THE Perry Lakes Hawks made it a perfect weekend with two wins inside 18 hours backing up Saturday night’s win over the Perth Redbacks by handing the Geraldton Buccaneers their first defeat on Sunday in Ben Purser’s 300th SBL appearance.
Both the Hawks and Buccs came into the Sunday afternoon clash at Bendat Basketball Centre on the back of Saturday night victories, thanks to commanding second half performances.
Defending champions Perry Lakes got its first win on the board for 2019 by overrunning the Perth Redbacks at Belmont Oasis with 34 points to 22 in the fourth quarter to win by 11 on the back of 30 points and 8/13 three-point shooting from Clint Steindl.
The Buccaneers then kept their undefeated run to start the season going with their first appearance on the road, putting up a monstrous 81 points in the second half to beat the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 117-88 at Ray Owen Sports Centre.
That set the stage for a terrific contest to close Round 3 in the Men’s SBL and it didn’t disappoint.
Hawks big man Brian Carlwell was on fire early scoring his team’s opening six points but the Buccs stuck with them and when Liam Hunt nailed consecutive jumpers, they were up 10-9.
That soon became 15-9 when Willie Conner popped from mid-range forcing Hawks coach Matt Parsons into an early timeout. The response was an immediate triple from Clint Steindl but five quick Conner points for Geraldton had the visitors leading 20-12.
Two threes from 372-game veteran Aaron Ralph stretched the lead for the Buccs to nine and they were still up 32-25 by quarter-time.
Perry Lakes shot themselves back into the game in the second period starting with threes from Ryan Smith and Lochlan Cummings.
An individual 8-2 run from Smith kept the Hawks within touch midway through the quarter and then three more triples from Steindl before half-time had the home team leading 57-55 at the break.
The lead continued to see-saw through the third quarter with Geraldton turning into the fourth term with an 82-80 advantage, before the game took a turn to start the last quarter with Carlwell ejected for the Hawks.
The subsequent free-throw from Ralph put Geraldton up 85-80 but by going small actually worked in the favour of the Hawks the rest of the way.
It did take until there was 4:30 left in the game on another Steindl three-pointer for Perry Lakes to assume the lead for good.
But once in front they never surrendered the advantage with Smith hitting another from downtown to stretch the lead to five. When Kyle Sovine did the same, the Hawks hit the century mark and went on to win by seven.
After two tough losses to start their championship defence to the Wolves and Flames, Parsons was delighted to come away with the win over the Buccs on the back of beating the Redbacks on Saturday night.
“It has been a good weekend actually. It’s no secret we haven’t played well or anywhere near our potential the first couple of weeks and we always knew there’d be a target on our backs this year,” Parsons said.
“In Round 1 we met a Joondalup team that has been thinking about us for six months and in Round 2 it was a Rockingham who have been doing the same. If we come in and are five per cent off, those teams can come in and do some serious damage against us, which is kind of what it was.
“But this weekend it was gritty and we have to still define who we are as a group now. Obviously we’ve had some changes and additions with Clint and Kyle coming in as well as DT coming back.
“Not only that, we’ve got some growth with some of our younger kids and for the most part this was a tough weekend and challenging basketball, but in both games we were able to grind our way out at the end with the class prevailing of the guys we brought in.”
It was a first loss of the season for the Buccs despite all five of their starters scoring at least 14 points and six players finishing with double-figures.
Willie Conner top-scored with 21 points and four assists with Colter Lasher adding 17 points, five rebounds and four assists, Marcus Alipate 16 points, Brayden Inger 15 points and eight rebounds, Liam Hunt 14 points and Aaron Ralph 10 points, four boards and two steals.
Buccaneers coach Dayle Joseph took the positives from the performance as they head home 1-1 on their first road trip of 2019.
“We had some good things happen and we corrected a few things at half-time, which I think made a difference and we slipped up on a couple of other things,” Joseph said.
“Like I said to the boys afterwards, we’ll probably learn more from that game than we will from the previous three wins. We have to take the positives out of that and they are a good team too. They are probably than they were last year.”
It was an impressive shooting display from Perry Lakes as they nailed 17/38 from three-point range with Ryan Smith nailing 7/11 for 25 points and Clint Steindl hitting 5/10 for 19 points.
Lochlan Cummings only made 2/12 but had 17 points, seven assists and six rebounds with Ben Purser producing 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists in his 300th game.
Brian Carlwell had 12 points and nine rebounds in 16 minutes before his ejection while Kyle Sovine added 10 points and four boards.
Parsons couldn’t have been happier with the performance on the back of what they produced late in the game on Saturday night against the Redbacks too.
“This was a big weekend for us as a benchmark moment. We knew that Redbacks were fairly undermanned with what they had available with some talent to come in, but they didn’t play like they were a team missing talent,” Parsons said.
“They challenged us in all those little areas that make teams better and we were able to respond. Then that’s a really good, deep Geraldton team and it’s the first time in a while they’ve been that deep.
“Every one of their guys did what we expected them to do and they are a good basketball unit, but we were just able to come out on top.”
To win in recognition of the 300th game of Purser is also something that Parsons felt his teammates were extra motivated to make happen.
“Ben’s influence on the group has been phenomenal and his teammates stood up for him in this game and he deserves to go out a winner in his 300th game,” Parsons said.
“There’s no secret how import Ben is not only to Perry Lakes, but basketball in WA for what he’s done in the landscape of this league. Us coaches are lucky to have a guy like Ben come through our program and he’s an easy guy to coach and does all the little things for his teammates.
“It was his teammates ability to show in that game how important he is to us and stand up when they needed to against the top-of-the-table team was probably the most rewarding part of the performance.”
WEEK 3 MEN’S SBL FIXTURES
Willetton Tigers 62 lost to Kalamunda Eastern Suns 88
Lakeside Lightning 96 defeated Texture WA Perth Redbacks 67
CMTG East Perth Eagles 84 lost to Chambers Franklyn Joondalup City Wolves 93
Prestige Honda Melville Cockburn Cougars 90 lost to Sinclair McDonald’s Rockingham Flames 120
Northern Star Resources Goldfields Giants 88 defeated Bethanie Warwick Senators 85
Print Sync South West Slammers 79 lost to Willetton Tigers 86
Mandurah Magic 48 lost to CMTG East Perth Eagles 99
Texture WA Perth Redbacks 97 lost to ID Athletic Perry Lakes Hawks 108
Kalamunda Eastern Suns 88 lost to Quadrio Earthmoving Geraldton Buccaneers 117
ID Athletic Perry Lakes Hawks 104 defeated Quadrio Earthmoving Geraldton Buccaneers 97