ROAD wins in Geraldton for Lakeside and Kalgoorlie for Kalamunda could prove massive in context of the 2019 Men’s SBL season while two victories steadied the Perry Lakes Hawks and the Rockingham Flames made it five straight to improve to second spot.
With only four rounds now remaining in the 2019 regular season, every game is taking on greater significance so the Eastern Suns winning in Kalgoorlie improved them into eighth spot while the Lightning winning in Geraldton saw them remain in the top four and close the gap on the Buccs.
The defending champion Hawks beat both the Magic and Eagles to stay in touch with the top four too while the Giants, Tigers and Redbacks all suffered losses that make the battle for seventh and eighth fascinating.
ROUND 16 SPOTLIGHT | SCRAPPY SENATORS JUST HOLD OUT GRITTY SLAMMERS
ROUND 16 MEN’S SBL PREVIEW
UTLEY SETTLING AT EASTERN SUNS, EXCITED FOR FUTURE
ALL-ROUND STAR BRAUN LOVING LIFE DOWN UNDER
BOWIE BACK AT GIANTS TO REPLICATE FIRST SEASON MAGIC
BLACK CAN’T HIDE PRIDE IN TIGERS’ FIGHTING SPIRIT
ROBBINS SCRATCHING THE ITCH AFTER PREMATURE RETIREMENT
Round 16 in the Men’s SBL began with the standalone Friday night fixture with the Rockingham Flames winning the inaugural Anthony Exeter Cup, beating the Perth Redbacks 103-77 at Mike Barnett Sports Complex.
Then on Saturday evening, the Cockburn Cougars pulled off the stunning win over the Warwick Senators 97-94 on the buzzer thanks to a banked in straight on three-pointer from Jakob Knight.
The Lakeside Lightning also defeated the Geraldton Buccaneers 88-78, the Kalamunda Eastern Suns beat the Goldfields Giants 113-95, the Joondalup Wolves downed the Willetton Tigers 87-74 and the Perry Lakes Hawks proved too strong for the Mandurah Magic, 100-84.
There were two more matches on Sunday afternoon with the Perry Lakes Hawks defeating the East Perth Eagles 98-88 and the Warwick Senators overcoming the South West Slammers 89-82.
Those results leave the Joondalup Wolves (17-4) clear on top of the Men’s SBL ahead of the Rockingham Flames (15-5), Geraldton Buccaneers (14-5) and Lakeside Lightning (14-5).
The Warwick Senators (14-7) sit in fifth position just ahead of the Perry Lakes Hawks (14-7) with the Goldfields Giants (11-10) and Kalamunda Eastern Suns (9-11) rounding out the top eight.
The Willetton Tigers (9-12) sit ninth in front of the Perth Redbacks (8-13), Cockburn Cougars (6-14), East Perth Eagles (6-15), Mandurah Magic (5-16) and South West Slammers (1-19).
ROUND 16 MEN’S SBL
SINCLAIR MCDONALD’S ROCKINGHAM FLAMES 103 defeated TEXTURE WA PERTH REDBACKS 77
They might still be unable to get to full strength but the Rockingham Flames just keep rolling on making it five straight wins as they blew the Perth Redbacks away on Friday night to win 103-77.
The two teams did battle at Mike Barnett Sports Complex in the standalone Friday night contest with the Anthony Exeter Cup on the line, named in honour of the former league MVP who tragically lost his life earlier this year and played 229 SBL matches with the Flames and 75 with the Redbacks.
Despite coming into the game on a three-game losing run against the form team of the competition, the Redbacks put together an impressive opening half as well, executing well offensively and disrupting the Flames defensively to head into half-time lead 49-44.
But things all changed dramatically to open the third quarter. Rockingham came out and hit 10 quick points made up of a Greg Hire floater, Luke Travers triple, Justin Beard three and a Caleb White layup in less than two minutes forcing Nik Lackovic into a quick timeout.
Travers pushed it to a 12-0 run for the Flames as they went from five down at half-time to leading by seven in the space of three minutes of the third quarter.
Rockingham went on to lead 70-63 by three quarter-time and then dominated the last quarter by piling on 33 points to 14 to win the game and the Anthony Exeter Cup.
Along the way, Redbacks coach Lackovic found himself ejected following a player where his guard Jayden Coburn took a heavy blow with no call made by the officials.
