WITH Corey Shervill and Rowan Mackenzie showing why they are such sought after talents both sides of the globe, the Lakeside Lightning bounced back from their first West Coast Classic loss to beat the Rockingham Flames on Friday night.
The Lightning tasted defeat in the West Coast Classic for the first time last Saturday night away to the Cockburn Cougars while the Flames were also coming off their first defeat in Kalgoorlie at the hands of the Goldfields Giants.
The Lightning and Flames certainly appear two teams capable of being there for a crack at the finals in the West Coast Classic, but also to their credit they are doing it largely with groups of young and local players.
Corey Shervill and Rowan Mackenzie are two Lightning products already having gained some experience playing college basketball and who are likely to return at some stage while it’s not a stretch to think that they might also have NBL careers in their future if their progression continues.
The pair ended up being at the forefront of everything that the Lightning did on Friday night at Lakeside Recreation Centre without Jay Bowie, Jack Isenbarger and Andrew Ferguson in the eventual 84-71 victory against the Flames while Michael Vigor’s night never got going thanks to foul trouble.
Whoever said the West Coast Classic games don’t mean a lot to the teams and players involved only had to watch this contest from start to finish.
There was tension between the two teams the whole way through, tempers flared at times, there was delays throughout the evening with clock troubles and it was high-quality, fast-moving and physical game of basketball between two teams looking to take another step towards being there for the finals later next month.
Lakeside started well to lead 7-2 early before Flames captain Ryan Godfrey responded with a triple. The Lightning got back on top when Liam Hislop hit from three-point land too and Lakeside managed to still lead 14-11 by the end of one.
Justin Beard and Travis Durnin combined for a 5-0 Rockingham run to put them briefly on top before Shervill and Mackenzie both hit from deep to put the Lightning up by five again, and they maintained that edge to lead 45-37 by half-time.
Lakeside’s lead grew to 10 on three quarter-time when Shervill hit yet another three-pointer but Rockingham wasn’t done with their fight yet.
Callum Beard scored inside to start the fourth quarter and then Jackson Hussey went up a gear for five quick points to cut the deficit in half for Rockingham. When Hussey stole the ball from Shervill and cruised for a layup, it was a four-point ball game and it was game on.
But Shervill hit the next five points of the game to put the Lightning back up nine although there was one more twist left. Hussey and Justin Beard nailed consecutive threes and Rockingham was only three points behind with over two minutes left.
They couldn’t quite close the deal and a couple of calls against Godfrey didn’t help. Shervill sealed the deal for Lakeside with another triple and then the game was done with an unsportsmanlike called against Justin Beard as he joined Godfrey in fouling out.
Rockingham coach Ryan Petrik told his team to pull back for the final 4.8 seconds and not defend but the tension remained as the buzzer went when young Lakeside guard Liam Patterson took a three-point shot – and air balled it.
Corey Shervill and Rowan Mackenzie clearly had a lot of fun being back together playing together at Lakeside with the knowledge it might not happen too often given their respective college commitments.
The pair combined for 48 points, 18 rebounds, six assists and two steals on the night going 16/35 from the floor, 8/21 from three-point land and 8/9 from the charity stripe.
Shervill, now a grown man compared to the teenager he was a couple of years ago when starting out with the Lightning, finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds including going 6/14 from deep.
Mackenzie, who is expected to leave shortly to return to college at Lubbock Christian University, put up 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Josh Davey showed signs of Jarrad Prue with his attack on the glass too for the Lightning pulling in 13 rebounds to go with eight points while Liam Hislop put up nine points, Byron Pearson six and Kayden Malseed six.
Despite now having lost two in-a-row, you have to like what Ryan Petrik is doing with this West Coast Classic team at the Flames with a clear eye of building for the future.
The backcourt remains outstanding and on Friday night Jackson Hussey put up 19 points, nine rebounds, three steals and two assists while captain Ryan Godfrey had 12 points and five rebounds.
Travis Durnin is someone who can now settle at Rockingham and become a long-term star should he choose, and he had 16 points on 7/10 shooting with Justin Beard delivering 14 points and younger brother Callum four to go with five rebounds and five assists.
Both teams now back up on Saturday night with the Lakeside Lightning facing the Kalamunda Eastern Suns at Ray Owen Sports Centre. Rockingham is at home at Mike Barnett Sports Complex to the East Perth Eagles.
WEST COAST CLASSIC 2020 – MEN
Perth Redbacks 94 defeated Willetton Tigers 92
East Perth Eagles 72 lost to Cockburn Cougars 95
Lakeside Lightning 84 defeated Rockingham Flames 71
Geraldton Buccaneers v Warwick Senators – Active West Stadium 6.00pm
Mandurah Magic v Joondalup Wolves – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 7.00pm
South West Slammers v Perry Lakes Hawks – Eaton Recreation Centre 7.00pm
Rockingham Flames v East Perth Eagles – Mike Barnett Sports Complex 8.00pm
Willetton Tigers v Goldfields Giants – Willetton Basketball Stadium 8.00pm
Kalamunda Eastern Suns v Lakeside Lightning – Ray Owen Sports Centre 8.30pm
Cockburn Cougars v Goldfields Giants – Wally Hagan Stadium 12.00pm