THE time is now upon us for the first State League Basketball action of 2020 in Western Australia and there’s great excitement surrounding the West Coast Classic with all 12 Women’s teams in action this weekend.
All clubs had finalised their preparations for the SBL season that was originally set to begin back in March after the conclusion of the pre-season Blitz tournament, but COVID-19 was starting to take hold.
Initially that led to the postponement of the start of the SBL season for 2020 and ultimately led to it being cancelled altogether.
However, Western Australia was doing an increasingly strong job of keeping the pandemic from getting out of hand in the state like it had in other parts of the country and the world, and the restrictions were beginning to be eased.
It got to a point where it did appear possible that there could be some basketball action played in place of the SBL and that’s where the West Coast Classic came from, and now all of a sudden it’s upon us beginning this Friday night.
The West Coast Classic will consist of nine rounds with all 12 teams playing each other once before a finals weekend that will determine the champions will take place from September 25-27.
There remains so much unknown about how the teams will look in terms of personnel now in the West Coast Classic in comparison to how they were shaping up for the SBL season back in March, but what does remain clear is how much excitement there is to have top level basketball back.
And it all gets underway with five big matches on Friday night with each of them tipping off at 6.30pm.
Those matches are the Joondalup Wolves against the Perth Redbacks at HBF Arena, the Willetton Tigers taking on the Lakeside Lightning at Willetton Basketball Stadium, the East Perth Eagles hosting the Kalamunda Eastern Suns at Herb Graham Leisure Centre, the South West Slammers taking on the Mandurah Magic at Eaton Recreation Centre, and the Perry Lakes Hawks facing the Warwick Senators at Bendat Basketball Centre.
The action doesn’t stop there and continues with three more games on Saturday starting at 5pm with the Mandurah Magic facing the Perth Redbacks at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre.
Then at 6pm it’s the Rockingham Flames playing the Cockburn Cougars at Mike Barnett Sports Complex, and then at 6.30pm the Kalamunda Eastern Suns play the Willetton Tigers at Ray Owen Sports Centre.
There are plenty of things to keep your eye on across the weekend including that Lady Wolfpack contest with the Redbacks.
Both Nes’eya Williams-Parker and Alix Hayward joined the Wolves from the Redbacks this off-season while Charles Nix, Kayla Steindl and Mikayla Pirini are all former Redbacks too creating plenty of intrigue.
Then we have the grand opening of the redeveloped Willetton Basketball Stadium as the first official game is played there with the Tigers hosting their old rivals the Lightning.
The Perry Lakes contest with Warwick also shapes as a beauty featuring two teams who were looking strong for the SBL season, and should still be that way for the West Coast Classic.
The Senators have added Makailah Dyer to Stacey Barr in the backcourt while the Hawks will be sure to be competitive under coach Deanna Black.
The Flames and Cougars will then make their only appearances of the weekend on Saturday against one another in Rockingham with the Flames entering as reigning champs and the Cougars under a new coach Tyrone Thwaites with some high hopes around them.
WEST COAST CLASSIC 2020 – WOMEN
Joondalup Wolves v Perth Redbacks – HBF Arena 6.30pm
Willetton Tigers v Lakeside Lightning – Willetton Basketball Stadium 6.30pm
East Perth Eagles v Kalamunda Eastern Suns – Herb Graham Leisure Centre 6.30pm
South West Slammers v Mandurah Magic – Eaton Recreation Centre 6.30pm
Perry Lakes Hawks v Warwick Senators – Bendat Basketball Centre 6.30pm
Mandurah Magic v Perth Redbacks – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 5pm
Rockingham Flames v Cockburn Cougars – Mike Barnett Sports Complex 6pm
Kalamunda Eastern Suns v Willetton Tigers – Ray Owen Sports Centre 6.30pm