Round 3 West Coast Classic Men’s Wrap
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Round 3 West Coast Classic Men’s Wrap

WE no longer have any winless or undefeated teams in the West Coast Classic after three rounds and precious separates the top six teams with most still in contention for the top four after we saw some thrilling Round 3 action.

The Round 3 action in the West Coast Classic included Marshall Nelson knocking down a buzzer-beater on Saturday night for the Perth Redbacks against the Geraldton Buccaneers while Damien Scott did the same for the Willetton Tigers to force overtime on Friday, before his team went on to lose at home to the Perry Lakes Hawks.

We also saw the Joondalup Wolves suffer their first defeat of the West Coast Classic as did the Lakeside Lightning and that was just the start of what made for a fascinating weekend of action in the SBL replacement competition for 2020.

It got underway on Friday night with the Joondalup Wolves holding out the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 80-76 at HBF Arena.

The Perth Redbacks also defeated the East Perth Eagles 95-78 at Belmont Oasis with the Perry Lakes Hawks beating the Willetton Tigers 96-94 in overtime at Willetton Basketball Stadium.

Saturday evening got underway with the Cockburn Cougars continuing to impress by beating the Lakeside Lightning 85-81 at Wally Hagan Stadium before the Warwick Senators also handed the Joondalup Wolves their first defeat, winning 88-76 at Warwick Stadium.

The East Perth Eagles also defeated the South West Slammers 82-69 at Herb Graham Recreation Centre with the Perth Redbacks winning on the buzzer 86-85 against the Geraldton Buccaneers at Belmont Oasis.

The Goldfields Giants continued their growth with an 82-69 win against the Rockingham Flames at Niels Hansen Basketball Stadium before the Perry Lakes Hawks downed the Mandurah Magic 89-57 at Bendat Basketball Stadium.

The round concluded on Sunday afternoon at Ray Owen Sports Centre with the Kalamunda Eastern Suns opening their account with an 85-75 win against the Geraldton Buccaneers.

It’s a tight West Coast Classic competition after three rounds with the Perry Lakes Hawks (5-1) out on top ahead of the Joondalup Wolves (4-1), Warwick Senators (3-1) and Lakeside Lightning (3-1).

Then just outside the top four is the Rockingham Flames (3-1) ahead of the Perth Redbacks (4-2), Willetton Tigers (2-2), Goldfields Giants (2-2), East Perth Eagles (2-3), Cockburn Cougars (1-3), South West Slammers (1-3), Kalamunda Eastern Suns (1-4), Mandurah Magic (1-4) and Geraldton Buccaneers (1-5).




Caleb White put on the sort of dominant performance that shows just why CJ Jackson is keen to build his Perth Redbacks around him beyond this West Coast Classic.

The Redbacks’ rollercoaster ride so far in the West Coast Classic continued at Belmont Oasis on Friday night as they beat the gutsy and exciting Eagles 95-78 largely on the back of running away with it in the third quarter with Caleb White unstoppable.

The win saw the Redbacks bounce back from last Saturday night’s 28-point loss to Perry Lakes which came 24 hours after a 36-point win over the Cockburn Cougars. And that was after in Round 1, the Redbacks lost to the Joondalup Wolves by 18 points and then beat Mandurah by 11.

Once again the Eagles could have taken great heart from their performance under new coach Luke Coburn.

They might now be 1-3 after Friday’s loss, but clearly they are developing something exciting with their young group and take out the third quarter against the Redbacks and they put in a good showing, and prior to that they lost tight battles to Geraldton and Mandurah.

The longer the game unfolded, the more White proved the difference between the two teams but it wasn’t until the third quarter when the Redbacks were able to gap the Eagles.

Perth did lead 28-20 at quarter-time with White draining a three on the buzzer but East Perth wasn’t going anywhere and by half-time the difference between the two teams was just four points.

Not only did the Redbacks catch fire offensively in the third quarter, they also locked down better on the Eagles to keep them to just the 13 points to set up the eventual win.

The Redbacks did go on to lead by as much as 22 points before ending up winning 95-78.

It was a standout game from Caleb White as he delivered the 42 points on another efficient shooting night going 14/20 from the field and 9/12 from deep.

