THE second last round in the Men’s SBL season sure set the stage for a dramatic finish with the Goldfields Giants and Willetton Tigers winning importantly while the Lakeside Lightning made it nine straight with two wins by a combined three points and the Warwick Senators regained some form.
Now with just one round remaining in the regular season, three teams can still finish in the top two positions while six teams could still end up in the top four and then there are three teams all locked on the same records with one match remaining battling over the seventh and eighth positions.
Round 19 got underway on Friday night with the Joondalup Wolves beating the Cockburn Cougars 108-73 at HBF Arena and the Willetton Tigers defeating the South West Slammers 104-63 at Willetton Basketball Stadium.
The Warwick Senators also defeated the Rockingham Flames 94-85 at Warwick Stadium and the Lakeside Lightning won their first heartstopper of the weekend, defeating the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 82-80 at Ray Owen Sports Centre.
ROUND 19 SPOTLIGHT | BUCCS TOO STRONG FOR MAGIC IN WAROONA
ROUND 19 SPOTLIGHT | LIGHTNING DO IT AGAIN AT THE DEATH
ROUND 19 SPOTLIGHT | WANI SWAKA INSPIRES SENATORS OVER FRUSTRATED FLAMES
STILL TIME FOR ELLIS’ SENATORS TO GET BACK ON TRACK
ROUND 19 MEN’S SBL PREVIEW
NENER PROVES COACHING CREDENTIALS IN TOUGH COUGARS ENVIRONMENT
ANDREW BLACK | 200 SBL GAMES
JONO DIAZ | 200 SBL GAMES
SBL TRIO SHOULD BE ON RADAR OF NBL CLUBS
Then on Saturday night, the Perth Redbacks defeated the Mandurah Magic 97-78 at Belmont Oasis and the Lakeside Lightning won at the buzzer over the Perry Lakes Hawks 96-95 at Bendat Basketball Centre.
The Geraldton Buccaneers opened their road double-header beating the South West Slammers 103-56 at Eaton Recreation Centre while the Goldfields Giants beat the East Perth Eagles 125-107 at Niels Hansen Basketball Stadium.
The round concluded on Sunday afternoon at Waroona Recreation Centre with the Geraldton Buccaneers again winning big, this time over the Mandurah Magic 121-75.
Following 19 rounds of the 2019 Men’s SBL season, the Lakeside Lightning (19-5) remain in top spot but the Joondalup Wolves (19-6) and Geraldton Buccaneers (18-6) aren’t far behind still heading into the final round.
The Rockingham Flames (17-8) are still fourth with Perry Lakes Hawks (17-8) fifth and Warwick Senators (16-8) sixth while the Kalamunda Eastern Suns (13-12), Goldfields Giants (13-12) and Willetton Tigers (13-12) are locked in the fight over seventh and eighth.
Only two of them can make it and they have one game each left in Round 20 with the Eastern Suns playing the Joondalup Wolves on Saturday night, the Giants hosting the Slammers and the Tigers hosting the Hawks.
The Perth Redbacks (10-15) are then in 10th position in front of the Cockburn Cougars (6-18), East Perth Eagles (6-19), Mandurah Magic (5-20) and South West Slammers (1-24).
ROUND 19 MEN’S SBL
CHAMBERS FRANKLYN JOONDALUP CITY WOLVES 108 defeated PRESTIGE HONDA COCKBURN COUGARS 73
The Cockburn Cougars came to HBF Arena with nothing to lose on Friday night but ultimately the Joondalup Wolves had too much quality, depth and to play for going to record a 108-73 victory.
The Cougars could still make themselves nuisance value across the last couple of rounds of the season, but the Wolfpack wouldn’t be taken out of their game on Friday night as they look to lock down a top spot and try to get back into first place.
The Wolves came out on fire with 31 points to 16 in the first quarter and never looked back the rest of the evening.
Joondalup would lead the game by as much 41 points having gone on a 10-0 run before settling on the 35-point victory in response to a narrow loss last Saturday night in Geraldton to the Buccs.
The win improves the Wolves to 19-6 on the season in second position with their last game of the regular season next Saturday night at home to the Kalamunda Eastern Suns.
The Cougars now prepare for two games next weekend to end their season against two out of contention teams, the Perth Redbacks and East Perth Eagles.
