THERE were three games in the Men’s SBL on Sunday to close Round 14 and it saw the Cockburn Cougars pull one out of the fire against the Goldfields Giants while the Perry Lakes Hawks stunned the Geraldton Buccaneers and the Stirling Senators won at home against the Kalamunda Eastern Suns.
It was the conclusion to a fascinating Round 14 in the Men’s SBL that started on Friday night with the Perry Lakes Hawks beating the Willetton Tigers 92-70, the Perth Redbacks defeating the Joondalup Wolves 99-66, the Lakeside Lightning downing the Cockburn Cougars 122-85 and the Rockingham Flames prevailing 83-76 against the Mandurah Magic.
There were then four more matches on Saturday night with the Willetton Tigers beating the Goldfields Giants 102-90, the Geraldton Buccaneers downing the Joondalup Wolves 88-80, the East Perth Eagles defeating the South West Slammers 92-80 and the Kalamunda Eastern Suns winning 114-102 over the Rockingham Flames.
Then there were another three contests on Sunday afternoon with the Cockburn Cougars coming back from 17 points down to snatch one against the Goldfields Giants 103-102 at Wally Hagan Stadium.
It might have not been a huge upset in terms of Perry Lakes beating Geraldton, but the margin certainly was with the Hawks defeating the Buccaneers 97-73 to end a nine-game winning streak for the Buccs.
The round then concluded at Warwick Stadium with the fresh Stirling Senators overcoming the absence of Corban Wroe and then Cody Ellis to overrun a tired looking Kalamunda Eastern Suns 102-96.
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Sunday’s Men’s SBL action began at Bendat Basketball Centre with Perry Lakes with the challenge of continuing its winning form up against a Geraldton team coming off a win against Joondalup and on a nine-game winning streak.
While the Hawks had been playing well winning their last three including a big win over Willetton on Friday night, the Buccs were coming off the high over being the first team to win at HBF Arena this season over the Wolves and were eyeing off top spot.
But it was a tired Buccaneers after quarter-time on Sunday who had a horror shooting afternoon and never got rolling with the Hawks looking supremely impressive.
The Buccs did start well and led by as much 10 early and were eight up still by quarter-time, but it wouldn’t last with the Hawks taking over in the second period and never looking back.
Perry Lakes went on to lead 44-31 at half-time and went on with to lead by 23 at three quarter-time and the final margin of 24 was the biggest of the game.
The Hawks shot well going at 49 per cent from the field with 35/71 and 50 per cent from downtown with 13/26. The Buccaneers only shot 29/87 at 33 per cent and 6/33 from three-point range at 18 per cent.
It was the evenness of contributors that was most impressive for Perry Lakes with nine players all scoring five points or more, and playing at least eight minutes.
Ben Purser finished with 16 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists for the Hawks with Ryan Smith contributing 16 points, seven boards and three assists including 4/10 from downtown.
Mitch Clarke finished with 14 points and three assists while fresh off cheering on his former Giants teammates against Willetton on Saturday night, Jacob Holmen delivered another 14 points, eight rebounds, five blocked shots and four assists.
Lochlan Cummings also had 10 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Hawks, Jordan Hickert eight points and Dan Thomas seven points, four assists and three rebounds.
Colter Lasher top-scored for Geraldton with 16 points and five assists while Aaron Ralph finished with 14 points and four boards, Liam Hunt 10 points and seven rebounds, and Gokul Natesan nine points, four assists and three steals.
The Cougars were then hosting the Giants at Wally Hagan Stadium with Cockburn desperate to stop their losing slide up against a Goldfields team who continues to fight hard and had took it right up to Willetton the night before prior to losing Jake Martin to a lower leg injury.
The Giants had fought hard against the Tigers and had won big over Rockingham at home last Saturday night, but the job against the Cougars was always going to be tough when Martin didn’t come up right to play after getting hurt the previous night.
It didn’t deter Goldfields, though, and after being down two at quarter-time, they produced an exciting second quarter with 32 points to 13 to lead 60-43 at half-time and to appear to have the win sewn up.
Nobody told Gavin Field and his Cougars that, though, and he put his team on his back to deliver a stunning second half and when he put up four quick points inside 30 seconds late in the game, Cockburn was up 99-96 with just under two minutes left.