Having Joel Wagner running things for the Redbacks remains their biggest strength with the SBL’s all-time assists leader dishing out another eight dimes on Friday night.

Marshall Nelson also put up 18 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals, and Tevin Jackson 12 points, five rebounds and three steals.

There was again a lot to like about what East Perth produced despite a high turnover count of 28.

Shaquille Maharaj was again impressive with 22 points and 11 rebounds while Logan Thwaites put up 11 points, three boards and three steals, Jarrad Anastasio 10 points and 10 rebounds, Nic Filpo eight points, and Kieran Berry eight points and six assists.


The Joondalup Wolves put their undefeated record on the line against the winless Kalamunda Eastern Suns at HBF Arena on Friday night, but there was always more to the meeting than that.

The Wolfpack have had a remarkable run this past decade going back to winning a championship in 2011. Then the last five years with Ben Ettridge back in charge as coach, they have played in a Grand Final each season winning another title back in 2015 and then losing the last four championship deciders.

But there was big change in 2020 with Ettridge moving on and Friday night marked his return to HBF Arena as part of the Eastern Suns coaching staff which was always going to add some extra intrigue and feeling to this contest.

It turned out to be a tight first half too and neither side really got going in the first quarter with Kalamunda leading narrowly 13-12 by quarter-time.

Things remained close in the second quarter too but the teams got in more of an offensive flow to put up 24 points apiece to mean that the Eastern Suns still led 37-36 by half-time.

The Wolfpack responded in the third quarter to blow the game wide open with 33 points to 14 and they would go on to lead by as much as 18 points, and still by 15 early in the fourth quarter before Kalamunda made an inspired run at their first victory.

Brendan Dinardo, Carl Aylett and Corey Easley combined for a 10-0 run with Easley knocking down consecutive threes and with six minutes left, suddenly it was game on.

Ryan Blanchett then brought the margin back to three before Lochlan Cummings responded for Joondalup, and then Aylett and Seb Salinas traded three-point bombs.

But when Dinardo scored with two minutes to go, the Suns were within one and they had all the momentum. They couldn’t quite nail the go-ahead bucket, though, and Trian Iliadis put the finishing dagger in for the Wolfpack with a triple as they stayed unbeaten with the 80-76 win.

Lochlan Cummings finished with 22 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the Wolves while Trian Iliadis added 15 points, five boards and three assists to go with nailing 4/5 from three-point land.

Rob Huntington added 13 points, three rebounds and three blocks, Reece Maxwell 10 points and six boards, Lee Roberts nine points and six rebounds, and Seb Salinas eight points and six assists.

Ryan Blanchett fought valiantly for the Eastern Suns to put up 22 points and seven rebounds with Carl Aylett producing 21 points, nine boards and four assists, Brendan Dinardo 13 points and six rebounds, and Logan Viskovich seven points.


It always shaped as being a potentially tremendous contest and it sure delivered as Willetton Basketball Stadium hosted an overtime thriller between the Willetton Tigers and Perry Lakes Hawks on Friday night.

The scene was set over the opening three quarters of the game with the Tigers leading narrowly by two points at quarter-time before Perry Lakes turned it around marginally to be up 47-45 by the half-time interval.

The Hawks did pull away further in the third quarter to lead by eight at three quarter-time, and to lead by as much as 11, but the Tigers weren’t going away on this night.

A three-point play from Andrew Black sparked their comeback and made the margin just four points again but the Hawks did steady to a seven-point advantage with a triple from Cooper Hamilton with five minutes remaining.

Another and-one, this time from Lewis Thomas, brought Willetton back within four and then it was a one-point game courtesy of a Tigers three-point bomb from Damien Scott.

The teams then traded scores and things were tied with a minute left before a free-throw from Matthew Leary gave Willetton a one-point edge. Ryan Smith then made two more at the stripe and the Tigers had one last chance to force overtime.

And coming out of the timeout, Thomas found Scott who drained the three to spark some wild scenes as the scores were tied at 88-88 and we were going to overtime.

The Hawks managed to hold an edge for most of the extra period and they did end up winning 96-94 when the Tigers couldn’t find a way to tie things up this time.

