THE Geraldton Buccaneers handed the defending champion Perth Redbacks consecutive losses in the Men’s SBL on Saturday night with wins also for the Goldfields Giants, Willetton Tigers, East Perth Eagles, Perry Lakes Hawks and Kalamunda Eastern Suns.
Round 13 of the Men’s SBL began on Friday night with three matches that saw the Joondalup make it 11 straight beating the Cockburn Cougars 85-76 with the East Perth Eagles defeating the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 106-98 and the Lakeside Lightning downing the Stirling Senators 93-87.
That set up a monster Saturday night with six matches taking place meaning 12 of the 14 teams were all in action with plenty on the line across the fixtures.
The regional contests saw the Geraldton Buccaneers beat the Perth Redbacks 90-80, the Goldfields Giants beating the Rockingham Flames 92-67 and the Willetton Tigers defeating the South West Slammers 89-80.
The East Perth Eagles then made it a double-win weekend ending a five-game losing streak beating the Stirling Senators 83-81 as the Perry Lakes Hawks defeated the Mandurah Magic 91-83 and the Kalamunda Eastern Suns hammered the Lakeside Lightning 116-89.
The Saturday night Men’s SBL action began at Geraldton’s Active West Stadium with the Buccs hosting the Redbacks in a battle between two teams who were semi finalists last year, and are definite contenders again in 2018.
The Buccaneers started well to lead by three points at quarter-time and had extended that advantage to 12 by half-time. They were able to maintain that edge through the second half to claim the 10-point victory to make up for a first up loss to the Redbacks at Belmont Oasis this season.
The win improves Geraldton to a 14-2 record on the season with an eight-game winning run while Perth has now lost two straight to 11-6. But they still sit two games clear in third spot.
Former Perth Wildcats NBL player Earnest Ross came up big for the Buccaneers with 30 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals with 9/19 shooting from the floor, 4/9 from deep and 8/10 at the charity stripe.
Colter Lasher added 20 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Buccs with Gokul Natesan contributing 18 points, three boards, three steals, two blocks and two assists, and Liam Hunt eight points, five rebounds and five assists.
The night marked the first time back in Geraldton for former Buccs pair Jackson Hussey and Mo Barrow who have joined the Redbacks in 2018.
They had been key parts of the Buccaneers run into the semi finals the past two years and on Saturday night, Barrow had 13 points and six rebounds on 4/14 shooting while Hussey came off the bench with 18 points, six boards and three assists on 8/14 shooting.
Shawn Redhage equal top-scored for Perth with 18 points, six rebounds, six assists and three blocks with Ben Smith contributing 14 points, five assists and three steals, and Lee Roberts 10 points, 13 boards, six assists and three blocked shots.
The Giants also hosted the Flames at Kalgoorlie’s Niels Hansen Basketball Stadium on Saturday night and Goldfields produced what is likely their best performance of the season under coach Scott Rubery.
They started strongly to lead by five points at quarter-time and eight at half-time before really ramping things up in the third quarter with 30 points to 18 to secure the eventual 25-point victory.
That was the Giants third win of the season and they dominated the Flames on the glass who dearly missed Greg Hire as they pulled in 58 rebounds to 36.
Jake Martin delivered a monster performance for Goldfields with 30 points and 16 rebounds on 11/19 shooting from the floor, 3/6 from three-point range and 5/7 from the free-throw line.
Kyle Sovine also put up 23 points and 13 rebounds for the Giants with Jeylyn Sharpe adding 22 points, 12 boards, six assists and two steals. Brandon Holloway added seven points, seven assists and five rebounds.
Justin Beard top-scored for Rockingham with 17 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals with Kevin White contributing 13 points and eight boards, and Callum Beard nine points and four rebounds.
Curtis Washington had just two points and four rebounds on 1/7 shooting in only 17 minutes.
The Magic then hosted the Hawks at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre with Perry Lakes looking to continue its momentum after ending its losing streak last week to regain some form and retain their playoff position.
Mandurah, though, took a 46-44 lead into half-time in search of a fourth win for the 2018 season. But Perry Lakes responded in the third quarter with 26 points to 16 to set up the important eight-point win to improve to an 8-8 record in seventh position.
Ben Purser had an impressive night for the Hawks with the captain delivering 26 points and six rebounds while shooting 9/16 from the field and 7/7 from the free-throw line.
Lochlan Cummings put his three-point shot away and attacked the basket and was rewarded with 24 points on 7/10 shooting from the floor and 10/10 at the foul line.
Dan Thomas added 14 points and three assists and Jacob Holmen 13 points, 16 rebounds and three assists.
Mandurah’s imports Shaun Stewart and Jamal Shabazz did all they could to give their team a chance at the win. Stewart finished with 28 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals, with Shabazz adding 25 points, six steals, four blocks and four rebounds.
