ALL four Game 1 match ups to open the Quarter Finals in the Men’s SBL took place on Saturday night with first up wins for the Joondalup Wolves, Lakeside Lightning, Geraldton Buccaneers and Perry Lakes Hawks.
The teams who finished in the top three positions at the end of the regular season all won their Game 1 quarter-final match ups with the Wolfpack doing so on their home floors but the Lightning and Buccaneers doing so away from home.
The only top four team not to win was the Rockingham Flames who went down at home to the defending champion Perry Lakes Hawks with the results meaning that the Hawks, Lightning and Buccs now have Game 2’s at home with a chance to advance while the Wolves will be on the road.
QUARTER FINALS GAME 1 SPOTLIGHT | POWERFUL BUCCS TAKE LEAD OVER SENATORS
REDHAGE PRIMED TO LEAD HAWKS V HIRE’S FLAMES
WOLVES PLAYERS THRIVING ON RECEIVING GREATER FREEDOM
CREDIT TO UTLEY FOR SUNS RETURN TO FINALS ACTION
CREEK PROUD TO HEAD UP GIANTS REVIVAL
LAKESIDE MOVE EVERYTHING VIGOR HOPED IT WOULD BE
HIRE HAS PLENTY ON PLATE BUT FLAMES TITLE HIS FOCUS
BUCCS SUCCESS THE ULTIMATE DRIVING FORCE FOR HUNT
QUARTER FINALS WEEK 1 MEN’S SBL PREVIEW
All four of the Game 1 quarter-final match ups took place on Saturday night with the Perry Lakes Hawks defeating the Rockingham Flames 89-81 at Mike Barnett Sports Complex.
The Geraldton Buccaneers then produced a huge last quarter to come from behind and defeat the Warwick Senators 94-84 at Warwick Stadium.
The Joondalup Wolves also had to come from behind against the Kalamunda Eastern Suns but delivered a blistering start to the second half to set up the eventual 112-97 victory at HBF Arena.
It was a tight affair all night in Kalgoorlie at Niels Hansen Basketball Stadium but the Lakeside Lightning prevailed in the end 89-85 against the Goldfields Giants.
The only Game 2 match up to take place on Friday night will take place at Bendat Basketball Centre between the Hawks and Flames. That Game 3, if required, will be back in Rockingham on Saturday night.
The other three Game 2 matches will be on Saturday night with the Buccs playing the Senators in Geraldton, the Lightning facing the Giants at Lakeside Recreation Centre and the Eastern Suns hosting the Wolves at Ray Owen Sports Centre.
If Game 3’s are required, the Buccs and Senators will again face off at Active West Stadium, the Lighting and Giants again at Lakeside and the Wolfpack will host the Suns at HBF Arena.
MEN’S SBL QUARTER FINALS – WEEK 1
SINCLAIR MCDONALD’S ROCKINGHAM FLAMES 81 lost to ID ATHLETIC PERRY LAKES HAWKS 89
It was always likely to be the most fascinating of the quarter-final series’ given the talent and experienced involved, and with both teams’ genuine championship threats, and it was Perry Lakes who got the jump over Rockingham on Saturday night.
Perry Lakes ended the regular season having won seven of their last eight matches with the defending champions building some momentum, but Rockingham had scored two wins against them during the regular season and that saw them finish above them to earn home court advantage.
That meant Game 1 was played at Mike Barnett Sports Complex on Saturday night with plenty on the line.
Perry Lakes made the first break in the game with a Mitch Clarke triple and Ben Purser layup leading to an early 15-9 advantage but Greg Hire and Josh Ritchart responded with a 7-0 to put Rockingham back on top.
Clint Steindl then drained a triple for the Hawks with scores followed by Shawn Redhage, Kyle Sovine and Cooper Hamilton to see them up 24-19 by quarter-time.
Back-to-back three-pointers from Ryan Smith and Hamilton, and then another Hamilton basket to start the second quarter suddenly had the Hawks leading by 13 which soon became 14 with a three-pointer from Sovine.
Two more free-throws from Hamilton and the Hawks were up 16 despite the best efforts of Hire up the other end.
Perry Lakes remained on top leading 51-40 by half-time but the Flames were always going to throw everything into a comeback and that started with two Ryan Godfrey triples to open the second half.
Godfrey hit a third of the quarter soon after but so did Clint Steindl connect from deep for Perry Lakes to main a double-digit lead but the Flames were building some momentum to close within four before the Hawks were still up eight at three quarter-time with another triple from Hamilton.
