THE Perry Lakes Hawks, Joondalup Wolves, Lakeside Lightning and Warwick Senators all won in Round 4 of the West Coast Classic to extend their advantage in the top four but the Perth Redbacks continue to impress to stay right in the hunt.
It was a weekend of some intriguing results in Round 4 of the West Coast Classic with the Willetton Tigers splitting games decided virtually on the buzzer against the Perth Redbacks and Goldfields Giants, with the Kalgoorlie side losing two tight contests inside 18 hours.
The Rockingham Flames did split their weekend to avoid falling too far from the top four while the Cockburn Cougars won twice to be on a three-game winning streak with Gavin Field and Luke Travers on fire.
But there were some big wins for the Perry Lakes Hawks, Joondalup Wolves and Warwick Senators that consolidated their top four positions while the Lakeside Lightning had an impressive double-win weekend.
Round 4 in the West Coast Classic got underway on Friday night with a thriller at Belmont Oasis with the Perth Redbacks beating the Willetton Tigers 94-92. The Cockburn Cougars also defeated the East Perth Eagles 95-72 and the Lakeside Lightning beat the Rockingham Flames 84-71.
Then on Saturday evening, the Warwick Senators took advantage of the undermanned Geraldton Buccaneers despite being on the road to win 104-56 while the Joondalup Wolves defeated the Mandurah Magic 87-54 and the Perry Lakes Hawks downed the South West Slammers 76-55.
The Rockingham Flames bounced back beating the East Perth Eagles 95-80 while the Willetton Tigers got over the line in a thriller 80-77 against the Goldfields Giants and the Lakeside Lightning were too good for the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 75-57.
The round concluded with a tremendous contest on Sunday afternoon at Wally Hagan Stadium with Luke Travers and Gavin Field the difference as the Cockburn Cougars beat the Goldfields Giants 94-88.
After four rounds in the West Coast Classic, it’s the Perry Lakes Hawks (6-1) out on top of the standings with the Joondalup Wolves (5-1), Lakeside Lightning (5-1) and Warwick Senators (4-1) rounding out the top four.
The Perth Redbacks (5-2) are knocking on the door followed by the Rockingham Flames (4-2), Willetton Tigers (3-3), Cockburn Cougars (3-3), Goldfields Giants (2-4), East Perth Eagles (2-5), South West Slammers (1-4), Kalamunda Eastern Suns (1-5), Mandurah Magic (1-5) and Geraldton Buccaneers (1-6).
WEST COAST CLASSIC 2020 – MEN’S ROUND 4
PERTH REDBACKS 94 defeated WILLETTON TIGERS 92
With the Perth Redbacks fresh off a buzzer-beating win over the Geraldton Buccaneers and Willetton trying to hit back from losing in overtime to Perry Lakes, Belmont Oasis always looked likely to get a tremendous contest on Friday.
The Redbacks got off to a flying start before the opposition took over in the first quarter. Caleb White and Marshall Nelson opened the contest with back-to-back threes for the Redbacks, but that was as good as it got for the home team in the first quarter.
Andrew Black scored the next four points for Willetton and then Damien Scott drained a three to put the Tigers on top. White then did respond for another from downtown, but the Tigers were then able to go on a 9-0 run to take control leading 16-9, and to still be up 24-20 by quarter-time.
Willetton maintained its edge during the second quarter as well putting up another 26 points to 21 from the Redbacks to remain on top 50-41 by the half-time break.
The Redbacks were able to gradually work their way on top during the third quarter to close the deficit to seven heading into the fourth term and it was then all the home team in the fourth period as they overran the Tigers with 26 points to 17 to end up claiming the win, 94-92.
Big buckets in the last three minutes from Tevin Jackson, Marshall Nelson and Caleb White were just enough for the Redbacks to hold off the Tigers who refused to give in.
The free-throw differential between the two teams was remarkable with the Tigers finishing with 25/32 from the stripe and the Redbacks just 6/10. But the Redbacks did go 12/35 from downtown compared to the Tigers 9/23 even if Perth outscored Willetton 48-32 with points in the paint.