Ben Purser was again outstanding for Perry Lakes with 22 points, nine rebounds and three assists while Cooper Hamilton delivered 21 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Ryan Smith also had 12 points and five assists for the Hawks, Rob Cassir 11 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and three assists, Mitch Clarke 10 points and six boards, and Matthew Leary eight points.

Lewis Thomas had a monster night for Willetton made up of 22 points, 16 rebounds, seven assists, three blocked shots and two steals.

Andrew Black added 20 points and seven rebounds, Damien Scott 18 points and three boards, Hayden Noordhoek eight points and eight rebounds, and Dylan Hampson seven points.


The Perth Redbacks made it a perfect weekend in the West Coast Classic when Marshall Nelson nailed a stunning game-winning three on Saturday night against the Geraldton Buccaneers at Belmont Oasis.

The Redbacks had yet to taste defeat at home so far in the West Coast Classic while the Buccs were starting their third straight road trip while their Active West Stadium back in Geraldton was finishing being renovated.

The Buccaneers had won just one of their opening four matches over the previous two weekends and then lost reigning Grand Final MVP Liam Hunt to a devastating knee injury last Saturday night, but the champions showed their heart with a strong start on Saturday night.

It was a stunning start from Geraldton as they scored the game’s first 12 points which including two three-pointers from 399-game SBL veteran Aaron Ralph who was coming off 27 points in the first half last Sunday against the Joondalup Wolves.

Tevin Jackson eventually got the Redbacks on the board three minutes into the game but when Ralph nailed his third triple, the Buccaneers’ lead was out to 17-3.

Ralph would go on to score 15 points in the first quarter for Geraldton but Perth had done well to steady the ship by quarter-time and limit the damage to a six-point deficit.

While Marshall Nelson hit a three to start the second quarter and make it a three-point game, the Buccs again pulled away and were up eight when another veteran Carter Cook hit one from downtown.

But again when Nelson hit from beyond the arc the Redbacks were back within two heading towards half-time and then Dennis Tawhiti scored inside to level scores with three minutes to go.

Nelson and Caleb White then drained threes to give the Redbacks a lead before Tevin Jackson hit a pair of triples to give the home side a 50-48 edge on half-time after Ralph had another connected on yet another three-point bomb.

Things stayed close throughout the second half as well and it just seemed destined to be one of those games to be decided with the last possession with the stars from both sides coming up huge, and putting on quite the entertaining show.

Geraldton still managed to lead by four at quarter-time before Joel Wagner brought the Redbacks back within one with a three of his own to start the fourth period.

Brayden Inger was another to hit from deep to put Geraldton back up four and Jesse Hunt stretched their lead to six, but Nelson then kept Perth close when he connected from three-point land.

A pair of free-throws from Hunt still see the Buccs in control leading by five with 2:30 remaining before Wagner responded with two at the stripe himself.

Jackson then scored on a layup to bring the Redbacks within one before he gave away a tech foul. Ralph ended up having three free-throws but made just one which left Geraldton up 85-83 but with the door open with the Redbacks having the last possession.

And it was Nelson who drained the game winning shot as time was winding down on the back of Ralph’s missed free-throw. The Buccs then couldn’t get a shot off out of a timeout on the desperation last attempt and the Redbacks won 86-85 in a beauty of a contest.

Marshall Nelson not only hit the game-winner for the Redbacks but finished the night with 37 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, four steals and two blocked shots on shooting 12/23 from the floor, 8/13 from three-point land and 5/8 from the foul line.

Tevin Jackson added 17 points and five assists with Joel Wagner contributing 11 points and six assists, Dennis Tawhiti 10 points and five rebounds, and Ezra Nikora six points and three assists. Caleb White had just five points after hitting 42 on Friday night.

Aaron Ralph finished with 30 points for the second straight game for the Buccaneers on shooting 8/21 from the field, 4/11 from three-point range and 10/13 from the foul line. He also had seven rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Brayden Inger continues his growth and had 21 points and 12 rebounds with Jesse Hunt adding 15 points and 10 boards, and Xavier Shaw eight points. Championship captain Mat Wundenberg played his first game of 2020 for four points, seven rebounds and five assists.

