THE Geraldton Buccaneers took three games to overcome the Warwick Senators in the quarter finals in the Men’s SBL while the Perry Lakes Hawks, Joondalup Wolves and Lakeside Lightning all advanced in two games.
All eight teams taking part in finals action in the Men’s SBL for 2019 deserved to think they had a realistic chance of advancing past the first round and beyond when up and firing and at full strength, setting the stage for some fascinating match ups.
The only Game 2 to take place on Friday night took place at Bendat Basketball Centre between Perry Lakes and Rockingham with both teams building sides capable of going all the way in 2019, and coming off one hell of a semi-final battle in 2018.
The Hawks won a tight Game 1 in Rockingham last Saturday night and then some hot shooting from Clint Steindl and Ryan Smith, and the class and experience inside of Shawn Redhage helped them win Game 2 as well.
Rockingham was already without Brad Robbins and then lost Greg Hire during the fourth quarter with an ankle injury, and Perry Lakes stood firm to win 89-86 to keep their championship defence alive and break the hearts of the Flames for a second straight year.
QUARTER FINALS GAME 2 SPOTLIGHT | WOLFPACK MADE TO EARN IT BY SUNS
PLENTY OF BITE LEFT IN SBL’S ULTIMATE COMPETITOR
QUARTER FINALS GAME 2 SPOTLIGHT | HAWKS PREVAIL IN TOUGH BATTLE WITH FLAMES
STRONGER TEAM CHEMISTRY KEY TO BUCCS OF 2019
QUARTER FINALS WEEK 1 MEN’S SBL WRAP
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
The other three quarter-final Game 2 match ups all took place on Saturday night starting at Active West Stadium with the Warwick Senators needing to win on the road to push the Geraldton Buccaneers to a third game.
And the Senators were able to answer the call to end up winning 83-75 to force Game 3 to take place also in Geraldton on Sunday.
Lakeside hosted the Goldfields Giants at Lakeside Recreation Centre in Game 2 of their quarter-final and the Lightning opened up a huge first half lead and then withstood a Giants comeback to win 102-84 and move into the semi finals.
The Kalamunda Eastern Suns were then once again without stars Josh Braun and Louis Timms but a packed home court at Ray Owen Sports Centre greeted them in their first playoff appearance at home since 2012 against the Joondalup Wolves.
But the Wolfpack answered every challenge despite the Suns never throwing in the towel to come away with the 113-84 win to wrap up the series in two games.
The only deciding Game 3 then took place on Sunday afternoon at Active West Stadium and it was the Buccaneers who held a narrow edge the whole game to end up winning 79-68 to move into the next round.
The semi-final match ups now see the Joondalup Wolves and Perry Lakes Hawks do battle in a rematch of last year’s Grand Final with the Lakeside Lightning also facing the Geraldton Buccaneers.
MEN’S SBL QUARTER FINALS – GAME 2
ID ATHLETIC PERRY LAKES HAWKS 89 defeated SINCLAIR MCDONALD’S ROCKINGHAM FLAMES 86
Based on their semi-final battle 12 months prior and given they are two squad built to win a championship, it was always going to be quite the fight between Perry Lakes and Rockingham, and it didn’t disappoint but the Hawks were able to close the deal on Friday night.
It was always going to be a cracking quarter-final series and the loser would be heartbroken given both Perry Lakes and Rockingham had every reason to think they both had the potential to go all the way in 2019.
They both had their challenges in terms of personnel throughout the season with player availability, but come finals time Perry Lakes had everyone up and going while so did Rockingham aside from Brad Robbins who suffered an Achilles injury to close the regular season.
The Hawks did well to win Game 1 in Rockingham 89-81 last Saturday night but that was another close and tense affair all night long, and Friday night at Bendat Basketball Centre was always going to be similar.
Things remained tight until Clint Steindl caught fire for a patch in the second quarter when he knocked down four three-pointers in the space of two minutes. Rockingham had to find a way to quieten him and that answer proved to be Caleb White who did a tremendous defensive job the rest of the way.
But the Hawks still led 51-47 by half-time and their lead grew to eight to start the second half with scores from Mitch Clarke and Ben Purser before Josh Ritchart steadied Rockingham with a three of his own.
