THE Joondalup Wolves and Geraldton Buccaneers have a chance to qualify for the Men’s SBL Grand Final on Saturday night while the Perry Lakes Hawks and Lakeside Lightning try to hold home court to force Game 3.
The semi finals in the Men’s SBL got underway last Saturday night and it turned out to be victories on their home floor for the Wolfpack and Buccaneers.
The Buccaneers were hosting the Lighting at Geraldton’s Active West Stadium and took the one-nil lead with the 79-68 victory while the Wolves also went up one-nil by beating the Hawks 81-77 at HBF Arena.
That sets up the Game 2 match ups this Saturday night with the Lightning hosting the Buccs from 7pm at Lakeside Recreation Centre and the Hawks hosting the Wolves at Bendat Basketball Centre from 8pm.
A win for Lakeside against Geraldton and Game 3 will be back at Lakeside Recreation Centre on Sunday while a win for Perry Lakes over Joondalup, and that Game 3 will be held at HBF Arena.
SEMI FINALS WEEK 1 MEN’S SBL WRAP
SEMI FINALS GAME 1 SPOTLIGHT | WOLFPACK HOLD HOME COURT AGAINST HAWKS
HAWKS WINNING MOMENTUM REMINISCENT OF 12 MONTHS AGO
BUY IN OF THREE NEW FACES INSTRUMENTAL FOR WOLFPACK
PRUE’S LIGHTNING SEASON WON’T BE DEFINED BY CHAMPIONSHIP
PLENTY OF BITE LEFT IN SBL’S ULTIMATE COMPETITOR
The first Game 2 match up on Saturday night begins at 7pm at Lakeside Recreation Centre with the Lightning hosting the Buccaneers.
The two teams finished second and third on the table at the end of the regular season so there was never going to be much separating them come the semi finals with a Grand Final spot on the line.
Geraldton’s best chance of advancing was also going to be winning the first game on their home floor and they did that last Saturday night 79-68.
It was an impressive performance by the Buccs and they even outrebounded the Lightning by seven with Colter Lasher delivering 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead from the front.
With Marcus Alipate adding 18 points and four assists, Aaron Ralph 15 points and eight rebounds, and Liam Hunt 10 points and three boards, the Buccs had plenty of contributors in the win.
The Lightning’s three-point shooting just wasn’t on song with them going 3/25 as a team but it’s unlikely a team featuring Jack Isenbarger, Jobi Wall, Rowan Mackenzie and even Michael Vigor will shoot that poorly from deep again.
That all sets the stage for a fascinating Game 2 match up with Lakeside needing to win on its home floor to force Game 3 at the same venue the next afternoon while Geraldton could advance to the Grand Final with a victory.
Then at Bendat Basketball Centre, the rematch of last year’s Grand Finalists resumes when the Hawks play the Wolves in Game 2 of their semi-final contest.
It always loomed as being a heated and high-quality affair between two teams with a history and no shortage of talent and experience. Game 1 had a bit of everything too but in the end the Wolfpack did enough to prevail 81-77 having survived a couple of spirted Perry Lakes fightbacks.
The look of Game 2 should be significantly different with Perry Lakes regaining the services of Perth Wildcats NBL championship winning sharpshooter Clint Steindl, but the Wolfpack will feel there are areas they can improve from the opening game as well.
Either way the stage is set for a tremendous Game 2 with Perry Lakes needing to win at home to force Game 3 back at HBF Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Wolves coach Ben Ettridge was happy with much of what his team delivered last Saturday night, but he’s fully aware it’s a different Perry Lakes team with Steindl out there.
“They are a different beast when Clint Steindl is out there and we are fully expecting him to be on the court next week, and he will change the dynamic of the game,” Ettridge said.
“He can erase a 12-point lead off his own back or the gravity he gives Redhage more room in the middle. It will be a different ball game next week but I was pretty pleased with how we got going in the first half.
“We spent the whole week preparing them to have Clint playing so we’ve done that preparation, but without him there we flipped back to how we would defend normally. We’ll sit back and fully prepare for him to be there and we will expect him to be there, and we will be ready for him to be there.”
Hawks coach Matt Parsons has been in charge of two of the past three championship winning teams so he certainly doesn’t plan on bowing out in two games of the semi finals this time around.
He saw lots to like from Game 1 despite the loss and is looking forward to welcoming back Steindl this weekend.
“We have to make sure we find the positives out of that first game and if we understand it, then we can obviously take steps to fix it. We are happy and we get to go home next week and do it all over again, and then we get to come back here. This place doesn’t hold any fears,” Parsons said.
“Clint makes a lot of difference obviously. He’s a floor spacer for us and he’s someone who you can’t help off defensively and he just creates a little bit of space for our penetrating guys behind. At the end of the day, we missed him but we had guys step up and that’s naturally going to be the way.
“In these types of finals series, you have guys lift when other guys go out like that. We were in this exact same position last year when we didn’t have Holmen for that first semi-final and we managed to do our work, and then the next week following in that double-header.
“We feel like we’re in a very similar position now, we have to do our work and we’ll back ourselves in from here.”
MEN’S SBL FIXTURES – SEMI FINALS GAME 2
Lakeside Lightning v Quadrio Earthmoving Geraldton Buccaneers – Lakeside Recreation Centre 7.00pm (Geraldton leads 1-0)
ID Athletic Perry Lakes Hawks v Chambers Franklyn Joondalup City Wolves – Bendat Basketball Centre 8.00pm (Joondalup leads 1-0)
SEMI FINALS GAME 3 (if required)
Chambers Franklyn Joondalup City Wolves v ID Athletic Perry Lakes Hawks – HBF Arena 12.00pm
Lakeside Lightning v Quadrio Earthmoving Geraldton Buccaneers – Lakeside Recreation Centre 1.30pm