THE Kalamunda Eastern Suns, Willetton Tigers and Perth Redbacks all enjoyed the earlier start times in the Men’s SBL on Friday night to record Round 9 victories against the Rockingham Flames, East Perth Eagles and Lakeside Lightning.
With it Women’s Round in the SBL leading into Mother’s Day on Sunday, the Men’s SBL matches are all in the earlier tip-off time slots this weekend and that started with the three matches that took place on Friday night.
Those games saw the Kalamunda Eastern Suns beat the Rockingham Flames 99-87, the Willetton Tigers defeat the East Perth Eagles 89-71 and the Perth Redbacks down the Lakeside Lightning 95-94.
The Friday night action in the Men’s SBL got underway at Mike Barnett Sports Complex with the Flames hosting the Eastern Suns.
Rockingham was attempting to bounce back from a couple of disappointing losses and came out starting on fire on their home floor putting up 37 first quarter points on the way to leading by 16 at quarter-time.
But Kalamunda showed its improvement in 2018 by being able to bounce back in the second quarter to lead by a point at the main break.
But Rockingham responded to lead 80-77 heading into the fourth period until the Suns restricted them to just seven final quarter points to claim the 12-point win and improve to a 5-8 record on the season as the Flames slipped to 6-6.
Kalamunda welcomed back import guard Courtney Belger for his first game of the season and he made his mark for the Suns finishing the night with 21 points and three assists on shooting 8/15 from the field. His only downside was shooting 4/12 from the foul line.
Ryan Blanchett added 17 points for the Eastern Suns, Kevin Davis 17 points, 14 rebounds and three assists, Kerrod Horn 16 points and Logan Viskovich 11 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Louis Timms continues to build some form and fitness too and had six points, three rebounds and two steals in 11 minutes of court time.
The Flames were again without Josh Ritchart but fellow import Curtis Washington delivered 23 points and seven rebounds on 10/16 shooting from the floor.
Ryan Godfrey added 20 points and four rebounds for the Flames, Greg Hire 19 points, 15 boards and seven assists, and Beau Samuelson 10 points, four assists and two steals.
The Tigers then looked to continue their strong form hosting the Eagles at Willetton Basketball Stadium on Friday night.
Willetton was able to keep its form going with an impressive performance from the opening bounce. They opened up a 12-point advantage by quarter-time with that stretching to 26 by half-time and 28 by three quarter-time.
East Perth did show some fight in the fourth period but that only cut Willetton’s final winning margin to 18 points. The win sees the Tigers improve to a 7-3 record and the Eagles slip to 5-7.
Damien Scott continued his terrific form for Willetton too ending the night with 27 points, nine steals, seven assists and three rebounds while shooting 10/16 from the floor, 4/8 from three-point territory and 3/6 from the free-throw line.
Badou Diagne added 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers, Andrew Black 12 points, seven assists and three boards, Kyle Armour 11 points and four assists, and Hayden Noordhoek nine points.
Drew Williamson backed up his 33-point effort last week to top-score again for East Perth with 13 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals. He only took six shots for the night but hit 3/4 from downtown.
Joe-Alan Tupaea also had 11 points and three rebounds for the Eagles, Jonathan Morse 10 points, five boards, three assists and two steals, and Jermaine Malie nine points.
The thriller of the night took place at Lakeside Recreation Centre with the Lightning hosting the defending champion Redbacks.
Lakeside has now loaded up with the arrival of Daniel Alexander and Bryan Michaels while Perth is still awaiting the arrival of championship winning big man Michael Vigor and Lee Roberts, but what resulted was an outstanding contest.
The Lightning started strongly with a 23-14 first quarter and they were still on top by eight points at half-time. Lakeside still managed to lead by three quarter-time but the Redbacks were building momentum.
In the end, big shots in the final 25 seconds after Michaels tied the scores saw the Redbacks home, starting with a pull-up jumper from Jackson Hussey. A Ben Smith layup then sealed the one-point for Perth who improve to 8-3 while Lakeside falls to 4-6.
Mo Barrow ended up top-scoring for the Redbacks with 27 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists on shooting 12/19 from the field.
Shawn Redhage added 21 points, six rebounds and five assists too for Perth with Jackson Hussey contributing 18 points, five boards and three steals, Ben Smith 13 points, and Joel Wagner eight points and six assists.
Import guard John Isenbarger top-scored for the Lightning with 28 points with Daniel Alexander contributing 25 points and 10 rebounds, Bryan Michaels 14 points and six boards, and Jarrad Prue seven points and 17 rebounds.
WEEK 9 MEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Rockingham Flames 87 lost to Kalamunda Eastern Suns 99
Willetton Tigers 89 defeated East Perth Eagles 71
Lakeside Lightning 94 lost to Perth Redbacks 95
Geraldton Buccaneers v Cockburn Cougars – Active West Stadium 7.30pm
Goldfields Giants v Mandurah Magic – Kambalda Recreation Centre 7.30pm
Joondalup Wolves v Lakeside Lightning – HBF Arena 6.00pm
East Perth Eagles v Stirling Senators – Morley Sport and Recreation Centre 6.00pm
Perth Redbacks v South West Slammers – Belmont Oasis 6.00pm
South West Slammers v Perry Lakes Hawks – Eaton Recreation Centre 12.00pm