It was then White’s turn to feel it from downtown for Rockingham and three quick triples from him saw the Flames draw level at 63-apiece halfway through the third period.
Perry Lakes took a 70-68 lead into three quarter-time but this was a game always going to be decided at the death.
Whether it was a triples from Kyle Sovine and Ryan Smith or buckets from Shawn Redhage and Steindl, the Hawks continued to hold a slender lead before and after Greg Hire was helped from the floor having suffered a nasty fall which saw him hurt his ankle when battling for a rebound.
But Ritchart was coming up big for the Flames and he soon had his team back within a point and then Ryan Godfrey put them in front. Smith responded immediately with a trademark three before Steindl and Luke Travers traded free-throws.
Steindl and Ritchart traded baskets too with Perry Lakes up 87-86 with the shot clock almost turned off. The Hawks had a scrappy possession when trying to extend their lead which ended with a turnover and a Flames timeout.
From that, the ball found its way to Ritchart but he was triple-teamed in the block and ended up being called for a travel. With just seconds left, Smith was fouled and made three but Rockingham still had three seconds to tie the game.
Ritchart’s triple, however, wouldn’t fall and Perry Lakes took the 89-86 win to advance to the semi finals.
Clint Steindl top-scored for Perry Lakes with 22 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals. He didn’t hit a three outside of that second quarter purple patch but continued to contribute and went 8/12 from the floor.
Shawn Redhage still had all his nifty moves inside to put up 21 points to go with three rebounds and three assists. When inside, he was near unstoppable going 9/10 while missing all five of his attempts from beyond the arc.
Ryan Smith came up with 15 points too for the Hawks while Ben Purser produced seven points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals, Mitch Clarke seven points and 10 assists, and Kyle Sovine eight points.
Josh Ritchart put up 18 points and six rebounds for Rockingham while Chudier Pal fought hard for 14 points and eight boards.
Greg Hire was having a significant impact with 13 points, 17 rebounds and four assists before his ankle injury while Ryan Godfrey finished with 12 points and seven assists, Caleb White 13 points and three boards, and Justin Beard 10 points and three rebounds.
QUADRIO EARTHMOVING GERALDTON BUCCANEERS 75 lost to BETHANIE WARWICK SENATORS 83
The Geraldton Buccaneers deserved to be feeling good about things heading into Game 2 on their home floor on Saturday night but maybe that was too much the case as the Warwick Senators stormed home to by 83-75 and set up a deciding Game 3 on Sunday.
The Buccaneers won Game 1 of the series at Warwick Stadium last Saturday night and then despite deciding to part ways with import DeAngelo Isby once they got back to Geraldton, the Buccs did have all the momentum heading into Game 2 at Active West Stadium.
A vocal home crowd greeted the Buccs too as they knew their team was one win away from another semi-final appearance, and they responded with a solid enough start too to lead 23-18 by quarter-time.
But the Senators were desperate to extend a season of theirs that promised so much too. That saw the visitors outscore Geraldton 27 points to 21 in the second period to head into the half-time interval with the narrowest of leads, 45-44.
The Buccs then seemed to steady and had a handy 66-61 lead by three quarter-time but the Senators just wouldn’t be denied on the night.
They dominated the fourth quarter and ended up scoring 22 points to nine to record the eight-point victory and force the series to a deciding third game also in Geraldton on Sunday, just as they had done back in 2017.
The Senators finished with six players scoring nine points or more which was pivotal in the final result with Cody Ellis leading the way with 16 points and 11 rebounds including hitting 4/7 from deep.
Rob Anshila also put up 16 points and seven rebounds for Warwick with Wani Swaka Lo Buluk producing 13 points, nine rebounds and four assists, Justin King 12 points, five assists and four boards, Ash Litterick 10 points and eight rebounds, and Caleb Davis nine points, seven boards and five assists.
Colter Lasher had a big night for the Buccaneers with 25 points and three rebounds while hitting 4/8 from beyond the arc.
Liam Hunt also had 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Buccs, Aaron Ralph 13 points and 10 boards, Alex Ducas eight points, eight rebounds and three assists, Brayden Inger six points and six boards, and Marcus Alipate five points, five assists and four rebounds.
