THE Stirling Senators made it a double-win weekend with a win in the Men’s SBL over the Mandurah Magic on Sunday while the Geraldton Buccaneers consolidated top spot beating Lakeside Lightning with that afternoon soured with a horror injury to Jack Isenbarger.
Round 17 in the Men’s SBL finished with the two games on Sunday afternoon and that saw the Stirling Senators defeat the Mandurah Magic 100-94 at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre.
Two on-fire teams then battled at Lakeside Recreation Centre and the Geraldton Buccaneers held off the Lakeside Lightning to win 103-94, but it was overshadowed by a devastating broken leg suffered by Lightning sharpshooter Jack Isenbarger late in the opening quarter.
Round 17 began back on Friday night with the Cockburn Cougars beating the Willetton Tigers 99-95 in overtime with the Lakeside Lightning also defeating the South West Slammers 110-99 and the Stirling Senators downing the Rockingham Flames 105-87.
There were then five matches on Saturday night starting with the Goldfields Giants beating the Joondalup Wolves 93-91 and the Geraldton Buccaneers defeating the Cockburn Cougars 109-104.
The Perth Redbacks also beat the South West Slammers 118-88 with the Mandurah Magic downing the East Perth Eagles 102-81 and the Perry Lakes Hawks defeating the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 111-101.
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MEN’S SBL PREVIEW – WEEK 17
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The Sunday afternoon action in the Men’s SBL got underway in Mandurah with the Magic attempting to back up a good win on Saturday over Mandurah up against a Stirling team also coming off beating Rockingham at home on Friday.
The Magic continued their momentum from the previous evening and led 27-22 by the end of the first quarter and they were still up 47-43 at the half.
Stirling had managed to claw that back to a two-point deficit by the end of the third quarter and then the Senators delivered 29 points to 21 in the fourth period to claim the hard fought six-point victory.
The win steadies the Senators in a playoff position with a 13-10 record while the Magic slip to 5-16.
Stirling was once again missing Cody Ellis but Robert Anshila top-scored on the afternoon with 29 points, 13 rebounds and two assists on shooting 10/21 from the field and 8/10 from the free-throw line.
Justin King added 26 points and eight rebounds for the Senators while Caleb Davis contributed 24 points and five rebounds, knocking down 4/6 from three-point range.
Corban Wroe finished with 15 points and four assists too for Stirling in the win.
Shaun Stewart backed up his huge game on Saturday with another massive performance made up of 41 points, six assists, five rebounds and five steals for the Magic on shooting 16/24 from the floor and 6/10 from long range.
Jamal Shabazz added 24 points and five rebounds for Mandurah, Chudier Pal 12 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three blocks, and Duk Makuei six points, four rebounds and two assists.
Then at Lakeside Recreation Centre, the stage was set for a cracking encounter between the Lightning and Buccaneers with Lakeside on a four-game winning run knocking on the door of the top four and the Buccs having won 12 of the last 13 to be in first place.
The Lightning made an impressive start too and led 19-14 with three minutes left in the first quarter when Daniel Alexander nailed a three-pointer.
The game then became secondary when Lightning import Jack Isenbarger, who has been in scintillating form, went down with a horrific broken leg suffered when fouled with 2:26 left in the quarter.
The severity of the injury was immediately obvious and the game suffered a lengthy delay as the Lightning staff and Isenbarger’s teammates did what they could to comfort their fallen comrade awaiting the ambulance.
He was eventually taken out of the venue by the paramedics on the stretcher to a strong ovation as he bravely saluted the fans, his teammates and the Buccs players as he headed for hospital.
That left a cloud over the rest of the afternoon but to the credit of the Lightning, they continued fighting despite now being without Isenbarger along with Corey Shervill against the deep and in-form league leaders.
The Buccaneers went into half-time leading 52-48 and then pulled away during the third quarter with 31 points to 20 and they opened a game-high 17-point advantage heading into the fourth period.
Lakeside never gave up the ghost and it was Bryan Michaels leading the charge. When he drilled another three with just over two minutes left the margin was just four and then Matt Vinci connected on a long ball too to make it a one-point ball game.
But Earnest Ross responded for the Buccs with a three of his own and with Daniel Alexander having already fouled out, the visitors did enough to win by nine points and consolidate top spot with a 19-3 record.
Earnest Ross led the way for Geraldton with 29 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals on shooting 12/22 from the field and 3/6 from downtown.
Aaron Ralph added 27 points on a stunning 8/12 shooting from deep for the Buccs with Colter Lasher contributing 13 points, five rebounds and three steals, Gokul Natesan 12 points, three boards and three assists, and Marcus Alipate 11 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Bryan Michaels had a huge performance for the Lightning ending the contest with 37 points, nine rebounds and three assists on shooting 6/8 from beyond the arc.
Daniel Alexander contributed 15 points, six assists and five rebounds for Lakeside, Rowan Mackenzie 11 points and four boards, and Matt Vinci nine points and five assists.
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 93 defeated Joondalup Wolves 91
Cockburn Cougars 104 lost to Geraldton Buccaneers 109
South West Slammers 88 lost to Perth Redbacks 118
East Perth Eagles 81 lost to Mandurah Magic 102
Perry Lakes Hawks 111 defeated Kalamunda Eastern Suns 101
Mandurah Magic 94 lost to Stirling Senators 100
Lakeside Lightning 94 lost to Geraldton Buccaneers 103