THE three-way battle for the seventh and eighth positions could have hardly had a more dramatic finish in the Men’s SBL but in the end the Goldfields Giants and Kalamunda Eastern Suns qualified at the expense of a brave Willetton Tigers outfit in 2019.
Coming into Round 20 in the Men’s SBL, the Kalamunda Eastern Suns, Goldfields Giants and Willetton Tigers were all locked on 13-12 records with one game each remaining on Saturday night in the final round.
So those results were always going to determine who reached the playoffs and the Giants locked away their position beating the South West Slammers 94-78 at Niels Hansen Basketball Stadium.
With Josh Braun joining Louis Timms on the sidelines, the Eastern Suns couldn’t go with the Joondalup Wolves at HBF Arena with the Wolfpack winning 125-84 which meant events at Willetton Basketball Stadium would determine the playoff position.
It was the last ever game scheduled for the Willetton court but it ensured it had the spotlight for another 24 hours when the game had to be postponed when a floorboard broke.
It was fixed in time for the game to be played Saturday night with the Perry Lakes Hawks and while the Tigers fought valiantly, the defending champs won the game 88-84 and that meant the Suns finished in eighth position and Willetton was the team to miss out.
ROUND 20 SPOTLIGHT | HAWKS END SEASON OF BRAVE TIGERS
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
THINGS COULDN’T BE BETTER FOR DANIELS AT LAKESIDE
ROOKIE CAMIDGE DESPERATE FOR WOLFPACK SUCCESS
HIRE PROUD TO ENCOURAGE MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS
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
Round 20 in the Men’s SBL began on Friday night with the Perth Redbacks closing their season beating the Cockburn Cougars 106-80 at Belmont Oasis.
The Rockingham Flames also defeated the Lakeside Lightning 94-73 at Mike Barnett Sports Complex.
Then on Saturday, Cockburn closed its season and celebrated the 250th game of Gavin Field with a 114-108 victory against the East Perth Eagles at Wally Hagan Stadium.
The Mandurah Magic then ended its 2019 with an upset 102-92 win against the Warwick Senators at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre while the Lakeside Lightning bounced back to win big 110-84 against the Geraldton Buccaneers at Lakeside Recreation Centre.
Then also on Sunday afternoon, the Geraldton Buccaneers defeated the Warwick Senators 96-87 at Warwick Stadium.
The results mean that the Joondalup Wolves claim the regular season championship with a 20-6 record ahead of the Lakeside Lightning (20-6), Geraldton Buccaneers (19-7) and Rockingham Flames (18-8).
The Perry Lakes Hawks (18-8) finish fifth with the Warwick Senators (16-10), Goldfields Giants (14-12) and Kalamunda Eastern Suns (13-13) rounding out the top eight.
The Willetton Tigers (13-13) finished ninth in front of the Perth Redbacks (11-15), Cockburn Cougars (7-19), East Perth Eagles (6-20), Mandurah Magic (6-20) and South West Slammers (1-25).
That sets up four fascinating quarter-final match ups with the Joondalup Wolves against Kalamunda Eastern Suns, Lakeside Lightning against Goldfields Giants, Geraldton Buccaneers against Warwick Senators, and Rockingham Flames opposed to the Perry Lakes Hawks.
ROUND 20 MEN’S SBL
TEXTURE WA PERTH REDBACKS 106 defeated PRESTIGE HONDA COCKBURN COUGARS 80
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.
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.
SINCLAIR MCDONALD’S ROCKINGHAM FLAMES 94 defeated LAKESIDE LIGHTNING 73
Rockingham played host to Lakeside on Friday night in a contest featuring two teams inside the top four with the Flames needing a win to lock in a top four finish and the Lightning looking to stay in first place with a victory.
The Flames welcomed back import power forward Josh Ritchart while Luke Travers wasn’t back yet they did inch closer to being at full strength and they started strongly putting up 24 points to 15 in the opening quarter.
Rockingham kept the roll going in the second quarter with another 26 points to 19 and that saw them head into the half-time interval leading 50-34.
It wasn’t to be the night of the Lightning and try as they might, they couldn’t muster a fightback and Rockingham remained in control throughout the second half to come away with the 94-73 victory.
The win sees the Flames finish the regular season with an 18-8 record and secure with a top four position while the Lightning now have all but lost their chance at top spot, but can guarantee second with a win at home to Geraldton on Saturday night.
There were plenty of strong contributors on the night for Rockingham with Caleb White top-scoring with 20 points and 10 rebounds while hitting 4/9 from downtown.