Sovine then also hit from deep to open the fourth term and try as they might, the Flames could never get closer than five the rest of the way with Perry Lakes scoring the impressive 89-81 road win in Game 1.
Perry Lakes ended up with six players scoring in double-figures led by Clint Steindl with 16 points and two rebounds while going 4/11 from downtown.
Ryan Smith added 15 points, six boards, five assists and two steals with 3/4 shooting from three-point range while Cooper Hamilton produced 14 points and five boards.
Ben Purser produced 13 points, 14 rebounds and five assists with Shawn Redhage delivering 12 points and nine boards, and Kyle Sovine 12 points and two rebounds.
Greg Hire did all he could to try and lift the Flames to the Game 1 win finishing with 24 points and 16 rebounds with Caleb White also contributing 21 points, four assists and three boards.
Ryan Godfrey added nine points, five rebounds and five assists, and Josh Ritchart nine points, five boards and two assists.
BETHANIE WARWICK SENATORS 84 lost to QUADRIO EARTHMOVING GERALDTON BUCCANEERS 89
The Geraldton Buccaneers delivered when it mattered most on Saturday night at Warwick Stadium to dominate the fourth quarter against the Warwick Senators to claim Game 1 of their quarter-final series.
Two teams with genuine championship hopes in the Men’s SBL in 2019 began their quarter-final series at Warwick Stadium on Saturday night with the home team making a hot start as the Senators scored the game’s opening seven points.
A Cody Ellis triple and Ash Litterick layup then put Warwick up 12-2 and while the Buccs did draw level shortly before quarter-time after triples to Aaron Ralph and Marcus Alipate, the Senators led 27-22 after one with Ellis nailing another from long range.
Ellis drained another triple to keep Warwick up six early in the second period too but the Buccaneers kept coming and a three-point play from Liam Hunt, and impressive dunk from Alex Ducas after he worked his way through the defence had the visitors up one heading towards half-time.
Ducas then delivered another breakaway dunk after a steal and then Lasher drained a triple and the Buccs led 42-36, and still 44-40 by half-time.
Hunt came out inspired to open the second half with a triple and then an and-one play to put Geraldton up eight but the Senators responded well with a Justin King three, a Caleb Davis basket and then King-Wani Swaka Lo Buluk alley-oop as they assumed the lead.
Another Swaka Lo Buluk basket and then three-pointer from Davis saw the home team up five before they went into three quarter-time leading 65-58.
That put the pressure back on the Buccaneers to respond and it was Brayden Inger and Brendan Dinardo who sparked them early in the fourth term. Then with four minute to go, Ducas got to the rack again and scored to draw scores level at 78-apiece.
Ducas then drained a triple and Mat Wundenberg made a basket as Geraldton went up three with Hunt then hitting again from beyond the arc to stretch it to six. Aaron Ralph then hit a trademark three, the 889th in his 393rd game, and that was enough to secure the eventual 94-84 win.
Colter Lasher ended up top-scoring for Geraldton with him delivering 22 points and five rebounds while Liam Hunt continued to stand tall inside with 21 points, eight boards and three assists on shooting 8/12 from the floor, 2/3 from downtown and 3/4 from the free-throw line.
Brayden Inger added 10 points on 4/4 shooting with Aaron Ralph producing eight points, DeAngelo Isby six points, Mat Wundenberg four points and five rebounds, and Brendan Dinardo four points and three boards.
Then there was Alex Ducas producing 16 points, seven assists, three steals and two rebounds in 32 minutes.
Joseph couldn’t be happier that Ducas will be able to play out the season with the Buccs before leaving for St Mary’s to continue Australia’s rich history of providing players for the Gaels.
Justin King ended the night with 26 points, nine rebounds and three assists with Cody Ellis delivering 18 points, three boards, three blocked shots and two assists, and Wani Swaka Lo Buluk 15 points and four rebounds.
Ash Litterick added nine points and five assists for the Senators, and Caleb Davis nine points and seven rebounds.
CHAMBERS FRANKLYN JOONDALUP CITY WOLVES 112 defeated KALAMUNDA EASTERN SUNS 97
To say the Kalamunda Eastern Suns had their backs against their wall missing potentially their two best players and having to take on the regular season champion Joondalup Wolves at HBF Arena on Saturday night, but nobody told them that.
Despite the Eastern Suns finishing the regular season in eighth position and still being without injured pair Louis Timms and Josh Braun, they threw down the gauntlet to the Wolfpack despite being on the road on Saturday night.
Coach Mark Utley had his team ready to fire and not looking for excuses despite being undermanned and coming up against the league’s powerhouse who not only finished this season in first place, but has played in the past four Men’s SBL Grand Finals.