Ridell Camidge showed that he’s over the worst of a foot injury to put in a standout showing for the Wolves despite being on limited minutes. The sharpshooting guard delivered 31 points, three rebounds and three steals while shooting 10/20 from the field and 6/13 from downtown.
Earnest Ross contributed 12 points, five rebounds and three assists for the Wolfpack, Trian Iliadis 12 points, four boards and three steals, Rob Huntington nine points and five rebounds, Ben Ironmonger nine points and four assists, and Joel Offereins eight points and five boards.
Jakob Knight scored 11 points to go with nine rebounds for Cockburn with Seva Chan contributing 11 points, four boards and three assists, Gavin Field 10 points, six steals and four assists, Julian Pesava 10 points and six rebounds, and the returning Jaarod Holmes eight points.
WILLETTON TIGERS 104 defeated PRINT SYNC SOUTH WEST SLAMMERS 63
To stay in the playoff race the Willetton Tigers had no choice but to take care of business at home to the South West Slammers on Friday night and that’s exactly what they did.
With the battle on for seventh and eighth position turning into a dog fight between the Tigers, Giants and Eastern Suns, Willetton couldn’t afford a slip up at Willetton Basketball Stadium against the bottom placed Slammers.
And from the outset, the Tigers were keen to ensure that wouldn’t be happening as they dominated from start to finish starting with 31 points to 16 in the first quarter.
Willetton put up another 31 points to 17 in the second term to head into half-time leading 62-33.
It was more of the same in the second half with Willetton leading by as much as 45 points at one stage before settling for the 104-63 victory.
The win improves the Tigers to a 13-12 record on the season with one game to go next Saturday night against the Perry Lakes Hawks at home which they need to win to just about guarantee reaching the playoffs.
The Slammers fell to 1-24 on the season as a result of the loss as they now prepare to finish with a trip to Kalgoorlie where if they can beat the Giants for a second time in 2019, it would really upset the apple cart.
Mo Barrow top-scored for Willetton with 19 points, 11 assists, nine rebounds and six steals as he flirted with a triple-double.
Michael Garbellini added 17 points for the Tigers, Hamish Cummings 16 points, Damien Scott 14 points and five assists, Connor Mincherton 13 points and five assists, and Jackson Hussey eight points and six assists.
Terrell Carter was able to stay on the court longer for the Slammers and with his 34 minutes, produced 22 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Mitch Keller added 12 points and 10 rebounds, James Goodlad nine points, seven boards and five assists, and Tyler Livingston seven points and four rebounds.
BETHANIE WARWICK SENATORS 94 defeated SINCLAIR MCDONALD’S ROCKINGHAM FLAMES 85
They might not want to rely on an 18-year-old, but Wani Swaka Lo Buluk showed he could still take Warwick Senators a long way in 2019 after an exciting and dramatic win over Rockingham Flames at Warwick Stadium that included the ejection of a Perth Wildcats captain and championship winner.
With so much at stake with top four berths potentially on the line, it was always going to be in intense battle to open Round 19 and that’s certainly how it played out.
Brad Robbins picked up two early fouls to set the tone for the evening as the Senators shot out of the blocks to lead 7-2 when Cody Ellis knocked one down from deep.
But it was Wani Swaka Lo Buluk stealing the show as he set up that Ellis three, then got to the rack to convert a three-point play. He continued to push the tempo and with Ellis and Caleb Davis knocking down triples, the Senators recaptured their form from earlier in 2019.
They went on to lead 33-26 by quarter-time including their lead being maintained by triples from Swaka Lo Buluk and Justin King.
The Flames weren’t going away, though, and when Justin Beared hit his second triple of the second quarter, the visitors hit the front with them extending the lead on a Greg Hire and-one play.
Rockingham then finished the first half strongly with five points from Chudier Pal and Jarryd Griffin to head into the half-time break up 55-50.
The Flames then extended their lead to 10 with five Caleb White points to open the second half, but the game would soon take on a totally different trajectory with the Senators and officials equally frustrating Rockingham and taking them off focus for a stretch.
While you could understand their frustration, they did lose focus and that included a tech foul against Ryan Petrik with five minutes remaining which allowed the Senators to draw back level following a 13-3 run.
Robbins then thought he pulled off a clean steal on Swaka Lo Buluk but the referee disagreed calling the foul. Robbins then earned a tech foul and having earlier had a delay of game warning, that made up his second transgression and he was sent packing.
