THEY are the Grand Finalists of the past two years and the Joondalup Wolves are now the last remaining undefeated team in the Men’s SBL for 2018 while the East Perth Eagles, Rockingham Flames and Geraldton Buccaneers also won on the road on Saturday night.
It was the battle of the undefeated teams in the Men’s SBL in Round 4 Saturday night action at Warwick Stadium with the Joondalup Wolves ending up prevailing 111-93 against the Stirling Senators.
The other three Saturday night Men’s SBL action saw the East Perth Eagles beat the Goldfields Giants 103-85, the Rockingham Flames defeat the Perry Lakes Hawks 90-87 and the Geraldton Buccaneers down the Willetton Tigers 107-84.
That came after the two Friday night fixtures saw the Perth Redbacks beat the Cockburn Cougars 101-92 at Belmont Oasis and the Lakeside Lightning defeat the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 95-65 at Lakeside Recreation Centre.
Warwick Stadium could well have hosted the most anticipated match of the season to date with the Senators and Wolves putting their undefeated records on the line against one another.
The first quarter especially sure didn’t disappoint with both teams combining for 58 points and not being able to be separated. But the Wolfpack pulled away to lead by eight at half-time, by 17 at three quarter-time and went on to win by 18.
It improves the Wolves to a perfect 4-0 record on the season on the back of playing in the last three Grand Finals, and winning championships in 2011 and 2015.
Again the most impressive aspect of the Joondalup performance was the number of contributors they had led by Jalen Billups who delivered 24 points and 11 rebounds. Brian Sullivan also had 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists including hitting 4/7 from beyond the arc.
There were plenty more Wolves players delivering impressive performances with Rob Huntington contributing 15 points and six rebounds, Trian Iliadis 13 points, Seb Salinas 11 points and four assists, and Damian Matacz 10 points and six boards.
The Senators suffered their first loss of 2018 but still look a strong outfit this season, and one capable of improving on their quarter-final appearance the past two years.
The Player of the Week the first two rounds of the season Justin King had another 23 points and six rebounds with fellow import Robert Anshila adding 18 points and six boards.
Cody Ellis also contributed 10 points and six rebounds for the Senators, Ash Litterick 10 points and five boards, Jayden Coburn nine points, Austin Bruton eight and Corban Wroe seven along with seven assists, four rebounds and two steals.
The Buccaneers continued to build some momentum early in the new season despite still awaiting the arrival of Earnest Ross, beating the Tigers by 23 points at Willetton Basketball Stadium.
It was a battle of the two losing semi finalists from 2017 and the Buccs got on top early and controlled the contest leading by eight point at quarter-time, 16 at half-time, 21 at three quarter-time and winning by 23.
Import point guard Gokul Natesan starred for the Buccaneers with 28 points, five rebounds and four assists on the back of shooting 9/15 from the floor, 4/7 from deep and 6/8 from the charity stripe.
Fellow import Colter Lasher added 26 points and seven rebounds for Geraldton on a stunningly efficient 12/15 from the field and 2/3 from deep.
Marcus Alipate also had 19 points and 10 assists while Mat Wundenberg contributed 15 points and four rebounds.
The Tigers were without captain and point guard Kyle Armour with Damien Scott top-scoring with 22 points to go with eight assists, six rebounds and two steals.
Jay Bowie also had 21 points, five rebounds and five assists for Willetton, Badou Diagne 18 points and six boards, and Lachlan Kleppe 10 points in just nine minutes of court time.
Perry Lakes made a fast start hosting Rockingham at Bendat Basketball Centre racing to a 30-19 quarter-time advantage. The Hawks still led 55-46 at the half but the Flames got rolling into the second half outscoring them 44 to 32 to claim the thrilling three-point win.
Both teams were missing key players due to the Perth Wildcats MVP Ball with Lochlan Cummings and Greg Hire out with those duties, while the Hawks remain without injured import Tyler Monroe with the Flames still awaiting the presence of Curtis Washington.
It was a still a terrific and tight contest with Rockingham prevailing on the back of 21 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots from Josh Ritchart.
Justin Beard added 20 points and six rebounds for the Flames, Ryan Godfrey 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and Kyle Beard eight points and six boards. Luke Roberts dished out 12 assists while pulling in six rebounds too.
Brian Carlwell had a good night for Perry Lakes and a great battle with Ritchart, finishing with 24 points and eight rebounds.
Cooper Hamilton added 13 points for the Hawks, Ben Purser 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists, Dan Thomas nine points and four assists, Travis Hayto nine points, five boards, three steals and two assists, and Bailey Cole-Heath nine points and four rebounds.
The Giants and Eagles then did battle at Niels Hansen Basketball Stadium in a contest between two teams desperate for a win.
In the end, East Perth successfully made the trip to Kalgoorlie on the back of a strong 56-point to 42 first half to win by 18 points and keep Goldfields winless to date in 2018.
Evergreen veteran Drew Williamson had another strong performance for the Eagles top-scoring with 21 points along with five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Jonathan Morse added 20 points, 15 rebounds and six assists for East Perth with Joe-Alan Tupaea contributing 14 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Corey Easley also had 13 points for the Eagles, Andrej Donlagic 10 points and Ned Seery eight.
Brandon Holloway top-scored for the Giants with 21 points and four assists with Jeylyn Sharpe contributing 20 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, Kyle Sovine 15 points and six boards, and Jake Martin 10 points and 10 rebounds.
WEEK 4 MEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Perth Redbacks 101 defeated Cockburn Cougars 92
Lakeside Lightning 95 defeated Kalamunda Eastern Suns 65
Goldfields Giants 85 lost to East Perth Eagles 103
Perry Lakes Hawks 87 lost to Rockingham Flames 90
Stirling Senators 93 lost to Joondalup Wolves 111
Willetton Tigers 84 lost to Geraldton Buccaneers 107
Kalamunda Eastern Suns v Geraldton Buccaneers – Ray Owen Sports Centre 12.00pm
Mandurah Magic v Willetton Tigers – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 2.00pm
Joondalup Wolves v South West Slammers – HBF Arena 4.00pm