Lackovic received two tech fouls in the aftermath ending his night early and he received a raucous send off from the Rockingham locals, many of them who were Exeter’s old teammates enjoying their night remembering their old mate.
The win is a fifth straight for the Flames who improve to fifth position on the Men’s SBL table while the Redbacks have lost four in-a-row to be 10th at 8-13.
Despite Rockingham still not being at full strength with the absence of Josh Ritchart, they had plenty of impressive contributors led by teenage sensation Luke Travers, who finished with 17 points, six rebounds, three steals, two blocked shots and two assists.
Justin Beard also produced 17 points, four rebounds and two assists while hitting 4/8 from three-point territory with Caleb White contributing 17 points, three boards and two steals.
Ryan Godfrey also had 13 points and five assists, Greg Hire 13 points and 12 rebounds, Chudier Pal 12 points and eight boards, and Callum Beard nine points, four rebounds and two steals.
The Redbacks got a big night out of 2017 Grand Final MVP Lee Roberts who had 26 points and nine rebounds while Marshall Nelson battled hard to still contribute 21 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals including going 10/13 from the free-throw line.
Captain Joel Wagner added 11 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals for the Redbacks with Jayden Coburn contributing eight points and Zac Gattorna seven.
MANDURAH MAGIC 84 lost to ID ATHLETIC PERRY LAKES HAWKS 100
The Perry Lakes Hawks started their double-header this weekend going south to Mandurah on Saturday night and came away with a solid 16-point victory.
Perry Lakes was coming off an impressive 24-point win also on the road last week against the Warwick Senators and were able to keep that momentum going away to the Magic on Saturday night.
The Hawks put up 31 points in the first quarter to lead by 13 by quarter-time but the Magic did fire back in the second term to outscore Perry Lakes by nine and that cut the lead of the visitors to 47-43 by the main break.
It was a high-octane third quarter with 59 points between the two teams but that suited Perry Lakes who put up 33 points to 26 to lead 80-69 by three quarter-time.
The Hawks were then able to finish the job in the fourth quarter with 20 points to 15 to claim the 100-84 victory.
It’s an important win for Perry Lakes who improve to 13-7 on the season ahead of hosting East Perth on Sunday while Mandurah has lost its past four matches to be 5-16.
Shawn Redhage produced the standout performance of the night for the Hawks with 24 points, eight rebounds and four assists on the back of going 8/11 from the field and 8/10 from the foul line.
Ryan Smith had a tremendously efficient 15 points with 4/7 from downtown too to go with five rebounds and three assists.
Mitch Clarke produced 15 points and six rebounds while Clint Steindl contributed 13 points and four rebounds, and Ben Purser nine points, seven boards and four assists.
Marvin Smith had a good night for the Magic with 27 points and seven rebounds while Shaun Stewart returned from injury to deliver 17 points, seven assists and five rebounds.
Travis Durnin played well for Mandurah too with 20 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals on going 7/12 from the field while Jerami Grace contributed six points, four rebounds and four steals in his third game.
PRESTIGE HONDA MELVILLE COCKBURN COUGARS 97 defeated BETHANIE WARWICK SENATORS 94
When things start to go wrong for you, they tend to snowball and that was the case for the Warwick Senators on Saturday night as they lost to a miracle three-pointer on the buzzer from Jakob Knight against the Cockburn Cougars on Saturday night.
Going back five weeks and the Senators were playing as well as any team in the competition, but coming into Saturday night after losses to Perry Lakes and Lakeside last weekend, and losing three of their previous six matches meant they needed to respond against the Cougars.
Cockburn might have been out of the playoff hunt but that didn’t mean they were going to be a pushover and they were already coming off morale boosting wins over the Perth Redbacks and South West Slammers heightening their confidence.
Warwick did start well enough in the first half to lead by six points at quarter-time and then by half-time that edge had built to 49-40.
Cockburn was far from done yet, though, and produced a brilliant third quarter made up of 33 points to 22 to turn that nine-point deficit into a two-point lead by three quarter-time.
Cockburn continued its momentum with four quick points to start the fourth quarter to stretch the lead to six before Warwick responded to a triple from Jay Thwaites and and-one play from Ash Litterick.
Julian Pesava then marked his first appearance of the season for Cockburn with a crucial three to again put his team up five with 6:45 left. The Cougars still led by five with Gavin Field nailing a pair of free-throws with three minutes remaining.
