THE Perth Redbacks might not be taking part in playoffs in the Men’s SBL for 2019, but they ended their regular season in style at Belmont Oasis on Friday night showing their potential with a 106-80 win over the Cockburn Cougars.
With Lee Roberts and Kyle Bowen dominant inside bringing back memories of the 2017 Grand Final, and then Marshall Nelson and Joel Wagner combining impressively in the backcourt, the Redbacks said goodbye to the 2019 season in fine fashion.
It was an indication of what might have been for the Redbacks had they had their full squad available all season but in the end it was just a flash of that potential as their season comes to a close following the 26-point win over the Cougars.
The Redbacks end their season with an 11-15 record and a rare season out of the playoffs while the Cougars now head home to Wally Hagan Stadium on Saturday night to host the East Perth Eagles and celebrate the 250th SBL game of remarkably inspirational captain Gavin Field.
ROUND 20 MEN’S SBL PREVIEW
THINGS COULDN’T BE BETTER FOR DANIELS AT LAKESIDE
ROOKIE CAMIDGE DESPERATE FOR WOLFPACK SUCCESS
HIRE PROUD TO ENCOURAGE MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS
ROUND 19 MEN’S SBL RECAP
STILL TIME FOR ELLIS’ SENATORS TO GET BACK ON TRACK
NENER PROVES COACHING CREDENTIALS IN TOUGH COUGARS ENVIRONMENT
SBL TRIO SHOULD BE ON RADAR OF NBL CLUBS
The Redbacks and Cougars came together at Belmont Oasis on Friday night as the championship winners in the Men’s SBL in 2017 and 2016, but neither could reach the playoffs for 2019 no matter what happened.
That always creates the atmosphere of a game where anything can happen and in the end it was the size inside for the Redbacks through Lee Roberts and Kyle Bowen that provided the major difference in the contest.
By the end of the night, the Redbacks finished with 58 rebounds to 40 from the Cougars which led to 62 points in the paint to 30 while shooting 43/87 at 49 per cent from the field and 10/23 at 43 per cent from three-point range.
The Redbacks started strongly to lead 29-19 by quarter-time and they still were on top 53-43 by half-time despite a spirited Cougars comeback early in the second quarter with captain Gavin Field catching fire for a period.
Perth made the adjustment on Field in the second half to use their own captain Joel Wagner on him to deny him the ball as much as possible, and it ended up working a treat.
The Redbacks went on to outscore the Cougars 53 points to 37 in the second half to come away with the 106-80 victory.
Lee Roberts sent a reminder of why he was the Grand Final MVP in 2017 for the Redbacks finishing the night and his brief 2019 campaign with 30 points and 10 rebounds.
Kyle Bowen played his last game before heading to college at Saint Mary’s too and produced 22 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots on shooting 10/14 from the field.
Marshall Nelson scored another 19 points to go with six rebounds and five assists for the Redbacks with Zac Gattorna producing 10 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Captain Joel Wagner led the Redbacks admirably once more with the all-time SBL assists leader dishing out another 12 dimes to go with four points and five rebounds.
Gavin Field still finished with 29 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals for the Cougars in his 249th SBL appearance.
Hayden Bell produced 13 points, five rebounds and three assists with Julian Pesava contributing 11 points and four boards, Seva Chan 11 points and eight assists, and Jakob Knight seven points and eight rebounds.
As it turned out, the Cougars just couldn’t match the size inside of the Redbacks led by Roberts and Bowen.
Field caught fire in the first half and again battled as hard as he could, but once again like has been the case most of the season the Cougars were just shorthanded and couldn’t compete over 40 minutes with a deeper team despite how hard the players available to fight.
“It was just their size that killed us in the end. I know they had 13 offensive rebounds at the half and 30 points in the paint which is just too many and it’s hard to beat a team that’s doing that no matter what you’re doing up the other end,” Field said.
“Giving up that many points is too many and that’s pretty much the story of the game really. It’s tough with our lack of size and depth, but you kind of just ride the waves with it. Being such a young group, we have some incredible wins like against Stirling when everything just clicked but then we died not long after that without Jaarod and Seva.
“After three or four weeks of being so undermanned, you just die and youth doesn’t have consistency and the key to winning a lot of games is having those people that give you consistent games all the way through. It is tough but we know it’s going to be a 26-game season and we know we have to play all 26 no matter what.”
Now the Cougars turn their attention to hosting East Perth on Saturday night to close their season at Wally Hagan Stadium.
It’s a significant occasion for Field as he brings up 250 games in the SBL, but he just wants a win above all else.
“We just want to win. We just want to feel that good feeling as a team that we’ve accomplished something. We know we’re not going to finals and we know we’re not challenging for the top, but if we can accomplish that last win of the season then we’ve achieved something,” Field said.
“No matter what at the end of any season, things always change and you’ll never play with the exact same team again. So for the 18 or 19 guys we have this year, let’s make this last 40 minutes that we have together memorable and then we can go and celebrate and reflect on the season we have had.”
MEN’S SBL FIXTURES – WEEK 20
Texture WA Perth Redbacks 106 defeated Prestige Honda Cockburn Cougars 80
Sinclair McDonald’s Rockingham Flames 94 defeated Lakeside Lightning 73
Willetton Tigers v ID Athletic Perry Lakes Hawks – Willetton Basketball Stadium 7.00pm
Prestige Honda Cockburn Cougars v CMTG East Perth Eagles – Wally Hagan Stadium 7.00pm
Mandurah Magic v Bethanie Warwick Senators – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 7.00pm
Lakeside Lightning v Quadrio Earthmoving Geraldton Buccaneers – Lakeside Recreation Centre 7.30pm
Northern Star Resources Goldfields Giants v Print Sync South West Slammers – Niels Hansen Basketball Stadium 7.30pm
Chambers Franklyn Joondalup City Wolves v Kalamunda Eastern Suns – HBF Arena 8.00pm
Bethanie Warwick Senators v Quadrio Earthmoving Geraldton Buccaneers – Warwick Stadium 12.00pm