THE Perry Lakes Hawks and Joondalup City Wolves have the chance on Friday night to close out their Men’s SBL quarter-final match ups with the Willetton Tigers and Cockburn Cougars.
Week 2 of the SBL finals begins on Friday night with the two Game 2 match ups in the quarter finals.
The eighth seeded Perry Lakes Hawks are at home at home to the regular season champion Willetton Tigers with the chance to close the series out at Bendat Basketball Stadium.
The other Friday night contest is the grand final rematch with the Joondalup City Wolves having the chance to eliminate the defending champion Cockburn Cougars at Wally Hagan.
Both Game 3 matches will be played at the other team’s home venue on Saturday night if Cockburn and/or Willetton win on Friday.
The other two Game 2s take place on Saturday night with the South West Slammers hosting the Perth Redbacks and the Geraldton Buccaneers facing the Stirling Senators.
The Slammers and Buccs have the chance to win their respective series. While a loss would see Perth host South West on Sunday but Geraldton will still play Stirling at Active West Stadium in Game 3 on Sunday.
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The Hawks scored the big upset of the Game 1 quarter-final matches beating the Tigers 90-80 at Willetton Basketball Stadium last Saturday night.
It’s not so much that Perry Lakes weren’t viewed as being good enough to trouble Willetton, but any time an eighth seed takes on the top seed they are significant underdogs particularly when missing a star player.
The Hawks were without Matthew Adekponya but still delivered an outstanding performance meaning they now need to do it again on Friday night at Bendat Basketball Centre and they are through to the next round.
But Willetton didn’t finish on top at the end of the regular season for nothing and will come out breathing fire on Friday night. If the Tigers can win, then they will be back home Saturday night to try to close out the series. It would be tough to see them losing twice at home.
The other Friday night game sees the Cougars return home to Wally Hagan Stadium needing to beat the Wolves to keep their season alive.
The Wolfpack proved too strong last Saturday night winning 90-83 at Joondalup Basketball Stadium. But the Cougars can create quite the hostile atmosphere at home and with Gavin Field celebrating his 200th game, they will be looking to take the Wolves to three games.
If Cockburn wins, it could set up the Wolfpack’s final game at Joondalup Basketball Stadium on Saturday night.
Then on Saturday night, the Slammers host the Redbacks at Eaton Recreation Centre looking to advance to the semi finals on their home floor.
The Slammers pulled off a stunning and exciting comeback last Saturday night to beat the Redbacks 97-94 at Belmont Oasis.
Both teams look capable of going all the way in 2017 but the fact remains one of them won’t get out of the first round. Perth will need to go to Eaton on Saturday night and win to force Game 3 back at Belmont Oasis on Sunday.
Slammers coach Charles Nix is looking forward to the Bunbury locals getting right behind their team.
“They have been fantastic for us all year and we’ve had some really good crowds, that have been up on last year which is fantastic,” Nix said.
“We feel like all our people will come out and make it as tough an environment as they can for them but hopefully it won’t be our last game at home. Hopefully we get at least another after that.”
The Buccaneers’ series with the Senators then heads to Geraldton for the weekend. The Buccs have the chance to advance to the semi finals with a win at Active West Stadium on Saturday night.
However, the Senators can force it into a Game 3 at the same venue on Sunday.
The Buccs won at Warwick Stadium last Saturday night 89-80 with Dwayne Benjamin and Jackson Hussey particularly outstanding.
But if Corban Wroe can better limit the impact of Hussey and if Cody Ellis and Rhys Vague can match Benjamin’s impact along with Mo Barrow, the Senators can’t be written off particularly if Drew Naymick can again be a shot blocking machine and Ash Litterick provides his trademark hustle.
GAME 2 MEN’S QUARTER FINALS SBL FIXTURES
Perry Lakes Hawks v Willetton Tigers – Bendat Basketball Centre 7pm (Hawks lead 1-0)
Cockburn Cougars v Joondalup City Wolves – Wally Hagan Stadium 8.30pm (Wolves lead 1-0)
South West Slammers v Perth Redbacks – Eaton Recreation Centre 7pm (Slammers lead 1-0)
Geraldton Buccaneers v Stirling Senators – Active West Stadium 7.30pm (Buccs lead 1-0)
GAME 3 MEN’S QUARTER FINALS SBL FIXTURES (if required)
Willetton Tigers v Perry Lakes Hawks – Willetton Basketball Stadium 8pm
Joondalup City Wolves v Cockburn Cougars – Joondalup Basketball Stadium 8pm
Geraldton Buccaneers v Stirling Senators – Active West Stadium 12pm
Perth Redbacks v South West Slammers – Belmont Oasis 12pm
Photo by June Halliday