Field made two more from the stripe and Cockburn led by six with 1:30 left before a Caleb Davis three for the Senators. A three-point play steadied Cockburn to a four-point advantage but with four free-throws from Cody Ellis and Justin King, Warwick tied scores up with eight seconds to go.
Adam Nener drew up the play from the timeout from the Cougars and it probably didn’t to go to what he directed, but Jakob Knight nailed a stunning three from out top a couple of metres from the three-point line which banked in to give Cockburn the stunning win.
The win gave the Cougars a third straight victory to improve to 6-14 while for the Senators it was a third straight loss ahead of hosting the Slammers on Sunday.
On top of hitting the game-winner, Jakob Knight delivered 22 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and two assists for the Cougars.
Gavin Field also delivered 26 points, seven assists, five rebounds and three steals while Matt Vinci came up big for 16 points, five boards, four assists and two steals.
Julian Pesava played his first game of 2019 for 14 points and four assists as well with Steven Van Lit contributing 11 points on 3/6 shooting from long-range.
Justin King equal top-scored scored for the Senators with 17 points, seven assists, six rebounds and three steals with Ngor Manyang continuing his career-best season with another 17 points on 7/12 shooting.
Caleb Davis added 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Senators, Ash Litterick 13 points, eight boards and four assists, Cody Ellis 13 points and seven rebounds, and Rob Anshila eight points, six boards and three assists.
QUADRIO EARTHMOVING GERALDTON BUCCANEERS 78 lost to LAKESIDE LIGHTNING 88
The Lakeside Lightning further asserted their championship credentials in the Men’s SBL by going to Geraldton and knocking off the Buccaneers by 10 points on Saturday night.
Both teams entered the match in tremendous form with the Buccs on a six-game winning streak while the Lightning got on the bus having won their previous three matches.
It was a tight opening to the game as well with Geraldton leading by just the solitary point at quarter-time. The Buccaneers then built some momentum in the second term and went into the half-time break with a handy 41-33 lead.
But the Lightning responded after the break and delivered 25 points to 15 in the third quarter, and then finished the job with 30 points to 22 in the fourth term to turn that eight-point half-time deficit into an 88-78 point victory at Active West Stadium.
It was a tremendous performance from the Lightning with Jobi Wall top-scoring with 24 points and six rebounds while going 8/13 from three-point territory.
Jack Isenbarger might have only shot 3/17 from downtown but still found a way to contribute 21 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals for Lakeside.
Michael Vigor produced 21 points, six rebounds and three assists with Kyle Armour contributing nine points and four boards, Rowan Mackenzie eight points, five rebounds and five assists, and Jarrad Prue three points, 18 rebounds and three assists.
Liam Hunt top-scored for the Buccaneers with 16 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Colter Lasher added 15 points, four assists and three rebounds while Marcus Alipate added 12 points and four boards, Aaron Ralph 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists, and Brendan Dinardo seven points.
DeAngelo Isby had his first quiet game in the league with six points on 2/10 shooting.
NORTHERN STAR RESOURCES GOLDFIELDS GIANTS 95 lost to KALAMUNDA EASTERN SUNS 113
The Kalamunda Eastern Suns continued to offer a glimpse of their potential with a tremendous 18-point win in Kalgoorlie over the Goldfields Giants on Saturday night to break into the top eight.
The Eastern Suns have always appeared a team of great potential this season but they just haven’t been able to strung wins together. However, backing up a tremendous win in Geraldton earlier in the season, they were supremely impressive at Niels Basketball Stadium on Saturday night.
The Giants were attempting to hit back from becoming the first team to lose to the South West Slammers this season the previous Sunday and to consolidate their spot in the top eight, but the Eastern Suns had other ideas on the back of a solid home win against East Perth.
With the top six teams in the Men’s SBL looking solid to make the playoffs, that leaves seventh and eighth up for grabs with both the Giants and Suns locked in the battle for those positions with the Tigers and Redbacks.
That raised the stakes for the contest and the Suns were on top from the outset. The visitors opened a 29-25 lead by quarter-time before dominating the second quarter with 30 points to 19 to head into half-time leading 59-44.