Caleb White had another big Friday night outing for the Redbacks finishing with 27 points, five rebounds and three assists including hitting 5/8 from three-point territory.
Marshall Nelson also put up 24 points, nine assists, six rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots while Tevin Jackson contributed 18 points and seven boards.
Dennis Tawhiti finished with seven points and three rebounds, Ethan Vlahov seven points and four boards, Michael Riley five points, Neema Kazemi four points and Ezra Nikora two points.
Damien Scott is warming to the West Coast Classic nicely and put up 25 points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists including going 5/7 from three-point land.
Lewis Thomas also put up 21 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots against his former club while Andrew Black finished with 18 points, six boards, four assists and two steals.
EAST PERTH EAGLES 72 lost to COCKBURN COUGARS 95
Take out starting centre Jaarod Holmes and point guard Seva Chan and East Perth would have liked their chances at home to Cockburn on Friday night, but Luke Travers and Gavin Field had other ideas for the Cougars.
The Cougars did arrive at Herb Graham Recreation Centre on Friday night minus key players Holmes and Chan, but when you have Field and Travers in your line-up still, you are going to be mighty hard to beat and that’s what this game showed.
Things stayed close in the first quarter with Cockburn only leading by two at quarter-time, but the Cougars then took over in the second term putting up 23 points to 12 to head into the half-time break with a 42-29 advantage.
The Cougars then went on an 11-0 run during the third quarter to turn an 11-point advantage into one of 22 points before cruising to the 95-72 victory.
Luke Travers showed exactly why he is one of the most exciting young talents in the country with an untapped ceiling by finishing with 20 points, 21 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocked shots.
Gavin Field added 16 points, four blocks, three rebounds and two assists but they did receive good support too.
Zac Watkinson delivered 16 points, four rebounds and four assists while Jake Harris had 11 points and four assists, Mitch Hampson 10 points and two rebounds, and Matt Clifford seven points.
Shaquille Maharaj once again top-scored for East Perth with 15 points and nine rebounds despite only shooting 6/20 from the floor and 1/9 from deep for the night.
Kieran Berry put up another 12 points and four assists with Chuatwech Reath adding 10 points and eight rebounds, and Joel Offereins nine points and nine boards.
LAKESIDE LIGHTNING 84 defeated ROCKINGHAM FLAMES 71
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.
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.
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.
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.
GERALDTON BUCCANEERS 56 lost to WARWICK SENATORS 104
It took four weeks into the West Coast Classic for the Geraldton Buccaneers to play on their home floor, but it wasn’t the homecoming they hoped for thanks to the Warwick Senators.
The Buccs spent the opening three weeks of the West Coast Classic on the road and along the way have now lost Liam and Jesse Hunt for the rest of the competition having already come into it without the imports they expected for the SBL.
So it has been tough going for the defending SBL champions and things really went to another level thanks to how strong, deep and experienced the Senators proved to be on Saturday night at Active West Stadium.
Warwick was clearly fired up to make the most of the only road trip they’d have to make in 2020 and put up 30 points to eight in the first quarter to virtually put the game to an end as a contest already.
From there the Senators continued on their merry way with 20 points to 11 in the second quarter, 24 to 23 in the third, and 30 to 14 in the fourth to come away with the 104-56 victory.
The Senators continue to show no mercy this season on the regional clubs having now beaten the Buccs by 48 points, the Goldfields Giants by 48 and the South West Slammers by 72.
At one point in the game, Warwick put up 17 unanswered points against the Buccs and would lead by as much as 50 points before settling on the 48-point win.
Justin King continued his blistering West Coast Classic form for the Senators with another 29 points, five steals, three assists and three rebounds while Ngor Manyang, not originally set to play in the SBL in 2020, put up 20 points and four boards.
Caleb Davis also had 22 points and 12 rebounds for Warwick, Jay Thwaites 10 points, Ash Litterick six points and seven rebounds, Tom Witts six points and two assists, and Cody Ellis five points, six boards and four assists.
Not only were the Buccaneers minus Liam and Jesse Hunt, but also another 2020 recruit Xavier Shaw making life all the more challenging against the hot Senators.
