
Lakeside Lightning 91 defeated Goldfields Giants 85
South West Slammers 95 lost to Stirling Senators 105
Mandurah Magic 122 lost to East Perth Eagles 129
Cockburn Cougars 64 lost to Joondalup City Wolves 71
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)