THE Lakeside Lightning celebrated the 350th game of the legend Jarrad Prue with another strong win on Friday night in the Men’s SBL while the Stirling Senators also scored an important victory and the Cockburn Cougars prevailed in an overtime thriller against the Willetton Tigers.
There were three matches in the Men’s SBL to open Round 17 of the 2018 season on Friday night starting with the Lakeside Lightning celebrating the 350-game milestone of Prue with a 110-99 victory against the South West Slammers.
The Stirling Senators also won impressively defeating the Rockingham Flames 105-87 in a result that strengthens their playoff position and puts that of the Flames in jeopardy.
The thriller of the night then saw the Cockburn Cougars end up prevailing in overtime thanks to Gavin Field, Brandon Sebirumbi, Seva Chan and Steven Van Lit to hand the Willetton Tigers a fourth straight loss as they prevailed on the road 99-95.
The Friday night Men’s SBL action got underway at Lakeside Recreation Centre with the Lightning hosting the Slammers.
It was a big night for Jarrad Prue who has returned from retirement this season for the Lightning and the triple championship winner and league’s all-time leading rebounder got to celebrate a big win for his milestone.
The Slammers did fight hard but the Lightning had the edge throughout the evening and ended up winning by 11 points to make it four in-a-row and improve to a 13-8 record. The Slammers slip to 5-16 despite the encouraging performance.
Prue was his usual self in recognition of his 350th game as well finishing with eight points, 24 rebounds, 13 of which were offensive, and three steals.
Lakeside’s imports were again dominant with Daniel Alexander finishing with 37 points, nine rebounds and four assists while shooting 16/26 from the field and 5/10 from three-point territory.
John Isenbarger also had another 33 points and five assists for the Lightning including making 5/9 from beyond the arc.
Matt Vinci finished with 10 points and three assists, Bryan Michaels nine points and four assists, and Rowan Mackenzie eight points.
Travis Durnin continued the best form of his career putting up 36 points and eight rebounds for the Slammers on the back of shooting 11/21 from the floor, 6/13 from long range and 8/11 from the foul line.
Brian Voelkel narrowly missed yet another triple-double ending up with 27 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists while shooting 11/15 from the field, 2/3 from downtown and 3/3 from the charity stripe.
Michael Lay added 18 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for South West.
Then at Warwick Stadium, it was a crucial clash for both teams as the Senators and Flames did battle.
Stirling came into the game in sixth position and Rockingham seventh and both held identical 11-10 records so the difference between a win and loss was going to be stark.
It was a relatively tight contest through the opening three quarters with the Senators up by two points at quarter-time, six at half-time and then nine by three quarter-time.
The Senators then put the foot on the gas in the final period outscoring the Flames 30 points to 21 to claim the crucial 18-point win to improve to 12-10 while Rockingham slips to 11-11.
There was still no Cody Ellis for the Senators but imports Justin King and Robert Anshila combined for 46 points. King had 23 points and seven rebounds on shooting 9/16 from the field and 3/5 from deep while Anshila had 23 points, 16 rebounds and three assists.
Caleb Davis finished with 18 points on 6/14 from long range while Jayden Coburn contributed 12 points and five assists, Tom Witts 10 points and three rebounds, and Corban Wroe nine points, 10 assists and six rebounds.
Greg Hire fought valiantly for Rockingham with 26 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and three steals on shooting 11/22 from the field.
Ryan Godfrey added 20 points and three steals for the Flames, Curtis Washington 15 points and nine rebounds, Justin Beard 11 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals, and Kevin White five points, eight assists and five rebounds.
Then at Willetton Basketball Stadium, the old Tigers-Cougars rivalry was renewed and certainly didn’t fail to deliver with the contest ending up going to overtime.
It was a tight first half with Willetton up by one at quarter-time and then scores all square at the main break.
The Cougars ended up pulling away late in the third quarter and it was on the back of Steven Van Lit catching fire with three consecutive three-pointers and 11 points in the last three minutes of the quarter even if he had just returned from a three-week holiday.
That helped Cockburn to a 10-point three quarter-time advantage but the Tigers dominated much of the fourth quarter and were able to draw back level, and then pull ahead on back-to-back threes from Jake Burston and Damien Scott.