Robbins then seemed another technical too as he departed Warwick Stadium with the game threatening to spiral out of control with frustration levels at an all-time high.
It certainly took Rockingham out of their game and having trailed by 10 to start the third term, Warwick went into three quarter-time leading by five.
The Senators then remained in control through the fourth quarter to score the important 94-85 victory in what was a performance much more reminiscent of their earlier season form.
It improves Warwick to 16-8 on the season with a double-header next week against Mandurah and Geraldton. Rockingham falls to 17-8 with one game to go against Lakeside next Friday.
What a week it was for Wani Swaka Lo Buluk. He made the decision to forego college to sign a full, multi-year contract at the Perth Wildcats and then turned on one hell of a performance as point guard with the Senators on Friday night.
He finished the evening with 28 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals while playing all but 2:30 of the game. He shot 8/16 from the field, 3/6 from three-point range and 9/10 from the foul line.
But it’s more than his numbers. The tempo he plays at, the shots he is able to create for his teammates and the problems his length and athleticism creates for the opposition at both ends is just remarkable.
Plenty of other Warwick players stepped up too with Cody Ellis producing 15 points and seven assists, Rob Anshila 13 points, Justin King 11 points and six rebounds, Ash Litterick eight points and six boards, and Caleb Davis eight points and six rebounds.
Greg Hire again battled manfully for Rockingham with 23 points and 12 rebounds as they continued to be without Josh Ritchart and Luke Travers.
Despite not being 100 per cent himself, Caleb White had 19 points and seven rebounds for the Flames with Justin Beard contributing 17 points, six boards and three assists, and Jarryd Griffin nine points and three rebounds.
LAKESIDE LIGHTNING 82 defeated KALAMUNDA EASTERN SUNS 80
Lakeside and Kalamunda came into Friday night’s clash at Lakeside Recreation Centre as two of the hottest teams in the Men’s SBL and they sure lived up to that billing.
The Lightning had moved into top spot having won their previous seven matches while the Kalamunda Eastern Suns also rose seventh spot with six consecutive wins setting the stage for a terrific contest.
And the Suns started tremendous to lead 23-18 by quarter-time and 47-36 by half-time with a win set to all but secure their playoff position in 2019.
But the Lightning have too much experience and firepower not to hit back and they did that in the third term with 33 points to 23 setting up a tense and tight final term.
The scoring dried up for both teams but the tension rose as it went down to the wire.
The Eastern Suns did maintain a narrow lead through most of the final quarter but when Ben Lee got to the rim for a layup the Lightning were within a point and then took the lead on a Jobi Wall three with just under a minute remaining.
That would prove the game-winner with Lakeside improving to 18-5 on the season with the eighth straight win while the Suns slipped to 13-12 and will now need to beat the Joondalup Wolves next Saturday night at HBF Arena to lock in a playoff berth.
On top of hitting the game winner, Jobi Wall finished with 23 points, seven rebounds and three assists for Lakeside on going 7/15 from downtown.
Jack Isenbarger added 23 points and nine assists with Rowan Mackenzie contributing 15 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals, Jarrad Prue 10 points, a simply remarkable 36 rebounds and four assists, and Ben Lee six points, three boards and two assists.
The Eastern Suns were once again short on manpower with the absence of Louis Timms but battled bravely with Josh Braun starring with 34 points and 13 rebounds on 14/22 shooting from the floor and 6/10 from long-range.
Javion Blake added 21 points, nine rebounds and eight assists with Corey Easley producing 11 points and five boards, and captain Jono Diaz two points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals.
TEXTURE WA PERTH REDBACKS 97 defeated MANDURAH MAGIC 78
Neither team could reach the playoffs but plenty of pride was on the line as the Perth Redbacks hosted the Mandurah Magic at Belmont Oasis on Saturday evening.
The Magic came into the game on a seven-game losing slide but they had put in a vastly-improved performance to only lose to the Tigers by two points in Round 18 while the Redbacks had lost six of their previous seven matches to fall out of finals contention.
The Redbacks took control of the contest early on with 28 points to 20 in the first quarter before then stretching their lead to 45-36 at the half-time interval.
Perth then put the game out of reach in the third quarter with 34 points to 25 in the third quarter before going on to win the game 97-78.