Greg Hire was again tremendous with 15 points, 11 rebounds and six assists with Chudier Pal contributing 15 points and 11 boards.
Josh Ritchart was playing his first game since putting 40 points on Kalamunda way back on June 8 and he got through 18 minutes and provided 14 points, three rebounds and two assists while going 4/6 from beyond the arc.
Ryan Godfrey added nine points and six assists and Justin Beard seven points.
Jack Isenbarger finished with 22 points for Lakeside while Kyle Armour contributed 13 points and three rebounds, Jobi Wall 10 points, Michael Vigor seven points and four boards, and Jarrad Prue pulled in about his average of 19 rebounds.
PRESTIGE HONDA COCKBURN COUGARS 114 defeated CMTG EAST PERTH EAGLES 108
The Cockburn Cougars finished their season on a winning note to celebrate the 250th game of captain Gavin Field beating the East Perth Eagles by six points at Wally Hagan Stadium on Saturday night.
It would be the last game of 2019 for both teams with finals well out of reach and they put on a good show for the strong crowd in attendance combining for 222 points in an entertaining contest.
East Perth came out strongly with Cockburn having played the night before against the Redbacks with the Eagles putting up 32 first quarter points to lead by five at quarter-time.
They remained on fire in the second period as well putting up another 38 points and heading into the half-time interval leading 70-57.
But the Cougars were able to turn it around after half-time to outscore the Eagles 57 points to 38 to turn around a 13-point deficit at the break to a 114-108 victory.
The game turned out to be both a celebration of the 250th game celebration of inspirational Cockburn captain Gavin Field as well as the last game in charge of the Cougars for three-year coach Adam Nener.
The result means that the Cougars finish their season with a 7-19 record just ahead of the Eagles on 6-20.
In celebration of his 250th SBL appearance, Gavin Field starred for Cockburn with 32 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Julian Pesava also put up 30 points, eight rebounds and five assists for Cockburn with Seva Chan producing 16 points, eight assists, five boards and three stelas, and Jaarod Holmes 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Hayden Bell contributed 12 points and four rebounds, and Jakob Knight four points, eight rebounds, three steals and two assists.
Cameron Williams put up 26 points, eight assists, four rebounds and three steals for East Perth while Shaquille Maharaj contributed 19 points, 11 boards and four assists, Anthony Golden 18 points and five assists, Drew Williamson 17 points, four boards, four assists and three steals, and Jarrad Anastasio 11 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.
MANDURAH MAGIC 102 defeated BETHANIE WARWICK SENATORS 92
The Warwick Senators might have got some confidence back the previous Friday night with a strong win over the Rockingham Flames, but they didn’t leave Mandurah with too much on Saturday following a loss to the Magic.
The game was to be the last of the season for the Magic and despite coming into the game against the Senators at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre on an eight-game losing streak, they were motivated to finish off on a high note.
The Senators were attempting to build back up their confidence ahead of the playoffs but it was the Magic who produced one of their better performances of the season.
Mandurah started strongly with Jerami Grace back in the line-up after spending the week at the NBL Next Gen camp in Melbourne. The home team put up 28 points to 24 in the first quarter and then another 29 to 27 in the second to head into the half-time break leading 58-51.
The Senators did work their way back into the contest in the second half but never quite reached top gear and the Magic did enough to pull away for the 102-92 victory to end their season that finished at 6-20 on a high note.
Marvin Smith delivered a huge showing for Mandurah to close the season with 31 points, nine rebounds, four blocked shots and three assists on 13/21 shooting.
Shaun Stewart also put in a more motivated performance for 29 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals including hitting 4/8 from beyond the arc while Jerami Grace put in a good performance made up of 18 points, five boards and four assists.
Wani Swaka Lo Buluk was again impressive for the Senators with 25 points and two blocked shots while shooting 9/10 from the floor, 3/3 from downtown and 4/4 at the free-throw line.
Cody Ellis added 18 points, four rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots for the Senators while Justin King contributed 16 points, eight boards and three assists, Ash Litterick 10 points and six rebounds, and Rob Anshila 10 points, 10 boards, four assists and two steals.
LAKESIDE LIGHTNING 110 defeated QUADRIO EARTHMOVING GERALDTON BUCCANEERS 84
NORTHERN STAR RESOURCES GOLDFIELDS GIANTS 94 defeated PRINT SYNC SOUTH WEST SLAMMERS 78
There was a fair degree of pressure on the Goldfields Giants to not slip up on their home floor to the South West Slammers on Saturday night, but they responded well to win by 16 points and secure their first playoff appearance since 2015.
