IT was only fitting that there was drama this weekend to farewell the famous Willetton Basketball Stadium court but in the end the home team didn’t quite get the farewell it hoped as the Perry Lakes Hawks won out to deny the Willetton Tigers a playoff appearance.
The farewell to Willetton Basketball Stadium old court with the redevelopment set to replace it with the brand new stadium and showcourt which will be ready for the 2020 season was scheduled for Saturday night.
The Tigers’ women got to play their final game on the floor even if it was a loss to the Lady Hawks but then early in the men’s contest on Saturday night, the drama began when a floorboard broke when some of the big bodies hit the floor.
There was no way it could be quickly repaired so the decision was made that work would be put in to repair the floor and the two teams would return on Sunday evening to play out the game and to bid farewell to the Willetton court.
Ironically former Tigers player of 120 games and championship-winning Women’s coach Simon Parker was largely behind fixing the floor and all was good to go come Sunday evening.
A strong crowd turned out to farewell the old court with the game always to be the last to be played on it whether the Tigers reached the finals or not, with their home games to be played at Wally Hagan Stadium.
With Willetton’s season on the line and then Perry Lakes wanting to enter the finals as they defend their championship in winning form, there was plenty at stake in what turned out to be a tight and tense game the entire way.
In the end, Perry Lakes produced a strong second half with their experienced brigade of Ben Purser, Ryan Smith and Shawn Redhage coming up big to claim the 88-84 victory and unfortunately, for the Tigers that ends their brave season in ninth position.
ROUND 20 SPOTLIGHT | BUCCS BUILD MOMENTUM WITH WIN OVER SENATORS
ROUND 20 SPOTLIGHT | WOLFPACK GIVE SUNS A NERVOUS WAIT
GAVIN FIELD | 250 SBL GAMES
ROUND 20 SPOTLIGHT | REDBACKS END SEASON IN STYLE
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
Saturday night was all built up to determine who out of Kalamunda, Goldfields and Willetton would make the playoffs with seventh and eighth spots up for grabs and the trio entering the final round on identical 13-12 records.
The Giants would go on to beat the South West Slammers in Kalgoorlie to book in their position but then the undermanned Eastern Suns lost to the Joondalup Wolves at HBF Arena meaning the result of the Willetton-Perry Lakes game would determine the last playoff position.
But that wouldn’t be happening on Saturday night following the incident that broke the floorboards to deny the game finishing until Sunday evening back on the same floor.
Willetton had started the game hot with a pair Michael Garbellini three-pointers and then five quick points from Damien Scott but Shawn Redhage had been equally on fire for Perry Lakes with eight of his team’s opening 14 points.
With the game back in action on Sunday, Scott was on fire for Willetton and when he followed up a triple with an and-one play, the Tigers led 25-18 before a Connor Mincherton three also helped them to a 32-26 advantage by quarter-time.
A Cooper Hamilton three and Redhage bucket brought Perry Lakes within a point early in the second quarter before Willetton did pull away again slightly to lead 40-35 thanks to another Garbellini triple and Scott layup.
The Hawks did briefly lead late in the first half thanks to Ryan Smith hitting from downtown, but Willetton stood firm and went into half-time with a 51-46 advantage with their season on the line.
Willetton’s lead grew to seven to start the second half thanks to Scott but that would be as good as it got for the home side. Four quick Redhage points saw Perry Lakes draw scores level late in the third quarter and when he converted one into a three-point play, they were up one.
A couple of baskets from Brian Carlwell stretch the visitors’ lead to four by three quarter-time which was soon eight to start the fourth with buckets to Smith and Purser. Another from Carlwell and then a triple to Smith and suddenly Perry Lakes were up 13.
Willetton threw everything at a comeback and did get back within three after a Jackson Hussey pull up jumper with four minutes to go. But Tevin Jackson was having his best impact in a game this season and made another big basket inside to keep the margin at five.
Redhage grabbed an offensive board and delivered the putback to keep it five before Mitch Clarke finished strongly at the ring to make it seven with two minutes remaining.
Scott Elder and Mo Barrow helped Willetton back within two with the shot clock turned off but Redhage made two at the line and then the Tigers couldn’t get the ball in the hoop in a frantic finish as the Hawks held on to win by four.
The result means Perry Lakes finishes the season in fifth position with an 18-8 record setting up a quarter-final battle with Rockingham in a rematch of last year’s semi finals.
Willetton, meanwhile, finishes in ninth position at 13-13 despite winning of their last five games and going through the season significantly undermanned most of the way.
Perry Lakes coach Matt Parsons was happy with the fighting effort for his team to overcome a desperate Willetton team to ensure they enter their quarter-final match up with Rockingham on a winning note.
“I think it was a really good thing to go in with winning form. It’s a tough league and you have to take every win you can get and what the most pleasing part is that we’re playing against a desperate Willetton team who were trying to keep their season alive,” Parsons said.
“We had to meet their energy and effort, and make sure that we could grind out a win. We were challenged at times but we certainly rose when we needed to and some of our best basketball was really good, and some of our bad left some room for improvement.
“But what we got was reps into rotations and we were able to get some guys in to play their roles and some guys had an up night, some guys had down night, but that rounds itself out when you have good depth. We certainly were going in for a win to take some momentum into next week.”
Shawn Redhage finished the game with 21 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocked shots for Perry Lakes while shooting 8/15 from the field and 5/5 from the stripe.
Ryan Smith produced 17 points and six rebounds for the Hawks with Ben Purser delivering 14 points, 11 boards and six assists, Brian Carlwell 13 points and five rebounds, and Mitch Clarke 10 points and six boards.
Mo Barrow did all he could to try and lift Willetton into the playoffs finishing with 25 points and 10 rebounds with Damien Scott terrific also with 25 points, four boards and two steals.
Michael Garbellini added 12 points and two assists with Connor Mincherton contributing eight points, five rebounds and three assists, and Scott Elder seven points, 10 boards, three assists and two blocked shots.
While it was hardly ideal to have the game postponed 24 hours because of the broken floorboard, Parsons knows there was nothing anyone could have done about it and it certainly means he’ll never forget the last game played on that Willetton court.
“To be honest with you I don’t think there’s anything I would have wanted done differently other than the fact that it doesn’t happen in the first place, but it’s not anybody’s fault,” Parsons said.
“It’s just an ageing venue and it’s certainly quite interesting for that to happen on the last ever game on the court.
“But ultimately Stephen and his program handled the situation very well, they worked very quickly to get that done and they were flexible on when we would replay the game, and we were able to get something sorted.
“It’s 24 hours later than we all would have liked but it got done in the end. It was certainly an incident I’ve never seen before and someone could have got hurt, but luckily everyone came away unscathed and Willetton did a good job getting the court back ready.”
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
Prestige Honda Cockburn Cougars 114 defeated CMTG East Perth Eagles 108
Mandurah Magic 102 defeated Bethanie Warwick Senators 92
Lakeside Lightning 110 defeated Quadrio Earthmoving Geraldton Buccaneers 84
Northern Star Resources Goldfields Giants 94 defeated Print Sync South West Slammers 78
Chambers Franklyn Joondalup City Wolves 125 defeated Kalamunda Eastern Suns 84
Bethanie Warwick Senators 87 lost to Quadrio Earthmoving Geraldton Buccaneers 96
Willetton Tigers 84 lost to ID Athletic Perry Lakes Hawks 88