East Perth and South West were in search of their second wins of the West Coast Classic on Saturday night and in the finish it was the Eagles who proved too strong winning by 13 points.

The Eagles had pulled off a remarkable comeback to beat the Kalamunda Eastern Suns back in Round 1 before some tight calls since while the Slammers opened up beating Mandurah at home as well before struggling since.

So it was an intriguing match up in the build up for Saturday night at Herb Graham Leisure Centre between the two incredibly youthful and inexperienced teams.

Little separated them through the first half either with East Perth just managing to cling to a 23-20 advantage by quarter-time and then heading into half-time still up by three.

The Eagles, though, pulled away in the third term putting up 26 points to just 13 from the Slammers and that was enough to secure the eventual 82-69 victory on their home floor.

Shaquille Maharaj has been one of the breakout stars of this West Coast Classic and the 23-year-old was the difference between the two teams on Saturday night delivering for East Perth 28 points, four steals, three assists and three rebounds including going 4/7 from three-point range.

Logan Thwaites added 11 points, five rebounds and three assists for the Eagles, Joel Offereins 11 points and seven rebounds, Isaac Offereins six points and five boards, Kieran Berry six points, five rebounds and four assists, and Jarrad Anastasio six points, nine boards, three blocks and three steals.

Rivar Evans showed exciting signs for the Slammers with 16 points and three assists while Mitch Keller produced 13 points and nine rebounds, Cory Richardson eight points and 10 assists, Jack Flynn eight points and three blocked shots, and Devan Craig seven points and two steals.


The so far undefeated Rockingham Flames made the trip to Kalgoorlie for Saturday night’s game in what was another one tough to predict after the Goldfields Giants found some ominous form the previous week at home.

After a challenging Round 1 on the road with such a young team, the Giants were led by big men pairing Mayo Malek and Majier Garang to an inspired win last week against the Kalamunda Eastern Suns.

But Rockingham made the trip to Kalgoorlie on the back of starting the West Coast Classic with wins against Cockburn, South West and Geraldton so both teams entered the game in impressive form.

And it was the Flames who started impressively to open up a 24-16 lead by quarter-time, but the Giants turned things around in the second period with 22 points to 15. That saw Rockingham lead narrowly 39-38 at half-time.

The Giants then continued that momentum in the third quarter and in front of their home fans they were able to put up 27 points to 16. Goldfields went on to lead by as much as 16 points before coming away with the 82-69 victory.

Once again the difference for the Giants was their imposing and exciting big men pairing, with Majier Garang and Mayo Malek combining for 45 points, 25 rebounds, six assists, five steals and three blocked shots on shooting 20/38 from the floor, 2/8 from three and 3/7 from the foul line.

That was made up of Garang’s 24 points, 17 rebounds, four steals, three assists and two blocks with Malek adding 21 points, eight boards and three assists.

Jerome Reid also finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds and three assists for Goldfields, Fletcher Klasztorny 10 points, eight boards and three assists, and Damon Ballantyne 10 points, five assists and four rebounds.

Ryan Godfrey delivered 19 points and five rebounds for Rockingham while knocking down 4/10 from three-point land.

Travis Durnin also put up 17 points and eight rebounds for the Flames, Jackson Hussey 17 points, seven assists, six rebounds and four steals, and Josh Mills seven points and seven boards.


Wally Hagan Stadium played host to a tremendous contest on Saturday night with no more than 11 points ever separating Cockburn and Lakeside, with the Cougars ending up handing the Lightning their first West Coast Classic defeat.

The Cougars had yet to win a game so far over the first two rounds despite some encouraging basketball including pushing the Joondalup Wolves last Saturday night while the Lightning had yet to lose with a good blend of experience and youth leading the way.

Josh Davey did score the first basket of the game for Lakeside but Cockburn took over from there in a blistering opening starting with a three-pointer from Jaarod Holmes.

Luke Travers then hit from downtown as well for Cockburn before Holmes scored inside and then Travers threw down a dunk on a pass from Gavin Field showing their growing chemistry to make it 10-3.

The Cougars were then up 13-3 with Field knocking down a three, but to the Lightning’s credit they worked back into the contest to then only trail by three at quarter-time and that remained the difference as they went into the half-time break too.