LAKESIDE LIGHTNING 102 defeated NORTHERN STAR RESOURCES GOLDFIELDS GIANTS 84
It was always going to be a big task for the Goldfields Giants to win on the road to push Lakeside to three games and that became even more so the case when they fell 34 points down in Game 2 on Saturday night at Lakeside Recreation Centre.
The Lightning finished the regular season in second position and then managed to come away with the win in Game 1 against the Giants in Kalgoorlie to open the quarter finals meaning that Goldfields had to come out an inspired outfit at Lakeside on Saturday night.
But it was the Lightning who shot out of the blocks in stunning fashion with a 41-point first quarter including the game’s opening five points from Michael Vigor. He ended up with Lakeside first seven points and they would start 11-1 after Rowan Mackenzie and Jack Isenbarger joined in.
Isenbarger then nailed consecutive threes to make it 18-5 and then Vigor made 20-5. Patrick Burke nailed a pair of threes himself for the Giants but the home team was up 25-11 when Jobi Wall then converted from downtown.
The Lightning didn’t let up and with Isenbarger hitting two more threes before quarter-time with Mackenzie and Wall also adding another each, they were up 41-15 and the game was just about over.
Wall stretched that advantage to 44-15 to start the second period and he just kept on making his shots as Lakeside’s lead grew to as much as 34 heading towards half-time.
The Lightning were still up 67-41 by half-time but to the credit of the Giants, they didn’t throw in the towel and actually gave themselves an outside shot of what would have been the most remarkable of comebacks.
By three quarter-time when Brandon Holloway hit a triple on the buzzer, the Giants had closed the gap to 17 and that became just 11 when Dave Humphries hit a three-pointer earlier in the fourth term.
Humphries then made it a nine-point game but that would be as close as they’d get with the Lightning steadying and again pulling away to win 102-84 and set up a semi-final match up with either the Geraldton Buccaneers or Warwick Senators who had gone to Game 3.
The Lightning ended up hitting 20 threes for the night from 48 attempts on top of winning the rebound battle with 56 to 33 from Goldfields in a game that featured 77 three-point shots and just 15 free-throws.
Jack Isenbarger ended up top-scoring for Lakeside with 25 points including 6/11 from deep with Jobi Wall also hitting 6/11 from three-point territory for 23 points.
Michael Vigor produced 21 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals while Rowan Mackenzie delivered 17 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Kyle Armour added nine points and eight assists, and Jarrad Prue four points and 22 rebounds.
Patrick Burke showed why he’s one of the MVP fancies delivering another 38 points and six rebounds for the Giants on 16/31 shooting from the field.
Dave Humphries added 18 points, four rebounds and four assists for Goldfields with Brandon Holloway contributing eight points, four boards and three assists, and Jay Bowie seven points, seven assists five steals.
KALAMUNDA EASTERN SUNS 84 lost to CHAMBERS FRANKLYN JOONDALUP CITY WOLVES 113
Even without Josh Braun and Louis Timms, the Kalamunda Eastern Suns were never going to hand their scalp to the Joondalup Wolves in the quarter finals and that’s how it panned out even with the Wolfpack winning Game 2 at Ray Owen Sports Centre on Saturday night.
It might have been first against eighth in the quarter-final match up and with the Eastern Suns still without Louis Timms as they had been for the last seven games of the regular season and then losing Josh Braun in the last game of the regular season, it was going to take a remarkable effort from the Suns to knock off the Wolfpack.
They sure gave that quite a crack in Game 1 at HBF Arena last Saturday to deliver an impressive first half and still lead at half-time before the Wolves hit back to win by 15 points despite the remarkable 43-point outburst by Javion Blake.
There was plenty of excitement surrounding the Suns’ men hosting their first final since 2012 then on Saturday night at Ray Owen Sports Centre and a packed house came out in support as they tried to force the Wolves to a Game 3.
Despite the Wolves hitting the game’s first five points through Earnest Ross and Ridell Camidge, when Javion Blake drained a three to open Kalamunda’s account the place came to life.
Evergreen veteran Corey Easley then showed he was capable of stepping up in the absence of Louis Timms by draining a three and the Suns had a 6-5 lead. But that would be their only lead of the night.