However, a Kyle Sovine layup and Brandon Holloway floater put Goldfields back up 100-99 with 1:15 left. Brandon Sebirumbi regained the Cougars lead with a dunk but again with five seconds left, the Giants were back up 102-101 thanks to Jeylyn Sharpe.
Adam Nener called a timeout and drew up a play that ended with a Julian Pesava jumper that went down and the Cougars snatched the stunning 103-102 to keep their playoff hopes alive.
It was a stunning performance by Gavin Field with the Cougars captain playing all 40 minutes and delivering 40 points, eight assists, five rebounds, three steals and three blocked shots on shooting 16/25 from the field and 6/12 from three-point territory.
Julian Pesava not only hit the game-winner but had 23 points, nine boards, eight assists and two blocks too for Cockburn with Brandon Sebirumbi contributing 14 points, eight rebounds and four assists, and Seva Chan 10 points, five boards and four assists.
Jeylyn Sharpe top-scored for Goldfields with 34 points, 16 rebounds and five assists with Brandon Holloway adding 25 points and four assists, Kyle Sovine 23 points and seven rebounds, and Daniel Forlano 11 points and eight assists.
The round then concluded on Sunday afternoon at Warwick Stadium with the Senators playing their only game of the weekend up against an Eastern Suns team who had beaten Rockingham the previous night and had a big win over Lakeside back in Round 13.
The Suns came into the game full of confidence and then started hot racing to a 7-2 lead, but the Senators soon steadied fresh from an eight-day break and determined to end a four-game losing slide including dropping one at home to East Perth last Saturday night.
Stirling got on a roll either side of quarter-time leading by as much as 19 points and still being up 63-46 at the half despite losing Cody Ellis to a broken nose after a collision with Ryan Blanchett with point guard Corban Wroe still sidelined.
The Eastern Suns are eyeing off a playoff position too and were never going to die wondering and the visitors got on a roll through the third quarter building some impressive momentum as they pushed the pace largely through Courtney Belger and Logan Viskovich.
Kalamunda got themselves right back into the game and even drew level on the back of a Kerrod Horn triple with 1:45 remaining. But Stirling responded with a three of its own to Justin King and then two turnovers and a missed jumper from Belger stopped a Kalamunda fightback.
Robert Anshila sealed the win in style with a tomahawk slam on the breakaway after Belger’s second turnover in the final minute and the Senators won by six to improve to the 10-9 record in seventh spot.
The Eastern Suns missed the chance for a third straight win and to break into the top eight, instead remaining ninth at 9-11.
With Cody Ellis limited to 13 minutes and nine points and three assists and Corban Wroe still missing, it was Adelaide 36ers NBL player Caleb Davis who delivered for the Senators with 23 points and nine rebounds despite only shooting 4/17 from the field and 1/10 from the deep. He did go 14/14 at the foul line.
Justin King again top-scored for Stirling with 27 points and eight rebounds with Ash Litterick contributing 15 points and eight boards, Robert Anshila 14 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots, and Jay Thwaites eight points and four boards.
Big man Kevin Davis once again top-scored for Kalamunda with 20 points and 10 rebounds with fellow big man Louis Timms contributing 14 points, seven boards, two steals and two blocked shots.
Logan Viskovich added 14 points and three rebounds for the Eastern Suns, Courtney Belger 13 points, eight assists and seven boards, Ryan Blanchett 11 points and four rebounds, and Kerrod Horn 10 points and four boards.
WEEK 14 MEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Perry Lakes Hawks 92 defeated Willetton Tigers 70
Perth Redbacks 99 defeated Joondalup Wolves 66
Lakeside Lightning 122 defeated Cockburn Cougars 85
Rockingham Flames 83 defeated Mandurah Magic 76
Willetton Tigers 102 defeated Goldfields Giants 90
Joondalup Wolves 80 lost to Geraldton Buccaneers 88
South West Slammers 80 lost to East Perth Eagles 92
Kalamunda Eastern Suns 114 defeated Rockingham Flames 102
Cockburn Cougars 103 defeated Goldfields Giants 102
Perry Lakes Hawks 97 defeated Geraldton Buccaneers 73
Stirling Senators 102 defeated Kalamunda Eastern Suns 96