Johny Narkle finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, Aaron Ralph 11 points and four boards, Carter Cook 11 points, James Paringatai eight points and Mat Wundenberg six points, 10 rebounds and three assists.
MANDURAH MAGIC 54 lost to JOONDALUP WOLVES 87
The job was ahead of the young Mandurah Magic at home to the Joondalup Wolves on Saturday night, and the Wolfpack bounced back from their first defeat to win by 33 points.
The Wolves tasted defeat for the first time in the West Coast Classic last Saturday night against the Warwick Senators but that likely spelt bad news for the Magic this Saturday with them out for revenge at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre.
The Magic had only one win on the board to date despite the encouragement coming from the opportunities being provided to the likes of Tom Atkinson, Josh Hunt and Aaron Kearing, but they too were trying to rebound from a 32-point defeat on the road to the Perry Lakes Hawks.
The Wolfpack might have again been without Rob Huntington but their late recruits Lochlan Cummings and Lee Roberts proved the difference in the contest, combining for 51 points, 17 rebounds, six assists and three steals on shooting 21/39 from the field.
By quarter-time the Wolfpack had worked their way on top to lead 27-17 before really ramming home their advantage in the second period with 27 points to 10 to go into half-time on top 54-27.
Joondalup then still held Mandurah to eight points in the third quarter and went on a run of 14 straight points to end up leading at one stage by 39 points before ending up with the 87-54 victory away from home.
Lee Roberts, the SBL’s 2017 Grand Final MVP, was outstanding for the Wolves with 28 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals while shooting an efficient 14/20 from the field.
Lochlan Cummings, a 2018 championship winner too, finished with 23 points, six rebounds and three assists while Seb Salinas added eight points and five boards and Kade Muru eight points and seven rebounds.
Tom Atkinson produced another 12 points and 10 rebounds for Mandurah with Riley Parker contributing seven points and five boards, and Chad Simpson six points, three rebounds and two steals.
SOUTH WEST SLAMMERS 55 lost to PERRY LAKES HAWKS 76
It was another stern challenge for the remarkably young South West Slammers at home on Saturday night and while they fought hard, the Perry Lakes Hawks came away winning by 21 points to maintain top spot in the West Coast Classic.
Perry Lakes made the trip to Eaton Recreation Centre having beaten Mandurah by 32 points the previous Saturday night so the challenge ahead of the developing Slammers under perhaps the most credentialed SBL coaching staff ever was a significant one.
With Mark Worthington the head coach assisted by Aaron Edwards and James Fitch, there’s no doubt the coaching quality the Slammers are receiving but when you are such a young group with so many players playing at this level for the first time, it’s always going to be a work in progress.
Perry Lakes did work its way on top early and while they have plenty of young talent as well, they have the leadership of Ben Purser, Rob Cassir, Ryan Smith and even 2014 championship winner Austin Kisselev.
The Hawks did open up a seven-point lead by quarter-time and by half-time that advantage had stretched to 19 with the visitors leading 46-27.
The Slammers then just managed six points in the third quarter and did concede a run of 11 straight Perry Lakes points while falling 29 points down.
But to the great credit of the Slammers, they fought the game out strongly to win the fourth quarter and bring the final deficit to 21 points.
Ben Purser top-scored again for Perry Lakes with 14 points and four rebounds but he received plenty of help including Harry Imison scoring 12 points, Ryan Smith 12, Zach Cheir 10 and Rob Cassir 10.
Brody England put up 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists for the Slammers with Mitch Keller producing 11 points and 13 boards, Cory Richardson eight points and Rhys Barrett six.
ROCKINGHAM FLAMES 95 defeated EAST PERTH EAGLES 80
The Rockingham Flames had a couple of losses to rebound from on return home on Saturday night and while the East Perth Eagles made them earn it, they recorded the 15-point win.
East Perth would have been disappointed with its 23-point loss the night before against Cockburn as would Rockingham have been with going down to Lakeside on the back of losing in Kalgoorlie last week setting the stage for a tremendous contest.
The Eagles shot right out of the blocks hitting the opening eight points of the game starting with a triple from Kieran Berry before five straight from Shaquille Maharaj.
