THE Geraldton Buccaneers kept their top two hopes in the Men’s SBL alive with a 46-point thumping of the Mandurah Magic at Waroona Recreation Centre on Sunday in their last genuine chance to explore their depth in 2019.
The Buccs will finish the regular season with four straight road games and they started that with a 47-point win over the South West Slammers at Eaton Recreation Centre on Saturday night.
They then backed it up at Waroona on Sunday despite still missing point guard Marcus Alipate with an equally dominant display to beat the Magic 121-75.
There was plenty to like in the performance from the Buccaneers as five players scored in double-figures and all 12 players hit the court for at least two minutes with nobody having to play over 30.
While the Buccaneers stay in third position after the weekend, they have the chance to still finish in the top two if they can make it a double-win in the final round of the regular season too when they take on the Lakeside Lightning and Warwick Senators.
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Coming off the 103-56 win over the South West Slammers the previous night, the Buccaneers just had to keep winning against the Magic when they did battle at Waroona Recreation Centre on Sunday if they still held out any top two hopes.
Both teams were down an important guard in their rotation with Marcus Alipate not making the trip for the Buccaneers while Jerami Grant was unavailable for the Magic ahead of trying to impress for an NBL contract at this coming week’s Next Gen camp.
Mandurah came into the game in Waroona having lost the previous night to the Perth Redbacks by 19 points as well to make it seven consecutive defeats, but they actually started relatively well to only trail Geraldton by a point at quarter-time.
But from there, the Buccaneers took control of the contest and put up 34 points in the second term to head into the half-time break leading 54-40.
It was more of the same in the second half with Geraldton dominating with 29 points to 16 in the third term, and 38 points to 19 in the fourth to end up winning 121-75.
The last quarter especially provided Buccs coach Dayle Joseph to dive into his bench with Taj Pirrottina scoring another basket after making his debut and knocking down a triple the previous night.
Diminutive point guard Joseph Iaria also scored his first points of the season hitting a three on the buzzer on the back of an offensive board after he put up an air ball.
The Buccaneers ended up with 51 rebounds to 33 on the afternoon while dominating inside too with 68 points in the paint to 26. They also forced the Magic in 21 turnovers from which they scored 25 points.
The Buccs shot 46/83 at 55 per cent from the field, 8/21 at 38 per cent from downtown and 21/28 at 75 per cent from the foul line while the Magic shot 38 per cent from the floor, 31 per cent from three and 80 per cent from the charity stripe.
The win improves Geraldton to an 18-6 record on the season ahead of road games in the final round against Lakeside and Warwick.
Buccaneers big man Liam Hunt was happy with the way his team performed this weekend to take care of business against the Slammers and Magic to win by a combined 93 points to set up two huge games with the Lightning and Senators ahead of the playoffs.
“I think we worked on the things that we have to work on which is our togetherness and really staying as a team to focus on the little things, like executing plays against two pretty dangerous teams who have a lot of firepower,” Hunt said.
“They can come out and surprise some teams with either upsets or close to upsets so we knew we would have to play well to get these two wins. So to come away with two pretty convincing wins was a big positive for us.
“It was good to have all the guys run out a little bit and we do legitimately go nine or 10 deep. We still have Marcus and James Paringatai to add to this group too and I’m really happy to see young guys like Josh, Taj, Will and Joey get out there to score and do all that stuff.
“It’s really good to see that because they work just as hard as we do and don’t always get the time on the court, but they got that this week. Now heading into this next weekend and the finals there won’t be many more blowouts, there’ll be more dogfights and we’re ready for that I think.”
Mandurah is now 5-20 having lost their past eight matches with their season ending on Saturday night against the Warwick Senators.
Emerging Geraldton star Alex Ducas showed just why he has such a promising career ahead of him to end up top-scoring on the day with 25 points, four rebounds and three assists on 8/12 shooting from the field and 7/7 from the foul line.
Colter Lasher added 21 points and eight rebounds for the Buccaneers while DeAngelo Isby moved into the starting line-up and produced 20 points and six boards.
Liam Hunt showed his strong all-round game once again with 13 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and block while Josh Hunt contributed 13 points, Aaron Ralph seven, William Galvin seven to go with five rebounds and two assists.
It was tough going for the Magic but Marvin Smith can hold his head high after putting up 27 points, four rebounds and two assists. Travis Durnin also battled hard for 16 points and six rebounds.
Shaun Stewart continues to be unable to recapture his form of the first half of the season finishing with 13 points and six assists while Akau Deng battled away for four points and six rebounds.
MEN’S SBL FIXTURES – WEEK 19
Chambers Franklyn Joondalup City Wolves 108 defeated Prestige Honda Cockburn Cougars 73
Willetton Tigers 104 defeated Print Sync South West Slammers 63
Bethanie Warwick Senators 94 defeated Sinclair McDonald’s Rockingham Flames 85
Lakeside Lightning 82 defeated Kalamunda Eastern Suns 80
Texture WA Perth Redbacks 97 defeated Mandurah Magic 78
ID Athletic Perry Lakes Hawks 95 lost to Lakeside Lightning 96
Print Sync South West Slammers 56 lost to Quadrio Earthmoving Geraldton Buccaneers 103
Northern Star Resources Goldfields Giants 125 defeated CMTG East Perth Eagles 107
Mandurah Magic 75 lost to Quadrio Earthmoving Geraldton Buccaneers 121