It was a high-scoring affair in the third quarter with Cockburn still ending it leading by four points but the stage was always set for a thrilling finish.

Another dunk from Travers and then a triple from Seva Chan saw the Cougars’ lead stretch to nine midway through the last quarter which grew to 11 when Jake Harris scored a minute later.

Lakeside wouldn’t go away, though, and Corey Shervill hit a three and Rowan Mackenzie scored inside to make it a four-game with two minutes remaining.

Another dunk from Travers put Cockburn back up six after a steal and pass from Holmes but Lakeside stayed close with another three from Mackenzie.

They couldn’t get closer than two points, though, after a three from Shervill with Holmes managing a bucket after that to seal the 85-81 win for the Cougars.

There were some big performers for the Cougars with Gavin Field putting up 22 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals, and Luke Travers 20 points, 16 rebounds, six assists and three steals.

Jaarod Holmes also battled hard all night and finished with 20 points, six rebounds and two assists including a stunning 4/4 from three-point territory.

Seva Chan added eight points and four assists, Jake Harris eight points and two rebounds, and Hayden Bell five points.

Corey Shervill delivered 22 points and five rebounds for Lakeside while hitting 6/14 from beyond the three-point arc.

Jay Bowie added 21 points and three rebounds, Rowan Mackenzie 13 points, eight boards and four steals, Josh Davey eight points and six rebounds, and Andrew Ferguson six points, four rebounds and three blocks.


This had all the makings of being the game of the West Coast Challenge so far and in the end it was the Warwick Senators who got on top early and maintained that edge to beat the Joondalup Wolves by 12 points.

The Senators came into the clash having won two of their opening three matches this season while the Wolves were undefeated under new coach Andrew Summerville including a win on Friday night at home to the Kalamunda Eastern Suns.

It was a packed house in Warwick Stadium for the encounter too adding a tremendous atmosphere to the hotly-awaited match up and it was the Senators who started well to open up a 28-23 lead by quarter-time.

Warwick pulled away further in the second quarter with another 24 points to 20 to head into the rooms at half-time leading 52-43.

The Senators managed to maintain their advantage throughout the second half and even extend it to end up winning 88-76 to leave both teams ending Round 3 with one loss. The Wolves have four wins and the Senators three.

The Senators winning the possession game was critical in the final result. They collected two more rebounds but did force the Wolves into 22 turnovers and collected 21 offensive boards to 15. That saw Warwick take 12 more shots and get to the foul line on six more occasions.

Justin King put up 24 points, seven rebounds, five steals and three assists for the Senators with Cody Ellis contributing 14 points, four steals, three rebounds and two steals, and Wani Swaka Lo Buluk 13 points, eight boards, four assists and two steals.

Caleb Davis also had 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals, Ngor Manyang 11 points and two boards, and Alier Riak six points and five rebounds.

Lee Roberts had a big night for the Wolfpack with 28 points and 10 rebounds while Lochlan Cummings added 15 points, six boards and five assists, Trian Iliadis 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and Seb Salinas 10 points and three assists.


Fresh off a cracking overtime win on Friday night, the Perry Lakes Hawks kept their West Coast Classic momentum going with another 89-57 win against the Mandurah Magic on Saturday.

Aside from a hiccup on the road to the Lakeside Lightning, Perry Lakes has been able to put a strong West Coast Classic together over the opening three rounds which was capped off on Saturday night at Bendat Basketball Centre.

The Magic had shown encouraging development signs, but against this well put together Perry Lakes line-up, they couldn’t quite keep up the fight as the evening rolled on with the Hawks starting strongly to lead 28-19 by quarter-time.

That advantage had grown to 50-34 by half-time with the Hawks ending up with a lead as large as 32 during the evening which just happened to be the final margin as they scored the 89-57 victory.

The Hawks again loved taking the three ball jacking up 36 attempts and making 12 while pulling in 58 rebounds to 49 from Mandurah.

East Perth recruit Matthew Leary had a tremendous night for the Hawks putting up 20 points to go with six rebounds while captain Ben Purser shows what a remarkable all-round player he continues to be with 19 points and four boards.

