WITH Ridell Camidge sharing blistering halves while Seb Salinas locked down on Clint Steindl, the Joondalup Wolves proved too strong for the Perry Lakes Hawks to advance to a fifth consecutive Men’s SBL Grand Final despite a vintage Shawn Redhage performance.
The series was the Grand Final rematch from 12 months ago and both the Wolves and Hawks had reasons to think they had put together better, and deeper, squads this time around when they met in the semi finals.
Game 1 was a cracking contest last Saturday night at HBF Arena but the Wolves led all the way and withstood an impressive Hawks fight back late to come away with the victory 81-77.
Clint Steindl didn’t play for Perry Lakes, though, and both teams knew his presence would make a significant difference come Game 2 on Saturday night at Bendat Basketball Centre.
But once again it was the Wolfpack who got off to a fast start forcing the Hawks to play catch up and they were never able to make up the gap.
With Ridell Camidge delivering 21 points in the first half and then Trian Iliadis 19 in the second for the Wolves, they maintained a gap the whole night even though Perth Wildcats legend Shawn Redhage did all he could to keep Perry Lakes in the contest.
In the end, Perry Lakes’ best hope of shooting back into the contest was for Steindl to catch fire and through the second half Wolves captain Seb Salinas just denied him the ball or space.
The Hawks continued to fight as you would expect from the defending champs with their season on the line and they did get back within eight points to make things interesting, but the Wolves had all the answers.
Joondalup went on to win the game 109-94 to take the series two-nil and advance to a fifth straight Men’s SBL Grand Final as they now attempt to win their first championship since 2015.
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It had all the hallmarks of being quite the fascinating series between the two teams who played off in last year’s Grand Final and had every reason to be shooting to be championship winners in 2019.
The Wolves dominated their quarter-final battle with the Kalamunda Eastern Suns while the Hawks were tremendous in beating an outstanding Rockingham Flames team in two games as well so you couldn’t fault their form coming into the series either.
Game 1 then certainly lived up to the hype too with the Wolves holding on in a frantic finish for the four-point with the Hawks then back home at Bendat Basketball Centre on Saturday night for Game 2 while regaining the services of Clint Steindl.
But the Wolves again came out strong with Ridell Camidge hitting a three and Earnest Ross a jumper, but Shawn Redhage was feeling it for the Hawks too for their opening four points.
Joondalup went up 16-10 following triples to Rob Huntington and another to Camidge, but four points more to Redhage kept Perry Lakes close with the Wolfpack on top 20-15 by the end of one.
The Wolfpack then turned it on in the second period and it was on the back of Camidge catching fire like few players in the SBL this year have the ability to do.
He opened the second term with an and-one play before hitting a pull up three to put his team up 11. He was then fouled attempting a three by Redhage and made all three at the line and after Seb Salinas also hit from downtown, Camidge added another triple.
Reece Maxwell scored three quick Wolfpack points and Salinas hit another from downtown and on the back of Camidge’s 21 points, the Wolves led 57-41 at the half-time break despite Redhage’s 18 points for the Hawks in a virtual lone hand performance with support from Ben Purser.
Despite Redhage hitting an early three in the second half for Perry Lakes, there was no let up from the Wolfpack with five quick points from Ross and another triple from Camidge.
Trian Iliadis then came on and picked up where Camidge left off with consecutive three-pointers to put the margin back out beyond 20 for the Wolfpack and it was still a 21-point advantage come three quarter-time.
Perry Lakes had to strike early in the fourth to be a chance and they did exactly that with back-to-back threes from Ryan Smith and Steindl. Smith then hit another to make it a 14-point game and that was down to 11 when Purser connected from long-range with under four minutes to go.
Purser made a layup to make it an eight-point game a minute later and the Wolves called timeout with it game on. But Ross scored straight out of the timeout with Ben Ironmonger and Huntington soon making that a 7-0 run and the game, and series was done, with Joondalup winning 109-94.
It is a remarkable feat for the Wolves to now have reached a fifth consecutive Grand Final having won a championship in 2015 and having lost the last three, but now they have another chance at redemption next Saturday night on the same floor they closed out this series.
Wolfpack coach Ben Ettridge couldn’t be more proud of everyone involved in winning through to another Grand Final – a feat only matched by Perry Lakes between 2001-2005.
“It’s a hell of a legacy that these boys have put together,” Ettridge said.
“Five straight Grand Finals is not often achieved and you are doing it for them, and the fans that come out and family and everyone. It means a lot and we still have one to go, but the boys are playing really well and it’s all there to take now.”
Trian Iliadis proved he is still one of the SBL’s most dangerous scorers finishing with 27 points, six rebounds and four assists while hitting 9/16 from the field, 4/10 from deep and 5/5 from the foul line.
With Ridell Camidge delivering 24 points on 5/5 shooting from three-point range and it’s fair to say the Wolves profited well in the two spot.
Earnest Ross added 15 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals for the Wolfpack while Kevin Davis contributed 10 points, eight boards, three assists and two blocked shots.
Rob Huntington finished with nine points, three rebounds and three assists, Reece Maxwell seven points and Seb Salinas seven points, two rebounds and two steals on top of brilliant defence on Clint Steindl.
The scoring feats of Camidge and Iliadis were amazing, so was Salinas’ effort on Steindl but it was the performance of everyone that left Ettridge so satisfied.
“That’s exactly why you have Earnest Ross and Ridell Camidge on your team. Those guys have carried that workload and Ridell was outstanding in the first half, and we got 51 points out of our two guards. For them to score 51 points in 40 minutes is phenomenal,” Ettridge said.
“They both did their job and Trian is a killer down the stretch. And Seb’s defence, that was our plan the whole thing for him to defend Clint down the stretch to use his veteran smarts. His deflection and steal at the end was the championship play that we’ve been talking about that someone would make.
“I couldn’t be prouder and then the rest of the players defended like maniacs and that’s what it was going to take to beat that team. They are a great team but the hardest thing to do is repeat as a champion and they gave it a red hot crack, but we’re standing here and will go into next week looking forward to it.”
Shawn Redhage did all he could for Perry Lakes with 25 points, four rebounds and four assists while shooting 10/16 from the field and a perfect 4/4 from three-point range.
But he got little frontcourt support with Brian Carlwell and Kyle Sovine only combining for two points and three rebounds in 22 minutes on 1/8 shooting.
Ben Purser tried everything to inspire Perry Lakes too with 16 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and two steals to cap a season that might have not attracted too many headlines, but could very well have been the most outstanding of his glittering career.
Tevin Jackson finished with 16 points and four assists for the Hawks, preferred ahead of Carlwell and Sovine, while Ryan Smith finished with 15 points and three boards, Clint Steindl 13 points and four assists.
MEN’S SBL FIXTURES – SEMI FINALS GAME 2
Lakeside Lightning 96 defeated Quadrio Earthmoving Geraldton Buccaneers 89 (Series tied 1-1)
ID Athletic Perry Lakes Hawks 94 lost to Chambers Franklyn Joondalup City Wolves 109 (Joondalup wins 2-0)
SEMI FINALS GAME 3
Lakeside Lightning 86 lost to Quadrio Earthmoving Geraldton Buccaneers 96 (Geraldton wins 2-1)