Then despite Scott and Badou Diagne fouling out, Willetton still led 79-75 after a pair of free-throws from Burston with three minutes left.
Cougars captain Gavin Field hit a pair of free-throws to make the deficit two and then he delivered a pin-point pass to find Brandon Sebirumbi inside who dunked it with two-hands to level scores again with 1:15 remaining.
Field then got to the hoop to put Cockburn up by two before a huge Sebirumbi block on Jay Bowie three-point attempt. However, on Willetton’s last possession Sebirumbi was called for a foul for a similar play and Bowie nailed all three at the stripe to tie scores up.
Cockburn drew up a play for Field to hit the game-winner but he couldn’t quite make it go and it was to extra time we went.
The Cougars hit quick baskets to Field and Jaarod Holmes, who stuck his backside out and put in the layup. A three-point play from Burston had Willetton back within one and he hit two more free-throws to give the Tigers a lead with three minutes to go.
But Seva Chan changed that with a three-pointer and by the time he hit another with 25 seconds left it was enough for the Cougars to come away with the four-point win.
The win keeps the Cougars’ slim playoff hopes alive at 9-13 despite missing Julian Pesava while the Tigers have now lost three straight to be 10-11.
Gavin Field willed his team to victory with 24 points, eight rebounds and six assists despite shooting 8/22 from the field and 2/7 from deep. Brandon Sebirumbi was a powerful presence at both ends with 24 points and nine rebounds too on shooting 9/13 from the floor and 6/9 at the stripe.
Seva Chan was terrific too for the Cougars running the point and finishing with 21 points, seven assists, four rebounds and two steals including two of the game’s biggest shots.
Steven Van Lit also had 16 points and five steals while nailing 4/5 from three-point range with Jaarod Holmes contributing seven points, five rebounds and three assists.
Jay Bowie top-scored with 23 points and eight rebounds for Willetton even though he shot 1/9 from beyond the arc. He hit all eight of his free throws.
Badou Diagne was restricted to 22 minutes because of foul trouble but had 18 points and nine rebounds with Jake Burston contributing 16 points, seven boards and four assists, and Damien Scott 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Field might not have had the best shooting night, but he came up with big shots and played when it mattered most and was delighted with the win.
“I said to the guys at the start of the game that we really have nothing to lose because going into this weekend we pretty much have to win out to make the finals so they are the ones really fighting for that finals spot,” Field said.
“We just went out there to play loose and free, and we did especially in that third quarter when Stevie came out and blitzed it. We just had people step up at the right times and make shots, which is what basketball is about at the end of the day.
“We’ve been shorthanded all year and I think maybe we’ve had our whole team for one game and that’s only even including when we had Clint (Steindl). Coming in shorthanded again, you just hope that people step up and play their role, and that they know what their role is. Then if they make shots, then they make shots. That’s what we did and got some stops, and we came away with the win.”
The Cougars now have a short turnaround to host the on-fire Geraldton Buccaneers on Saturday at Wally Hagan Stadium. But Field is looking forward to the challenge.
“They are a very physically imposing team and they are big. I think they start four guys over 6’5 so they are big and imposing, but we just need to let the ball do the work,” Field said.
“If everyone works well as a team both offensively and defensively then hopefully we can come away with a win. We’ll just go out there to play basketball.”
WEEK 17 MEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Willetton Tigers 95 lost to Cockburn Cougars 99
Lakeside Lightning 110 defeated South West Slammers 99
Stirling Senators 105 defeated Rockingham Flames 87
Goldfields Giants v Joondalup Wolves – Niels Hansen Basketball Stadium 7.30pm
Cockburn Cougars v Geraldton Buccaneers – Wally Hagan Stadium 7.30pm
South West Slammers v Perth Redbacks – Eaton Recreation Centre 8.00pm
East Perth Eagles v Mandurah Magic – Morley Sport and Recreation Centre 8.00pm
Perry Lakes Hawks v Kalamunda Eastern Suns – Bendat Basketball Centre 8.00pm
Mandurah Magic v Stirling Senators – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 2.00pm
Lakeside Lightning v Geraldton Buccaneers – Lakeside Recreation Centre 2.00pm