Bailey Cole put up 13 points, four rebounds and two assists as well for the Hawks with Cooper Hamilton contributing 10 points and five rebounds, Mitch Clarke nine points and six assists and Harry Imison eight points and two boards.

Imison sure wasn’t shy on attempting the three ball and ended up going 1/9 from beyond the arc.

Rob Cassir produced three points, five steals, four rebounds and two assists as well for Perry Lakes with Austin Kisselev contributing five points and five boards.

Tom Atkinson has had a remarkable three weeks now in the West Coast Classic having never really had a chance to play regular minutes in the SBL previously at Cockburn.

But he has more than proven himself someone to keep your eye on and while he only shot 5/16 on Saturday against Perry Lakes, he still managed to finish with 17 points, 15 rebounds and four assists.

Josh Hunt is another player who was biding his time behind quality and experienced players at the Buccaneers, but he’s thriving on joining the Magic with another 11 points, three rebounds and two blocked shots.

Aaron Kearing is a big that Mandurah can bank on to be a real presence for years to come at both ends of the floor, and he delivered 14 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots.

Isaiah Walley-Stack also had five points for the Magic and Cousteau Kyle four.

After a couple of close calls, the Kalamunda Eastern Suns opened their West Coast Classic account with a gritty 85-75 home win over the Geraldton Buccaneers on Sunday.

Without question the most exciting aspect of the West Coast Classic that has started up in place of the cancelled SBL season due to COVID-19 is the fact that it is going to fast track the development of young players through experience they otherwise would never have got at such a level.

Both teams that closed Round 3 on Sunday afternoon at Ray Owen Sports Centre fit that bill and that’s why it was an entertaining afternoon of basketball as the two young and emerging teams fought hard for the 40 minutes.

Desperate for their first win of the West Coast Classic having done well to push the loaded Joondalup Wolves on Friday night and losing from an almost unlosable position back in Round 1 against East Perth, the Suns started impressively.

Carl Aylett opened with a three-point play before Corey Easley hit one from deep to give them the opening six points before Jesse Hunt got Geraldton on the board in what will be his last game for the Buccs for the West Coast Classic.

But Easley again hit from downtown, Aylett scored again and then Buccs championship winning guard Brendan Dinardo hurt his old side from three-point land to give Kalamunda the early 14-4 edge.

However, Geraldton worked back into the contest and it was just a two-point margin when Brayden Inger drained a three before the visitors went into quarter-time leading 24-21.

Aylett was the man to bring Kalamunda back on top, though, when he drained a pair of threes and he ultimately was instrumental in the Suns turning 47-46 in front of the Buccs.

It was then all the Eastern Suns in the third quarter in what proved a match-winning period as they held Geraldton to 10 points while piling on 24 themselves.

The Suns would go on to lead by as much as 17 early in the fourth quarter, but the Buccs did give it one more crack even with Wundenberg and Ralph having fouled out.

They did make an 8-0 run to provide a brief glimmer of hope, but the Suns steadied with a three-point play from Aylett to seal the eventual 85-75 win.

Carl Aylett finished with a scintillating afternoon for Kalamunda made up of 29 points, three rebounds and three assists on shooting 9/13 from the floor, 3/6 from three-point land and 8/10 from the foul line.

Corey Easley was a strong anchor for the Eastern Suns too with 17 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals while Ryan Blanchett finished with 16 points, six boards and three assists, and Brendan Dinardo 10 points, seven assists and six rebounds against the team he won a title with.

The Buccs welcomed back Jesse Hunt for one more weekend and he did all he could to lift his team with 26 points, eight rebounds and three assists.

Brayden Inger continues his emergence with an increased role with 14 points and eight rebounds with Aaron Ralph finishing with seven points, five rebounds and five assists, Xavier Shaw nine points and six boards, and Mat Wundenberg six points, four rebounds and three assists.

His numbers might not reflect it with just the two steals standing out across the line, but for 18-year-old River Joseph to be getting the chance to run point guard in this West Coast Classic will be invaluable for his development.

The Buccs have now completed three straight road trips to start the West Coast Classic and are 1-5, and will now be without Jesse and Liam Hunt the rest of the way, but they are back home to host the Warwick Senators next Saturday night to raise their championship banner.

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