THE Cockburn Cougars might not be playing finals in 2018 in the Men’s SBL but they did finish their season on a high with a dominant final quarter to storm home and beat the Rockingham Flames on Friday night.
There was just the one match in the Men’s SBL on Friday night to open the final round of the regular season pitting a Rockingham team locked into the playoffs up against a Cockburn team out of contention.
The Flames then took control through the third quarter to lead by 10 heading into the fourth quarter. But the Cougars found something special to finish their 2018 campaign on a high, winning 87-82.
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It was a big night in Rockingham at Mike Barnett Sports Complex in the final game of the regular season with the Flames hosting Mental Health Round in a bid to raise awareness and promote greater resources that are required to support the mental health prevention field.
That was done in conjunction with Greg Hire’s A Stitch in Time charity and it set the stage for a big way for the Flames and Cougars to close the regular season in the standalone Friday night fixture.
Rockingham again had the services of Sunday Dech despite him not qualifying for the playoffs and the home side managed to lead by four points at quarter-time and to still hold on to a 43-39 advantage at the long break.
The Flames then pulled away further with 22 points to 16 in the third period to lead 65-55 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Cougars were inspired to finish their season on a high, though, and by the time there was 4:30 left in the game, they had drawn level thanks to a triple from Julian Pesava.
Another three from Pesava a minute later saw Cockburn move to a three-point advantage before Gavin Field put them up by five.
Kevin White kept Rockingham in touch when the Illawarra Hawks NBL captain from last season delivered a three-pointer of his own.
Greg Hire then levelled scores up with a pair of free-throws before Field and Seva Chan had answering baskets for Cockburn to put them up four before forcing White into a five-second turnover when he couldn’t inbound the ball.
Despite Hire still nailing a three to make it a one-point ball game, Field hit two free-throws to put Cockburn back up three and when Rockingham missed the attempted tying triple from Dech, Field sealed the win for the Cougars with another two at the stripe.
The Cougars piled on 32 points to 17 in the last quarter to finish the season with the win that takes them to an 11-15 record. The Flames will finish at 12-14 and now remain in eighth position for a quarter-final match up with the Geraldton Buccaneers with Game 1 to be in Rockingham.
Gavin Field once again led from the front for the Cougars to further enhance his MVP credentials with another 25 points, six rebounds and three assists while playing all 40 minutes of the game.
Brandon Sebirumbi added 20 points and 15 rebounds for Cockburn with Julian Pesava adding 18 points and five boards, and Seva Chan 17 points and six rebounds.
Ryan Godfrey finished up top-scoring for Rockingham with 16 points, four assists, three steals and two rebounds with Curtis Washington adding 14 points, three boards, three assists and three blocked shots.
Sunday Dech contributed 13 points, six rebounds and two assists, Greg Hire 12 points, nine assists, eight boards and three steals, Kevin White nine points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals, and Justin Beard eight points.
WEEK 20 MEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Rockingham Flames 82 lost to Cockburn Cougars 87
Goldfields Giants v Lakeside Lightning – Niels Hansen Basketball Stadium 7.30pm
Geraldton Buccaneers v Willetton Tigers – Active West Stadium 7.30pm
Stirling Senators v Perry Lakes Hawks – Warwick Stadium 8.00pm
Mandurah Magic v Joondalup Wolves – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 8.00pm
East Perth Eagles v Perth Redbacks – Morley Sport and Recreation Centre 8.00pm
South West Slammers v Kalamunda Eastern Suns – Eaton Recreation Centre 8.00pm