Travis Durnin eventually got the Flames on the board with a three of his own but that was immediately answered for the Eagles by Logan Thwaites and East Perth was able to hold onto an edge by quarter-time, leading 22-18.
But the Flames had turned around the momentum and then took advantage of that throughout the second quarter piling on 33 points and holding the Eagles to just 18 to head into the half-time break leading 51-40.
Rockingham maintained its edge through the second half too to end up winning 95-80 and improve to 4-2 in the West Coast Classic while East Perth is 2-5.
Travis Durnin put up 17 points and four rebounds for Rockingham while hitting 4/7 from three-point range while Brendan Redhead also connected on 4/8 from downtown on his way to 16 points and two assists.
Ryan Godfrey also had 15 points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals, Jackson Hussey 15 points, eight boards, six assists and two steals, Justin Beard 15 points and Callum Beard eight points and eight rebounds.
Logan Thwaites continued his breakout West Coast Classic campaign having come to East Perth from Warwick with 20 points and 10 rebounds on Saturday night.
Shaquille Maharaj added 16 points and six rebounds, Kieran Berry 14 points and eight assists, Jarrad Anastasio nine points and Nic Filpo eight points.
WILLETTON TIGERS 80 defeated GOLDFIELDS GIANTS 77
The thriller of the night in the West Coast Classic took place at Willetton Basketball Stadium and once again the Willetton Tigers took part in a nail-biter, this time coming out on the right end beating the visiting Goldfields Giants by three points.
Playing in thrillers has been the story of the Tigers’ West Coast Classic so far and they have been unlucky to be overrun by Lakeside, to lose in overtime to Perry Lakes and be undone by some big shots late by the Perth Redbacks guns.
So the 2-3 record that Willetton brought into Saturday night’s game could easily have been 5-0 with a bit of luck, but it wasn’t to be and the Giants arrived at Willetton Basketball Stadium full of confidence after wins in Kalgoorlie against Kalamunda and Rockingham.
Now having settled on a strong starting group for the West Coast Classic with Majier Garang and Mayo Malek up front and then Jerome Reid, Damon Ballantyne and Fletcher Klasztorny, then it always looked likely to be a game that would go down to the wire.
That was exactly the case even though the Tigers shot out of the blocks quickly with 30 points to 14 in the first quarter. But the Giants were able to turn that around with 28 to 17 of their own in the second period to limit Willetton’s half-time lead to 47-42.
Precious little then separated the teams throughout the second half with the Tigers going up five when Andrew Black made the free-throw after a tech foul on young Giants guard Riley Duncan.
Jerome Reid brought Goldfields back within five and then Damon Ballantyne tied up scores. The scores were still level with 4:30 remaining after consecutive buckets from Mayo Malek for the Giants too.
Willetton went up five after free throws to Connor Mincherton and three-point play from Damien Scott, but again Reid answered with a triple for Goldfields. Malek then again locked scores with under two minutes remaining.
Sam Morrow then pulled the Giants a point up when hit a massive three but this night was set up for Scott and he hit his first game-winner on the new Willetton Showcourt when he nailed a triple to give Willetton the 79-77 lead, and they went on to win 80-77.
Damien Scott ended the night for the Tigers with 28 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and six steals while Lewis Thomas produced 13 points, 10 boards, four assists and four steals.
Andrew Black added 10 points and three rebounds, Michael Garbellini eight points and Lachlan Evans eight points and four boards.
Mayo Malek came up huge for Goldfields with 26 points and eight rebounds while Damon Ballantyne finished with 12 points and six assists, Jerome Reid 11 points and four rebounds, Sam Morrow eight points and five boards, Fletcher Klasztorny seven points and seven assists, and Majier Garang seven points and 13 rebounds.
KALAMUNDA EASTERN SUNS 57 lost to LAKESIDE LIGHTNING 75
The Lakeside Lightning maintained their good form from the previous night heading to the hills and handing the Kalamunda Eastern Suns an 18-point defeat on Saturday night.