The Eastern Suns then took the game out of reach of the Giants in the third quarter with another 34 points to 23. Kalamunda would lead by as much as 30 points before Goldfields came home with a flurry which only served to cut the Suns’ eventual win to 113-95.
Louis Timms didn’t play for Kalamunda having hurt his knee the previous Saturday night against East Perth, but in his absence Ryan Blanchett came up huge with 27 points and 13 rebounds on 12/17 shooting from the field and 2/3 from deep in the performance of his 115-game SBL career.
Point guard Javion Blake was also outstanding for the Eastern Suns with 27 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists in a superb triple-double while Josh Braun wasn’t to be outdone with 34 points, 14 rebounds on shooting 11/21 from the floor, 4/11 from deep and 8/9 from the stripe.
Corey Easley also had 11 points, four rebounds and three assists, Jono Diaz three points and five assists, and Carl Aylett eight points and three boards.
The Giants were without Jay Bowie for the third straight match and sorely missed him despite Patrick Burke having a monstrous night with 44 points and five rebounds on shooting 18/30 from the floor.
Mayo Malek added 16 points and 18 rebounds for Goldfields, Brandon Holloway 15 points and six assists, Dave Humphries eight points, 12 rebounds and five assists, and Daniel Forlano six points and five assists.
CHAMBERS FRANKLYN JOONDALUP CITY WOLVES 87 defeated WILLETTON TIGERS 74
The Joondalup Wolves maintained their edge on top of the Men’s SBL beating the Willetton Tigers on Saturday night at HBF Arena on the back of a tremendous first half display.
The Wolfpack came into the game having suffered just their fourth loss of the season the previous Friday night in Rockingham, but they bounced back impressively 24 hours later to beat the Perth Redbacks at home by 28 points.
Willetton, meanwhile, might have lost in Geraldton the week before but only by three points and prior to that they had been in impressive form winning five of six matches to come into Round 16 occupying eighth position in the standings.
And given the two teams have met in two of the last three finals series as well then it was always going to be a fascinating match up.
Even without Ridell Camidge suiting up, the Wolves started impressively with a 27-20 opening quarter.
They then kept the momentum going with 29 points to 18 in the second term to head into half-time in control leading 56-38.
But Willetton has been showing tremendous heart of late and continued to fight and put up 25 points in the third quarter, and outscored Joondalup 36 points to 31 after half-time.
Despite that, the Wolfpack still prevailed 87-74 to improve to a 17-4 record on the season to maintain their edge on top spot.
The Tigers did drop to ninth position as a result of the defeat but they do remain locked in that battle for seventh or eighth spot with the Giants, Eastern Suns and Redbacks with four rounds remaining.
It was an efficient evening from the Wolves who shot 33/66 at 50 per cent from the field and 11/36 at 30 per cent from three-point range to go with collecting 43 rebounds and dishing out 28 assists.
The Tigers didn’t do much wrong either ending up shooting 42 per cent from the field and 33 per cent from three. But they did only get to the foul line four times and were outrebounded by 10 as they fought valiantly despite the lack of size in the absence of Scott Elder and Chris Galbreath.
Rob Huntington took it upon himself to be more aggressive offensively for the Wolfpack and it paid off as he top-scored with 21 points and five rebounds with the Tigers struggling for size up front.
Kevin Davis was efficient too with 16 points and 10 rebounds on 6/9 shooting.
Earnest Ross also produced 19 points, five rebounds and five assists while hitting 4/8 from downtown while Ben Ironmonger contributed six points and four assists, Reece Maxwell five points, Trian Iliadis five points and five assists, and Seb Salinas five points and four assists.
Damien Scott top-scored for Willetton with 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists with Mo Barrow contributing 17 points and six assists.
Andrew Black also had 11 points for the Tigers, Connor Mincherton 10 points and Hayden Noordhoek eight points, six rebounds and three assists.
ID ATHLETIC PERRY LAKES HAWKS 98 defeated CMTG EAST PERTH EAGLES 88
The Perry Lakes Hawks needed to keep winning to remain a chance of finishing in the top four and they did that on Sunday against the East Perth Eagles, but they were made to earn it right to the end.
Perry Lakes was coming off a good win the night before in Mandurah while East Perth was fresh playing its first game of the weekend with some more personnel changes with Colin Driscoll back in charge as coach and Shaquille Maharaj returning to the line-up.