Even though Easley drained another triple two minutes later, two inside buckets from Kevin Davis had ensured the Wolves’ three Americans were all up and firing early.
Camidge hit again from deep to see the visitors go up seven midway through the quarter and that soon became 10 when Ross again hit from downtown on the floor he scored 31 points in a half on back in Round 5.
The Wolves ended up leading 31-18 by quarter-time and despite four quick Kalamunda points from Blake to open the second period, the Wolfpack continued to have the answers starting with a Seb Salinas layup.
Consecutive Ben Ironmonger three-pointers put Joondalup up 14 heading towards half-time before Rob Huntington scored six quick points made up of a four-point play and a jumper. Ironmonger then hit another from downtown as did Camidge and the Wolfpack would lead 63-45 at the half.
Davis started the second half like a man possessed with three straight baskets rocking the rim but the Eastern Suns could never be excused of not continuing to fight and Easley and Carl Aylett both knocked down threes in response.
While the Wolves remained in control the rest of the way, the Suns never gave in either and the margin never got beyond the final 29-point margin with Joondalup winning 113-84 to advance to the semi finals against the Perry Lakes Hawks.
Once again it was the contributions across the board that was key for the Wolves even in the absence of Trian Iliadis through work commitments.
Earnest Ross put up 28 points, eight rebounds and five assists to give him 61 points on his two trips to Kalamunda this season.
Not only did Ben Ironmonger spend a lot of the night guarding Javion Blake, but he also had 16 points and three assists including hitting 4/6 from three-point range.
Kevin Davis finished with 16 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals with Ridell Camidge contributing 15 points, two assists and two steals, Seb Salinas 11 points and four rebounds, and Rob Huntington 10 points, four boards, four assists and two blocked shots.
Javion Blake still delivered a strong showing for Kalamunda with 26 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals on shooting 10/16 from the floor.
Carl Aylett showed he has a bright future with 16 points and five rebounds with 4/7 shooting from downtown while Corey Easley showed he has plenty of game left with the 289-game SBL veteran producing 15 points, nine boards and four assists while hitting 5/9 from deep.
Ryan Blanchett added 12 points and three rebounds for Kalamunda, Logan Viskovich seven points and captain, and the club’s first ever 200-game men’s SBL player, Jono Diaz six points and four rebounds.
QUADRIO EARTHMOVING GERALDTON BUCCANEERS 79 defeated BETHANIE WARWICK SENATORS 68
Everything went on the line back at Active West Stadium on Saturday afternoon between the Geraldton Buccaneers and Warwick Senators in the only quarter-final match up to go to three games.
The scene was remarkably similar to two years ago when the Buccs and Senators also met in the quarter finals.
On that occasion as was the case this year, Geraldton won Game 1 at Warwick Stadium before the Senators hit back at Active West Stadium in Game 2 on the Saturday to force the deciding Game 3.
This time around it was the Senators trying to win through to a second straight semi-final appearance while the Buccs were determined not to bow out again in the first round having done so 12 months ago at the hands of the Rockingham Flames after finishing as regular season champions.
The Buccs would have been rocked by losing Game 2 on Saturday night and responded well on Sunday to open the decider and by quarter-time had opened a handy lead to be up 31-16.
That would prove to be a match-winning advantage as well with the rest of the gam relatively even with the Senators continuing to fight hard, but unable to really close the gap seriously enough to threaten.
The Buccs’ lead ballooned to as much as 17 points while the Senators couldn’t get back any closer than eight points with the home team going on to win 79-68 to set up a semi-final match up with the Lakeside Lightning.
Alex Ducas showed just what an exciting talent he is ahead of heading to Saint Mary’s University, delivering 21 points, four rebounds and two assists for the Buccaneers.
Colter Lasher added another 15 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, Marcus Alipate 13 points, two boards and two assists, Aaron Ralph 11 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals, Brendan Dinardo nine points and Liam Hunt six points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
Justin King finished his second season with the Senators by top-scoring with 19 points, eight rebounds and three assists while Cody Ellis produced 14 points, seven boards, three assists and three steals.
Caleb Davis also had 14 points, three rebounds and three assists, Ash Litterick 11 points and seven boards, and Wani Swaka Lo Buluk six points, five rebounds and four assists.