ROAD victories by the lower seeds were the order of the day to open the semi finals in the Women’s SBL with the Warwick Senators and Rockingham Flames now just one win from the Grand Final with the Lakeside Lightning and Perry Lakes Hawks with the job ahead of them.
The Women’s semi finals for 2019 got underway on the weekend after the Mandurah Magic, Joondalup Wolves, Willetton Tigers and Kalamunda Eastern Suns were eliminated in the quarter finals.
It set the stage for four extremely deep and talented line-ups to do battle in the semi finals and while the two results on the opening weekend were emphatic, the fact they came by the road team and lower-ranked teams certainly sets the stage for tantalising Game 2s, and potentially Game 3s.
The semi finals got underway on Friday night at Bendat Basketball Centre with Perry Lakes hosting Rockingham with the Hawks on a six-game winning run while the Flames had also won four straight.
But it was Rockingham who kept its ominous form rolling away from home to come away with the 95-60 victory with Game 2 to now take place this Friday night at Mike Barnett Sports Complex.
Perry Lakes must win to force Game 3 back at Bendat Basketball Centre on Saturday night or Rockingham is through to next Friday night’s Grand Final.
Then on Saturday night, Game 1 between the defending champion Lakeside and Warwick took place at Lakeside Recreation Centre, and it was the Senators who prevailed 87-75.
Warwick can now book in a Grand Final berth with a win at Warwick Stadium in Game 2 on Friday night or a Lightning victory will mean Game 3 takes place Saturday night back at Lakeside Recreation Centre.
WOMEN’S SBL SEMI FINALS – WEEK 1
SCARBORO TOYOTA PERRY LAKES HAWKS 60 lost to CLASS 1 ORTHODONTICS ROCKINGHAM FLAMES 95
Perry Lakes and Rockingham finished the regular season in tremendous form and then beat the third and second ranked teams respectively in two games of the quarter finals to set the stage for a fascinating semi-final battle between the Hawks and Flames.
The Lady Hawks finished the regular season on fire winning the last six matches and then dominated the quarter finals against the Joondalup Wolves even though they were the sixth seed up against the third ranked Wolfpack.
Then the Flames also were on a four-game winning run entering the playoffs from seventh position setting up a clash with local rivals Mandurah and Rockingham won two hard fought battles with the second seeded Magic to advance to the semi finals.
With Perry Lakes having won eight straight and Rockingham six straight coming into the series, it was always going to be a mouth-watering match up but it was the Flames who came out breathing fire and never let up.
The Flames came out and scored the game’s first eight points with the last six coming courtesy of Alex Ciabattoni after Darcee Garbin opened proceedings.
Nat Burton got Perry Lakes off the duck but Garbin then scored up the other end and then Chelsea Petrik drained a three before Ciabattoni again scored and then so did Maddie Allen to make it 17-2.
The rout continued with a free-throw to Ciabattoni who then connected from beyond the arc. She made another layup and the score was 23-2 in the most remarkable first 6:30 of a contest you are likely to see.
The game was virtually over from there on the scoreboard and by quarter-time Rockingham found themselves leading 33-14 after the dream start.
The lead grew to 22 points early in the second quarter which became 26 when Christina Boag knocked down a jumper. Garbin free-throws stretched it to 28 and the Flames still led by 24, with a 52-28 half-time advantage.
Rockingham’s lead was at a game-high 27 when Boag scored another basket midway through the third quarter but the Flames wouldn’t let up. Ella Kennedy hit a triple and Garbin scored inside to see the lead grow to 34 and was still 31 by three quarter-time.
Garbin hit another three two minutes into the fourth period to make the lead 36 for the visitors and the night to forget on their home floor ended for Perry Lakes with Rockingham winning 95-60 to be one game away from a Grand Final appearance.
Alex Ciabattoni finished the night with 24 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists for the Flames, once again falling just one assist shy of a triple-double.
Darcee Garbin added 17 points, five steals and four rebounds for Rockingham with Christina Boag producing 16 points and 10 boards, Janelle Adams 11 points and three steals, Maddie Allen eight points and six rebounds, and Ariana Hetherington six points and two boards.
Sarah Donovan top-scored for Perry Lakes with 13 points and five rebounds with Annika Renkema contributing 10 points and three boards, Jamie Cherry nine points, Megan McKay seven points and six rebounds, and Nikita Martin seven points and five assists.
LAKESIDE LIGHTNING 75 lost to BETHANIE WARWICK SENATORS 87
The Lakeside Lightning hadn’t lost a playoff game in the Women’s SBL since Game 3 against Mandurah in 2017 but that that all changed on Saturday night with the Warwick Senators winning by 12 points at Lakeside Recreation Centre.
With Lakeside the defending champions and having again finished on top of the ladder in 2019 coming up against a Warwick team who has loaded up this season looking for a first Grand Final appearance since 2007.
Both teams had come through the quarter finals winning in two games with the Lightning beating the Kalamunda Eastern Suns and the Senators prevailing over the Willetton Tigers so they both deserved to be feeling good ahead of Game 1 on Saturday at Lakeside Recreation Centre.
It was the Senators who opened up the first gap in the game leading by seven late in the first quarter following baskets to Bianca Villegas and Samaria Howard. But by quarter-time, Lakeside had closed the gap and scores were tied at 21-21.
It was then Lakeside’s championship winning centre Sam Roscoe who helped her new team open a handy lead heading towards half-time when she hit two consecutive triples to put the Senators up 39-31.
Roscoe then hit another soon after to put Warwick up 10 and then her fourth from downtown in the space of two minutes made it a 13-point ball game with the Senators still leading by seven at half-time with Roscoe scoring another bucket on the buzzer.
It was Tayla Hepburn’s turn early in the second half to keep the Senators up by double-figures and that lead grew to 14 when Villegas also scored inside.
Rebekah Throns hit from downtown just before three quarter-time to give Warwick a 68-51 edge heading into the fourth and Lakeside weren’t seriously able to threaten from there with the Senators taking Game 1 87-75.
Samaria Howard was terrific for the Senators with 21 points, seven rebounds and two assists on shooting 9/13 from the field.
Sam Roscoe added 18 points and 11 rebounds on the back of that remarkable second quarter while Stacey Barr delivered 16 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Bianca Villegas also contributed 10 points and five rebounds for the Senators, Tayla Hepburn 10 points and seven boards, and Nicole Jorre De St Jorre six points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
Ash Grant did all she could for Lakeside finishing with 29 points and 12 rebounds including hitting 4/5 from three-point territory.
GeAnna Lualu-Summers added 14 points and six rebounds while Courtney Mansfield had 12 points, six rebounds and six assists, Hannah Stewart 11 points and four boards, and Ellyce Ironmonger five points and 12 rebounds.