Chudier Pal also had 11 points, 19 rebounds and five assists.
The stakes were high at Warwick Stadium with the Senators hosting the Eagles with Stirling trying to stop a losing slide to maintain its playoff spot and East Perth needing to make it consecutive wins to stay in the hunt for a top eight spot.
The Senators were coming off a narrow loss to Lakeside on Friday while East Perth beat Kalamunda at home to end its five-match losing run and little separated the two sides throughout the evening.
But Stirling did appear to have the answers most of the way including still being up by five with six minutes left after a three to Caleb Davis, and then by four after a layup to Justin King with five minutes remaining.
But new Eagles import Anthony Golden came up huge hitting a couple of threes to keep his team in touch and then Stirling’s inability to capitalise on multiple offensive rebounds hurt when East Perth captain Drew Williamson went up to score down the other end.
Andrej Donlagic then found a wide open lane to the basket to put East Perth up by one with 2:25 left and a three-point play from Jonathan Morse stretched the advantage to four and the Eagles had the answers at both ends down the stretch for the crucial two-point win.
Both East Perth imports came up big with Jonathan Morse finishing with 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks, and Anthony Golden 20 points, 10 boards and three assists including going 4/5 from three-point range.
Jermaine Malie added 14 points and four rebounds, Andrej Donlagic 14 points, four boards and two assists, and Drew Williamson six points.
Justin King top-scored for Stirling who still sorely missed injured point guard Corban Wroe particularly down the stretch. King finished with 19 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Ash Litterick added 12 points and four rebounds for the Senators, Cody Ellis 12 points and five boards, Jay Thwaites nine points and six rebounds, and Jayden Coburn eight points and three assists.
The Slammers and Tigers locked horns at Eaton Recreation Centre and it was the home team who started strongly to lead 27-23 at the end of the first quarter and still 46-44 at half-time.
But Willetton did get going with Jay Bowie back in the line-up out of the sheds to outscore the Slammers 45 points to 34 in the second half to claim the nine-point win and improve to a 9-7 record in fourth position. South West is 4-11 as a result of the loss.
Andrew Black caught fire for the Tigers with a career-best performance made up of 25 points, seven rebounds and three assists on the back of drilling 7/8 of his three-point attempts.
Damien Scott added 18 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocked shots with Badou Diagne contributing 12 points and eight boards, Jay Bowie 12 points and six rebounds, and Kyle Armour seven points, four assists and three steals.
Travis Durnin was another deliver a career-best performance on the night providing the Slammers with 29 points and six rebounds on 11/17 shooting from the floor and 4/7 from beyond the arc.
Brian Voelkel added 28 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists and four steals too for South West and Clive Weeden 10 points, but Brandon Thompson had just two points on 1/8 shooting in 32 minutes.
The final game of the weekend in the Men’s SBL took place at Ray Owen Sports Centre with the Eastern Suns hosting the Lightning.
Lakeside entered the contest on a five-game winning run coming to Kalamunda while the Suns had lost to East Perth at Morley the previous night, but it was the home team on Saturday night that made all the running.
Kalamunda led by six points at quarter-time and by half-time that had grown to a 59-46 lead. It continued in the second half as well with the Eastern Suns putting up 27 points to 19 in the third period and another 30 to 24 in the fourth to win by 27.
That improves the Suns to an 8-10 record to be just a game outside the top eight while the Lightning slip to 9-8 and missed a chance to further close in on a top four spot.
Kevin Davis delivered a powerful performance inside for the Eastern Suns with 26 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots on 11/16 shooting from the field.
Louis Timms added 16 points for Kalamunda with Carl Aylett contributing 14 points, three rebounds and three assists, Courtney Belger 14 points and 13 assists, Ryan Blanchett 12 points and eight rebounds, and Logan Viskovich 12 points and six boards.
Kerrod Horn also had another seven points, nine rebounds and four assists.
Despite the loss, it was a huge showing from Daniel Alexander who put up 40 points and 10 rebounds on 16/33 shooting from the floor and 6/15 from three-point range.
John Isenbarger also put up 28 points and four assists for the Lightning but they didn’t receive much support aside from 14 rebounds from Jarrad Prue.
WEEK 13 MEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Cockburn Cougars 76 lost to Joondalup Wolves 85
East Perth Eagles 106 defeated Kalamunda Eastern Suns 98
Lakeside Lightning 93 defeated Stirling Senators 87
Geraldton Buccaneers 90 defeated Perth Redbacks 80
Goldfields Giants 92 defeated Rockingham Flames 67
South West Slammers 80 lost to Willetton Tigers 89
Stirling Senators 81 lost to East Perth Eagles 83
Mandurah Magic 83 lost to Perry Lakes Hawks 91
Kalamunda Eastern Suns 116 defeated Lakeside Lightning 89