The Giants had already been the lone team to lose to the Slammers in 2019 so they knew nothing was guaranteed when they ran out onto Niels Hansen Basketball Stadium on Saturday night with their season on the line.
While the fate would still depend on what Kalamunda and Willetton did if they would lose, the Giants could all but lock away a playoff position with a victory and that’s what they would go on to produce.
But they didn’t have it all their own way. The Slammers were looking to finish their season on a high note as well and started positively going into quarter-time leading 21-17.
The Giants were able to build some momentum through the second quarter with 24 points to 19 and then they pulled away in match-winning fashion in the third period with 30 points to 16.
Goldfields would go on to lead by as much as 22 points before securing the 94-78 victory that sees them finish the season with a 14-12 record and ultimately in seventh position to set up a quarter-final match up with the Lakeside Lightning.
The Slammers finish their season at 1-25 with seven straight losses since that lone win at home to the Giants.
Jay Bowie continues to work his way back close to 100 per cent just in time for the finals for the Giants and finished the night with 22 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals while shooting 7/14 from the floor, 3/7 from three-point territory and 5/6 from the foul line.
Dave Humphries produced another 17 points, 12 rebounds and five assists with Brandon Holloway contributing 16 points and six assists.
Patrick Burke also delivered 14 points, five rebounds and four assists, Mayo Malek 13 points, eight boards, three assists, three blocks and two steals, Jerome Reid six points and Fletcher Klasztorny six points, seven rebounds, three steals and two assists.
Tyler Livingston ended the season on a high for the Slammers with 23 points and eight rebounds with James Goodlad producing 15 points and four boards, Terrell Carter 13 points and 10 rebounds, and James Allen 11 points and two steals.
CHAMBERS FRANKLYN JOONDALUP CITY WOLVES 125 defeated KALAMUNDA EASTERN SUNS 84
The Kalamunda Eastern Suns knew they were up against it once superstar guard Josh Braun rolled his ankle at the end of their last training session, but they knew one way or another they’d leave HBF Arena after playing the Joondalup Wolves knowing their fate for 2019 but that’s not the case.
Saturday night was always set to be a defining night in the Men’s SBL season for 2019 with the Wolfpack a chance to secure top spot with a win following Lakeside’s Friday night defeat to the Rockingham Flames.
Then there was the fascinating battle for the seventh and eighth positions between the Eastern Suns, Goldfields Giants and Willetton Tigers with each of them playing around the same time on Saturday evening.
They were coming into the round on identical 13-9 records so everything was on the line but the Eastern Suns, the job was always ahead of them not only coming up against a Wolfpack team playing for top spot but minus two of their gun players, Louis Timms and Josh Braun.
Between them this season, Timms and Braun have averaged 47.2 points, 18.3 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game so to say their absence left a significant hole would be a great understatement.
And given the depth, experience and quality the Wolves possess it was hardly the team you would want to take on undermanned.
While the Wolfpack did lead through the majority of the first half, the Suns had done well to stay in a degree of touch to only be trailing by four points at quarter-time and nine points at half-time.
But to keep it up for 40 minutes was always going to be a challenge for Kalamunda and that proved the case with Joondalup rising a gear or two in the second and producing the type of scintillating basketball which sees them deserving of top spot and to be right in the hunt for a fifth straight Grand Final appearance.
The Wolfpack piled on 43 points in the third quarter and then 27 in the last to blow the Suns away and win by 41 points to secure first place at the end of the regular season.
It was quite the impressive showing from Joondalup no matter who was or wasn’t out there for the opposition with Earnest Ross leading the way with 28 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and three steals while shooting 9/16 from the field and 6/10 from deep.
Against the team he played with in 2018, Kevin Davis delivered 21 points, three assists, two steals and two blocks for the Wolves while Trian Iliadis delivered 19 points, five boards and three assists while hitting 5/7 from downtown.
Ridell Camidge added 17 points and four assists, Reece Maxwell 14 points, four rebounds and three assists, Sean Easther 10 points, Rob Huntington eight points and three rebounds, and Ben Ironmonger eight points, four boards, three assists and three steals.
Magnifying the absence of Braun for the Suns was the fact that it allowed the Wolves to put extra effort into locking down dynamic point guard Javion Blake who has been in some stunning form.
