IT was a tremendous afternoon of Anzac Day action in the Men’s SBL on Wednesday with the Willetton Tigers continuing to build momentum after a slow start to 2018 while the Stirling Senators and Perth Redbacks recorded strong road victories.
It was the conclusion to Round 6 of the 2018 season that began way back on Friday night with the Perry Lakes Hawks beating the Stirling Senators 90-77, the Joondalup Wolves beating the Cockburn Cougars 95-65 and the Rockingham Flames defeating the East Perth Eagles 95-83.
Then on Saturday night, the Perth Redbacks beat the Goldfields Giants 83-69, the Geraldton Buccaneers defeated the Lakeside Lightning 101-75 and the Rockingham Flames kept the South West Slammers winless, prevailing 122-82.
Then on Sunday, the Goldfields Giants won their first game of 2018 beating the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 118-99 at Ray Owen Sports Centre.
That led into the three Anzac Day contests with the Willetton Tigers beating the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 97-85, the Stirling Senators downing the Cockburn Cougars 79-69 and the Perth Redbacks defeating the Mandurah Magic 113-82.
Willetton and Kalamunda have made it a tradition now to meet at Willetton Basketball Stadium on Anzac Day. That continued on Wednesday afternoon and the Tigers improved to a 4-3 record on the season beating the Eastern Suns by 12 points.
It was a second loss of the round for the Suns who had also gone down at home to the Giants on Sunday, with Kalamunda now slipping to a 3-6 record with Louis Timms and Courtney Belger yet to appear.
The Eastern Suns actually started strongly to lead by six points at quarter-time, but the Tigers steadied by half-time to be up by 10. Again Kalamunda hit back in the third period, but Willetton dominated down the stretch outscoring the Suns by 15 points in the last term to win by 12.
Damien Scott was the star of the afternoon for Willetton finishing with 30 points, 11 assists, eight steals and seven rebounds on shooting 11/19 from the field, 2/5 from deep and 6/11 at the foul line.
Kyle Armour added 19 points and eight assists for the Tigers with Andrew Black contributing 14 points, four rebounds and four assists and Badou Diagne 13 points and eight boards. Jay Bowie played just 16 minutes but had 16 points and five rebounds.
Kevin Davis delivered another strong performance for Kalamunda with 26 points and 13 rebounds on 12/17 shooting.
Kerrod Horn added 13 points, six rebounds and six assists with Jono Diaz contributing 12 points, five assists and four steals, Ryan Blanchett 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and Cooper Lowe eight points and five boards.
It was a low-scoring grind at Wally Hagan Stadium with Cockburn and Stirling both attempting to return to the winner’s list.
The Cougars led by five at quarter-time and had extended that to 10 by the half having restricted the Senators to just 28 points.
But Stirling came out and hit 28 points alone in the third quarter to set up their eventual 10-point win to improve to 6-2 on the season after losing to Perry Lakes on Friday. The Cougars are now 2-5 having also lost to the Wolves on Friday.
Justin King top-scored for the Senators with 22 points, nine rebounds and four assists with Ash Litterick contributing 17 points, nine boards, three steals and three blocked shots.
Cody Ellis contributed 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three blocks too with Robert Anshila adding 11 points and 10 boards, and Corban Wroe five points, four rebounds and four assists.
The Cougars were again without import Brandon Sebirumbi and struggled to points on the board aside from another 25 points, 12 rebounds and five assists from captain Gavin Field.
Seva Chan added 18 points and four steals, and Guy Arrowsmith 10 points, five rebounds and two steals.
It always loomed as a big test for last year’s wooden spooners the Magic hosting the defending champion Redbacks at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre, and it certainly panned out that way.
Backing up a good win over the Giants on Saturday night, the Redbacks were on top the entire way and improved to a 6-2 record with the 31-point victory over the now 1-6 Magic.
Shawn Redhage continues to show he’s not ready to slow down with the Perth Wildcats legend delivering 28 points, six assists, two steals and two rebounds for the Redbacks on a supremely efficient 10/13 from the field and 7/7 at the free-throw line.
Mo Barrow also finished with 20 points and six rebounds for the Redbacks including nailing 4/6 from three-point range.
Jackson Hussey added 14 points and four rebounds, Majier Garang 10 points and five boards, Zac Gattorna nine points and Ben Smith eight.
Mandurah’s imports dominated at the offensive end with Shaun Stewart finishing with 32 points on 13/28 shooting while Jamal Shabazz contributed 23 points and 10 boards on 11/23 shooting. Chudier also scored eight points and Chad Miegel six.
Redbacks coach Nik Lackovic couldn’t fault the way his defending champion team went about their business.
“We talked about it at training on Tuesday after we played on Saturday that this is a team that we had to prepare really hard for. They have people in positions who can be disruptive and get some stuff done in certain sports,” Lackovic said.
“They’re long, they’re athletic and they have two good imports who play hard with Chudier in the middle there and some locals and a couple of Sudanese boys who have good energy. They can be disruptive if you don’t take care of the areas that we hold each other accountable to.
“I was really happy with the way the guys came out, they were really disciplined and focused, and we did a good job defensively in the first half and that flowed through the whole game.
“Keeping them off the foul line in the whole first half meant we kept them in front of us and contained them, and we were able to get out in transition. We rebounded and defended well, we got good bench contribution so overall the energy and focus was great.”
WEEK 6 MEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Perry Lakes Hawks 90 defeated Stirling Senators 77
Joondalup Wolves 95 defeated Cockburn Cougars 65
Rockingham Flames 95 defeated East Perth Eagles 83
Perth Redbacks 83 defeated Goldfields Giants 69
Geraldton Buccaneers 101 defeated Lakeside Lightning 75
South West Slammers 82 lost to Rockingham Flames 122
Kalamunda Eastern Suns 99 lost to Goldfields Giants 118
WEDNESDAY (ANZAC DAY)
Willetton Tigers 97 defeated Kalamunda Eastern Suns 85
Cockburn Cougars 69 lost to Stirling Senators 79
Mandurah Magic 82 lost to Perth Redbacks 113