The Eastern Suns were back home at Ray Owen Sports Centre desperate for their second win in the West Coast Classic while the Lightning were looking to maintain their top four spot and keep the momentum from Friday night against Rockingham going.
It was the Lightning who got what they were looking for by welcoming back Jay Bowie and Andrew Ferguson from Friday while Michael Vigor and Corey Shervill went out.
Lakeside put up 29 points in the first quarter and conceded only the 12 to set up the victory.
The Lightning led by 17 points at quarter-time, would end up leading by as much as 27 throughout the evening having gone on a run of scoring 13 consecutive points and ended up winning the game 75-57 to improve to 5-1 in the West Coast Classic.
Kalamunda slipped to 1-5 as a result of the loss.
Rowan Mackenzie had another tremendous performance for Lakeside with 19 points, eight assists, five rebounds and four steals with Andrew Ferguson adding 19 points, 12 boards, four blocked shots and two assists.
Jay Bowie also had 10 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Lightning, and Nick Palleschi seven points, two boards and two steals.
Ryan Blanchett put up 16 points and six rebounds for the Eastern Suns with Corey Easley adding 10 points, five boards, four assists and three blocked shots.
Carl Aylett added 10 points and three rebounds with Brendan Dinardo contributing nine points and six boards.
COCKBURN COUGARS 94 defeated GOLDFIELDS GIANTS 88
After Damien Scott on Saturday night and then Luke Travers and Gavin Field on Sunday were behind the two West Coast Classic defeats for the Goldfields Giants this weekend, coach Wayne Creek is excited about what they are building for the future.
The Giants returned to the road this weekend after back-to-back home victories in Kalgoorlie against the Kalamunda Eastern Suns and Rockingham Flames, and for Creek he saw more encouraging signs for what the future holds despite the results.
The Giants backed up on Sunday at Wally Hagan Stadium and while the Cockburn Cougars were missing Jaarod Holmes and Seva Chan, they did possess all-time SBL great Gavin Field and emerging superstar Luke Travers.
That pair combined for 49 points, 22 rebounds and 14 assists as the Cougars took away the hard earned 94-88 victory over the Giants on their home floor.
While taking nothing away from their opponents on the week, Creek can’t help but be excited with what he is now developing in this West Coast Classic after being left with so many unknown questions over his squad when the SBL season for 2020 was cancelled.
The Giants now have an exciting big men combination in Mayo Malek and Majier Garang to build around but their starting five is then tapped off by a trio that can be banked on for years to come in Jerome Reid, Fletcher Klasztorny and Damon Ballantyne.
Then there are young players getting chances off the bench they otherwise never would in an SBL season including Riley Duncan, Noah Hinkley, Ethan McGhie, Sam Morrow and Paxton Creek.
Goldfields backed up Saturday’s tight loss to Willetton for the midday start at Wally Hagan Stadium against the Cougars, and little separated the two teams right the way through in an entertaining affair.
The Giants did hold a narrow edge for much of the second half and were up as much nine shortly before half-time before the Cougars closed the gap to four at the break.
The Cougars did gradually pull away throughout the second half and it was a Matt Clifford three with just over 3:30 left that looked as though it could be a dagger.
But Mayo Malek hit a big three to keep Goldfields in touch before the visitors forced a back court violation and Fletcher Klasztorny pulled in an offensive board and scored on the put back to make it a two-point game.
However, from there the Giants couldn’t quite knock down the basket when it mattered most and the Cougars iced the win at the foul line.
Gavin Field finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for Cockburn with Luke Travers contributing 20 points, 15 boards and eight assists, Kye Chamberlain 18 points and six rebounds, Jake Harris eight points and three assists, and Matt Clifford eight points and three rebounds.
Meanwhile, Fletcher Klasztorny had his best showing state league level with 25 points, four steals, four rebounds and four assists for the Giants on 10/14 shooting.
Damon Ballantyne wasn’t far behind with 19 points and seven rebounds while Mayo Malek had 16 points and seven rebounds, and Majier Garang 10 points and 14 boards.
Jerome Reid also had seven points and five assists, Noah Hinkley six points, Riley Duncan three and Ethan McGhie two.