The result improves the Redbacks to a 10-15 record on the season ahead of their last game to come on Friday night at home to the Cockburn Cougars.
The Magic now back up on Sunday in Waroona against the Geraldton Buccaneers before hosting the Warwick Senators next Saturday night to close their season that has so far resulted in just five victories.
Lee Roberts top-scored for Mandurah with 29 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three blocked shots and two steals as he formed a formidable frontline with Kyle Bowen who had 21 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks.
Marshall Nelson delivered another 25 points, six rebounds and two assists with Lachlan Forrest producing 11 points.
Shaun Stewart top-scored for the Magic with 23 points, eight steals, six rebounds and three assists while Travis Durnin contributed 13 points and three boards, Marvin Smith 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists, Jerami Grace 10 points and three boards, and Akau Deng eight points and five rebounds.
ID ATHLETIC PERRY LAKES HAWKS 95 lost to LAKESIDE LIGHTNING 96
The two hottest teams in the Men’s SBL went at it on Saturday night at Bendat Basketball Centre and Lakeside and Perry Lakes put on quite the show with the Hawks producing a stunning comeback only for the Lightning to win on the back of Ben Lee’s fourth triple.
With both teams on impressive winning streaks with Lakeside having won eight straight and Perry Lakes six in-a-row and both looking to finish the regular season in the top four, it was always going to be a game with plenty on the line.
Like on Friday against Kalamunda, Lakeside was minus Kyle Armour as point guard and despite a couple of early threes from Rowan Mackenzie, Lakeside started well with Clint Steindl hitting a couple of early jumpers.
But when Ben Lee nailed his first triple of the night, Lakeside went up 16-10 and still led 28-23 by quarter-time thanks to a Jack Isenbarger triple on the buzzer.
It took Perry Lakes less than two minutes of the second term to regain the lead starting with a layup from Shawn Redhage and five quick Ben Purser points.
A four-point play to Steindl pushed the Hawks back up by two but with the work of Michael Vigor and Jarrad Prue pivotal inside, the Lightning worked their way back on top as they led by the smallest of margins at half-time 50-49.
Prue opened the second half with a three-point play on the back of yet another offensive board. Mackenzie then stretched Lakeside’s lead by hitting from downtown and when Vigor did the same, their advantage grew to nine.
Purser was doing everything he could in an inspirational performance to keep Perry Lakes close, but the Lightning were feeling it and Isenbarger hit another from beyond the arc to go up nine. Jobi Wall did the same to make it 12 before Lee kept it at 12 when he also hit from long-range.
Lee hit another to put Lakeside up 13 heading towards three quarter-time with them still leading by that margin heading into the fourth.
Four quick Redhage points kept Perry Lakes in touch early in the fourth before Ryan Smith hit from deep to bring the Hawks back within eight. Purser then got to the rack to make it a six-point ball game and when Cooper Hamilton connected from deep, the home side was just down three.
Redhage would foul out with 3:30 remaining and four points the difference with Lakeside going back up by seven with three Mackenzie free-throws which was immediately answered by a triple from Steindl.
Steindl then made three from the stripe before hitting another three-pointer to put Perry Lakes on top 92-90 with two minutes remaining.
Mackenzie answered for Lakeside to level scores before Hamilton hit a massive three for Perry Lakes to make it 95-92. Lee responded up the other end for Lakeside with 29 seconds left.
The Hawks ran down the clock to try and take the last shot but Steindl’s two wouldn’t fall and then Isenbarger grabbed the rebound, Smith fouled him and the game was over with Lakeside winning 96-95.
Lightning centre Michael Vigor sure is enjoying his move to Lakeside this season having been a championship winner in 2017 at the Perth Redbacks.
There were plenty of standout performers in the win for Lakeside led by the inside presence of Michael Vigor and Jarrad Prue. Vigor had 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists, and Prue eight points and 27 boards on the back of 36 on Friday night.
Then in the backcourt, Rowan Mackenzie delivered 24 points, four rebounds and three assists, Jack Isenbarger 23 points with 5/11 from three and Ben Lee 14 points on 4/7 from downtown.
Jobi Wall also chimed in with 10 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Clint Steindl had a big night for Perry Lakes with 27 points, six rebounds and five assists while hitting 5/10 from beyond the arc.