The Wolves did start strongly leading 6-2 early on but the Eastern Suns soon settled and Javion Blake picking up the extra responsibility with the missing stars, they soon worked their way on top and went into quarter-time leading 24-19.
Blake then hit two threes to start the second period and the Suns were up nine before Corey Easley also hit from downtown to make it a 10-point lead. Captain Jono Diaz kept Kalamunda on top when he hit from deep too and by half-time the upset was on the cards with the Eastern Suns up 57-52.
Keeping the lead was always going to even more challenging than building it for Kalamunda and the Wolfpack came out to start the second half inspired starting with triples from Seb Salinas and Ben Ironmonger.
Trian Iliadis came on and provided a spark and by the time Earnest Ross hit from downtown with seven minutes gone in the half, the Wolves were leading by 15 having started the third period with a 21-4 run.
Kalamunda tried to stay close when Blake and Carl Aylett hit their own three-pointers, but Kevin Davis then scored five quick points for the Wolfpack and they were up 11 at three quarter-time.
Two quick triples to open the fourth quarter from Rob Huntington put the Wolves out of reach of the Suns and the home team went on to win the opening game of the series 112-97 on the back of 60 points to 40 in the second half.
Earnest Ross ended up top-scoring for the Wolfpack with 21 points, nine rebounds, six assists and two steals while Ben Ironmonger delivered 16 points and four assists.
Rob Huntington produced 15 point and six rebounds with Trian Iliadis contributing 15 points, five rebounds and five assists, Kevin Davis 13 points and three assists, Ridell Camidge 11 points, and Seb Salinas eight points, five boards and four assists.
Javion Blake put in a monstrous performance for the Eastern Suns in the absence of Josh Braun and Louis Timms. He ended the night with 43 points, nine rebounds and four assists on 14/26 from the field, 7/14 from deep and 8/9 from the foul line.
Carl Aylett stepped up big too for the Suns with 19 points, seven rebounds and four assists with Ryan Blanchett contributing 14 points and 13 rebounds, Logan Viskovich nine points and three boards, and Corey Easley eight points and four rebounds.
NORTHERN STAR RESOURCES GOLDFIELDS GIANTS 85 lost to LAKESIDE LIGHTNING 89
Despite the sizeable challenge up against Lakeside, the Goldfields Giants wanted to make the most of their return to finals action in front of their home fans on Saturday night and they delivered a strong performance despite falling four points short of the Lightning.
The Giants had done a good job during the regular season to qualify for the finals for the first time since 2015 but the reward was a quarter-final series against a Lakeside team who only missed out on top spot courtesy of losing the season-split against the Joondalup Wolves.
The two teams had played out two thrillers throughout the season too and despite Lakeside winning both games, it was only by a combined six points so all signed pointed towards a tremendously competitive series.
Little separated the two teams once again all evening at Niels Hansen Basketball Stadium with the margin never getting out to double-figures in the favour of either outfit.
Lakeside held its biggest lead of the game to start the second half, having turned a 51-44 lead at half-time into a nine-point advantage when Jobi Wall scored to open the third quarter.
But Goldfields responded impressively and scores were all tied up at 66-apiece by three quarter-time and then suddenly the Giants had all the momentum with two buckets each from Mayo Malek and Jay Bowie.
That had the Giants leading by eight points with less than eight points remaining but the Lightning fired back with three consecutive three-pointers and suddenly the visitors were back in front by a point.
Bowie answered back to regain a one-point lead for Goldfields and that repeated itself a minute later, but then Jack Isenbarger hit a triple for a two-point Lakeside advantage with 2:30 remaining.
Bowie then nailed a triple to put Goldfields back up one before Isenbarger nailed a layup. Kyle Armour then made two free-throws and when Wall nailed yet another triple, that was enough for the Lightning to secure the 89-85 victory.
Jobi Wall came up huge for Lakeside nailing 7/11 from beyond the arc on his way to 25 points and three assists. Jack Isenbarger also went 4/9 from three-point range for 16 points, five assists, three rebounds and three steals.
Michael Vigor added 18 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals for the Lightning with Jarrad Prue producing 11 points and 16 rebounds, Kyle Armour 10 point and eight assists, and Ben Lee seven points.
Jay Bowie top-scored for the Giants with 21 points, 11 rebounds and six assists while shooting an efficient 9/14 from the field and 2/3 from long-range.
Patrick Burke added another 19 points and six rebounds for Goldfields, Mayo Malek 19 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots, Dave Humphries nine points, seven boards, seven assists and three steals, and Brandon Holloway nine points and seven assists.