Despite that attention, he still produced 29 points, eight assists and four rebounds on 10/14 shooting.
Corey Easley continued to show he has plenty left in the tank and is willing to step up in the absence of Timms delivering 17 points and seven rebounds. Ryan Blanchett added 11 points and four boards, and Carl Aylett seven points and three rebounds.
BETHANIE WARWICK SENATORS 87 lost to QUADRIO EARTHMOVING GERALDTON BUCCANEERS 96
With teams knowing most likely they’d be battling over the next two weeks to open the playoffs and missing some key pieces, Sunday’s clash at Warwick Stadium would always be fascinating and it was the Geraldton Buccaneers who pulled away for the nine-point win over Warwick Senators.
Warwick and Geraldton both came into Sunday’s game to close the regular season coming off Saturday night losses away from home but in the knowledge all things were still pointing to them finishing sixth and third respectively to set up a quarter-final match up.
The Senators lost by 10 points to the Mandurah Magic the previous night while the Buccs started their double-header road trip with a 26-point defeat at the Lakeside Lightning.
So despite their finishing positions not likely to change depending on the result at Warwick Stadium on Sunday, they were both determined to bounce back from the previous, not head into the finals on a losing streak and to build some momentum against their quarter-final opponents.
It was a high-paced opening to the game with the Senators opening up on fire with triples to Cody Ellis and Wani Swaka Lo Buluk, and a layup to Rob Anshila to give them an 8-0 start.
An Aaron Ralph putback dunk got Geraldton on the board before Ellis responded with a turnaround jumper to put the home team up 10-2 after just over two minutes.
Warwick’s tremendous opening started with a Justin King triple to make it 13-4 and then another Ellis three and it 16 -4. But the Buccs answered with a trademark Ralph three and the visitors then worked their way back into the contest.
It was a stunning finish to the first term by the Buccs with a 17-1 run culminating in a three-pointer from Alex Ducas to see them turn a 12-point deficit into a four-point lead by quarter-time.
Liam Hunt began to take over inside to start the second quarter to put Geraldton up six before Oliver Cross kept Warwick in touch with a three which turned into a four-point play.
It then turned into basket for basket for the rest of the half with the Senators working their way on top to lead 49-46 by half-time.
Ellis then hit a three to put the Senators up six to start the second half with Brayden Inger responded in kind for the Buccaneers but Warwick threatened to open a sizeable lead again when Ellis again hit from beyond the arc and Ash Litterick finished on the inside.
They soon were up by nine before Ralph steadied the Buccs with a trademark three of his own. He hit another soon after and when Colter Lasher finished at the rim, suddenly it was a two-point game again.
Ralph hit his third triple in short time to put Geraldton on top briefly with Ngor Manyang responding seconds later . Ducas again hit from long-range just before three quarter-time to give Geraldton the two-point lead.
While the game was right up for grabs at the start of the fourth quarter, the Buccs soon took over starting with a 6-0 run. A three-point play from Hunt saw Geraldton go up nine and then yet another Ralph three saw the margin grow to double-figures.
Ducas then began to take over the game too enjoying matching up with Swaka Lo Buluk, and he hit seven points in just over a minute as the Buccs’ lead grew to 16 points.
Geraldton went on to win the game 96-87 to finish the season with a 19-7 record in third position with Warwick ending up sixth at 16-10.
The Buccs were without guards DeAngelo Isby and Marcus Alipate for the game, but Aaron Ralph came up huge despite copping a couple of heavy hits throughout the afternoon. He finished with 27 points and seven rebounds on 7/11 from three-point land.
Young gun Alex Ducas was also tremendous with 21 points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals while Liam Hunt contributed 18 points and 12 boards despite being a little banged up.
Colter Lasher added 11 points, eight rebounds and four assists with Brayden Inger producing 10 points, five boards and three assists, and Brendan Dinardo seven points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals.
The Senators are a different-looking team with the presence of Caleb Davis in their line-up, but most people only get married once so he had a fair excuse for his absence.
Ngor Manyang returned from the NBL Next Gen camp during the week to produce 18 points and four rebounds for the Senators while hitting 5/7 from downtown.
Cody Ellis put up 16 points, six assists, five rebounds, three blocks and two steals while Justin King added 13 points, five boards and four assists, Wani Swaka Lo Buluk 12 points, six rebounds and three assists, and Ash Litterick seven points, five rebounds and two assists.
WILLETTON TIGERS 84 lost to ID ATHLETIC PERRY LAKES HAWKS 88
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.
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.
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.