It was always going to be a tricky game for the Hawks and scores were tied at 26-apiece at quarter-time before Perry Lakes did begin to pull away in the second term to head into half-time leading 48-41.
The Hawks then put the game away with 27 points to 17 in the third term and they did end up leading by as much as 20 points, but the Eagles refused to go away.
When Cameron Williams knocked down a three, the Hawks turned the ball over and the Eagles point guard hit a jumper, suddenly it was a seven-point ball game with a minute remaining.
Another Perry Lakes turnover then led to two more Williams free-throws and suddenly it was a five-point ball game. The stage was set for East Perth to steal one just as they threatened to do the previous Saturday night against Kalamunda highlighting their fighting spirit.
But the Hawks did enough to steady and score the last five points to win 98-88 but not without quite the heart flutter.
It was a crucial win for the defending champions too who improve to 14-7 to remain a chance of finishing in the top four. East Perth slipped to 6-15 with the loss despite the positives to come from it.
Captain Ben Purser top-scored for the Hawks with 24 points and six rebounds on shooting 9/16 from the field.
Shawn Redhage added another 16 points and eight rebounds on an efficient 7/8 shooting while Cooper Hamilton contributed 13 points and three rebounds, Brian Carlwell 11 points and four boards, Mitch Clarke 11 points, four rebounds and four assists, and Rob Cassir five points and six assists.
Cameron Williams was tremendous for East Perth despite dealing with foul trouble, finishing with 27 points and five steals in just 28 minutes of court time.
Jordan Wellsteed added 11 points and four rebounds for the Eagles, Drew Williamson 10 points, four boards and three steals, Anthony Golden nine points and five rebounds, and Aiden Murphy eight points, six boards and four assists.
BETHANIE WARWICK SENATORS 89 defeated PRINT SYNC SOUTH WEST SLAMMERS 82
It might have not been pretty but the Warwick Senators just needed to get back to the winner’s list somehow on Sunday afternoon against the South West Slammers, and they did that even though it took until late in the game for them to get on top at Warwick Stadium.
The recent struggles of the Senators to have lost five of their eight matches since their nine-game winning streak to go from top spot at 10-2 to starting to lose touch with the top four at 13-7 following Saturday night’s buzzer-beating loss to the Cougars heightened the importance of the home clash with the Slammers.
The Slammers then came out and turned the heat back onto the Senators further with four quick points to start the game and then managing to lead 10-2 after three minutes.
Despite big man Terrell Carter limited by foul trouble, South West stayed on top too and led 25-21 by quarter-time.
Another Tyler Livingston triple kept the Slammers up five and then James Goodlad, playing with Carter in foul trouble, made a bucket to keep the visitors on top by five.
Heading towards half-time, the Senators did manage an 8-0 to regain the lead and they did hold a narrow 45-42 edge at the main break.
Warwick threatened to run away with it to start the second half with a 7-0 run that saw them lead by nine but this Slammers side wasn’t going away even with Carter picking up his third foul and then a technical leading him to sit out until the fourth period.
But Michael Lay scored five quick points and then James Allen knocked down a three to tie scores up with four minutes left in the third period.
Warwick went into three quarter-time leading 62-61 but then Carter returned for the Slammers and made some big baskets inside. When Livingston then hit a three, the Slammers led 76-73 and the win was right on the cards.
But the Senators responded with a triple from Ngor Manyang before Justin King hit seven big points. That was enough to open a match-winning advantage for the Senators as they went on to escape with the 89-82 win.
Caleb Davis put in a big showing for the Senators finishing with 23 points, nine rebounds and four assists while Rob Anshila delivered 17 points and eight rebounds in just 23 minutes off the bench.
Justin King delivered 16 points, five rebounds and three assists for Warwick with Cody Ellis producing 11 points, nine assists and six boards, Ngor Manyang 10 points and two rebounds, Ash Litterick six points and four boards, and Jay Thwaites four points and three steals.
Michael Lay put in another standout point guard performance for the Slammers sending him another signal to play on in 2020, finishing with 29 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and three steals while shooting 11/17 from the floor and 4/6 from downtown.
Tyler Livingston contributed well too with 21 points and four rebounds while Terrell Carter still had 13 points, eight rebounds and five steals despite his foul problems.
Brody England continued his impressive growth with 12 points and five rebounds while James Allen contributed five points off the bench in 13 minutes.