Ben Purser had a huge performance for the Hawks too with 23 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists with Brian Carlwell contributing 10 points and three boards, Ryan Smith 10 points and five rebounds, Shawn Redhage nine points and four boards, and Cooper Hamilton eight points.
PRINT SYNC SOUTH WEST SLAMMERS 56 lost to QUADRIO EARTHMOVING GERALDTON BUCCANEERS 103
The Geraldton Buccaneers started their double-header road trip down south with a thumping win over the South West Slammers at Eaton Recreation Centre on Saturday night.
The Slammers were hosting their last home game of the season and having already beaten one regional team in Eaton in 2019 when they beat the Goldfields Giants for their lone win, they were hoping to cause another upset to end a frustrating season.
But the Buccs arrived with too much to play for and took no time putting a sizeable gap between the two teams.
Geraldton scored 31 points in the first quarter to lead by 24 points at quarter-time and the game was virtually over as a contest from there.
At one stage, the Buccaneers went on a 12-0 scoring run and did led the contest by as much as 49 points before winning the game by 47 points, 103-56.
It was a dominant display from the Buccs who won the rebound battle 60 to 34 while scoring 60 points inside the paint to 26, and having 29 second chance points to 10.
Colter Lasher delivered a standout performance for Geraldton finishing with 27 points, eight rebounds and five assists while DeAngelo Isby contributed 22 points and 11 boards.
Brayden Inger delivered 13 points, four rebounds and two assists with Alex Ducas contributing 11 points, Liam Hunt 10 points and eight boards, and Aaron Ralph five points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Cory Richardson top-scored for the Slammers with 14 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals while Terrell Carter struggled for an impact with nine points and nine boards despite not picking up a personal foul
James Goodlad delivered 10 points and three rebounds, and Tyler Livingston eight points and three boards.
NORTHERN STAR RESOURCES GOLDFIELDS GIANTS 125 defeated CMTG EAST PERTH EAGLES 107
It was an old-fashioned shootout in Kalgoorlie on Saturday with Goldfields and East Perth combining for 232 points and 31 three-pointers, but in the end the Giants got the crucial win they need to remain in the playoff hunt.
The Giants returned home to Niels Hansen Basketball Stadium needing to win their final two home matches of the regular season should they hope to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
The first task was beating East Perth on Saturday night and while they ended up winning by 18 points, it was probably a bit more of a free-flowing game than coach Wayne Creek might have liked.
The points flowed from the outset with 57 points between the two teams in the first quarter with the Giants heading into quarter-time leading 32 to 25.
It was another 57 points in the second period and the Giants stretched their advantage to 63-51 by half-time.
Goldfields stretched their advantage further in the third quarter with 31 points to 21 and they went on to lead by as many as 30 points along the way before East Perth kept on fighting and pulled the final deficit back to 18.
It was a crucial win for the Giants who improve to a 13-12 record in eighth spot but to book a playoff spot, they must beat the Slammers next Saturday night.
East Perth now has won game to go to finish its season as the Eagles hunt for a seventh victory of 2019 against the Cockburn Cougars at Wally Hagan Stadium.
The Giants were dominant on the glass with 50 rebounds to 20 which proved the major difference in the game with Goldfields ending up taking a combined 109 field goals and free-throws opposed to East Perth’s 89.
Both teams were offensively efficient, though, with the Giants shooting at 58 per cent from the field and 53 per cent from downtown with 32 assists on 46 made field goals.
They hit 16/30 from three-point range with the Eagles also making 15/33 along with shooting 55 per cent from the floor with 29 assists on 39 made field goals.
Dave Humphries delivered a stunning performance for Goldfields with 37 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists and five steals on shooting 14/27 from the field and 6/12 from downtown.
Patrick Burke wasn’t too far behind with 35 points and 10 rebounds to continue his MVP push while Jay Bowie is getting closer to full health with 22 points, four boards and four assists.
Mayo Malek added 16 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots, and Jerome Reid seven points and three assists.
Shaquille Maharaj top-scored for the Eagles with 21 points, three assists and three steals while Cameron Williams contributed 20 points and five assists, Anthony Golden 20 points and five assists, Aiden Murphy 17 points and seven assists, and Drew Williamson 10 points, four boards and three assists.
MANDURAH MAGIC 75 lost to QUADRIO EARTHMOVING GERALDTON BUCCANEERS 121
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.
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.
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.